See No Evil (2006)
This is my first introduction into the realm of a 'WWE Studio' film production. As someone who is not a fan of wrestling, I hold no connection with the actors used in their productions. I have never found myself drawn to the idea of a big money making company utilising its profits in order to shoehorn its assets into the acting world. But, grievances aside 'See No Evil' is actually the first in a sea of straight to DVD 'WWE Studio' quality films that caught my attention. Professional wrestler Kane (Glenn Jacobs) plays the slasher villain of the film, Jacob Goodnight and to be perfectly honest, I really like his acting capabilities and the character he is portraying. He is extremely violent and relentlessly menacing. Welding a hook on a chain (not too dissimilar to that of Scorpion from 'Mortal Kombat') that made for some seriously gory and well executed kill sequences. Disappointingly though, this character had the potential to be great, given the use of a mask or even having a distinctive disfigured looked to him as apposed to his normal looking self, he could have achieve that standout slasher status. The cast of teen reprobates we are introduced to are merely here as canon fodder for our antagonist, each with their own in poor taste on screen black and white 'prison card' freeze-frame introduction. Young offenders are not a very good set of characters to introduce as your protagonists, even more so when none of them are likeable or have any redeeming qualities. The acting standard from all of them is extremely questionable, and I was counting down the minute for each one of them to make a swift exit. Thankfully we do have one character to focus our attention too and that is Police Officer Williams played by Steven Vidler. Williams is honestly the only relatable character in this film. The blood and gore flows thick and fast here. Wasting little time with exposition and story telling, this film dives straight into action. The majority of the effects are done practically and considering everything else here, these look outstanding. Even the prop bodies and limbs incorporated into the set design looks so good. Granted there is some cheep CGI effects used in places, but I think this was to be expected and as a whole it all comes together rather well. Cinematographer Ben Nott tries to hard to be creative and show that he knows what he is doing, this is not the case. Relying constantly on switching between high and low angle shots to enhance the cinematography makes for an uncomfortable viewing experience and ultimately feels unauthentic. There is also a style of editing that is more closely associated with the 'Saw' franchise that I found to be very over used here too. It is a fast-paced flash and cut sequence that when done correctly can be very effective, but when over utilised it runs the risk of being a gimmick, something 'See No Evil' falls victim too. Considering this is a 'WWE' movie production, this did surprisingly surpass my expectations. That's not to say this is a great film, but it does show great potential in the realms of its slasher villain and visual effects. From what I have heard, the sequel is a vast improvement so I will be seeking that out in the near future. Yet for this first installment I can't really say it is a strong recommendation to anyone who isn't entirely passionate about the slasher sub-genre.