Evil Intent (2013) – By Josh Samford

One of the many great things about the "thriller" genre is that it relies more on the drama created between characters than it does on big car chases or spectacular scenes of action. A taut thriller ultimately requires only a few central roles and a very intricately written plot. Wait Until Dark, starring Audrey Hepburn, is a prime example of a thriller set within very limited confines. Despite the majority of the film taking place on one set, the film keeps the audience biting their fingernails due to its superb craftsmanship. This genre, when done correctly, can fit very well into the world of microbudget filmmaking. It does take a certain amount of craft to really do things right, but there are some filmmakers out there capable of doing the genre justice. While it would be a stretch to say that Evil Intent does the thriller genre complete justice, it did turn out to be an engaging film that certainly has its moments. While it doesn’t have a ton of polish, the movie stands out for a climax that manages to make up for many of its earlier formulaic moments.

The plot within Evil Intent focuses on four characters. Stephanie is our lead, a young woman with a confused past that is now on medication in order to control her mental stability. Currently Stephanie is living with her two roommates, Kelly and Tricia, and her personal life seems to be going quite well. Recently she has been dating Paul, a young man who seems to be everything that Stephanie has ever wanted. Paul at one time dated Kelly, but that all seems to be water under the bridge. While everything seems to be going well for Stephanie, her life is soon turned upside down. She starts to forget things regularly. When a pizza is delivered, she doesn’t remember specifically asking for onions. After a great night worth of rest, she doesn’t remember trying to essentially molest one of her roommates. As she becomes increasingly worried about her situation, Stephanie just about breaks when she begins to hear a demonic voice in her bedroom calling for her to kill her boyfriend. What is going on with Stephanie, and how will she overcome this?

There are elements with Evil Intent that are very enjoyable. The plot, while borrowing from formula regularly, manages to create a fairly unique experience. Unfortunately, where the issues tend to come up most are in the writing and the performances that accompany them. This is ultimately a story about women and their relationships together, but the film seems as if it mostly comes from a male perspective. These women ultimately seem a bit hollow, as if they are caricatures rather than actual human beings. The "girl" moments, where we see the three female protagonists share time together, lacks chemistry due to the dialogue that the ladies share. The characters emote with one another and share their feelings with the speed of a feminine hygiene commercial. Much of the writing simply doesn’t seem to feel "real," and the cast does their best to make it work, but the results aren’t Oscar worthy. When Stephanie begins to hear the "demonic voice" that haunts her bedroom, she immediately starts to yell about "the devil" getting her. Although we know little of her religious background, this character becomes convinced that "the devil" is trying to steal her soul. The gradual build up to Stephanie’s insanity could have used more screentime, and ultimately this insanity could have either been better explained more or simply given a bit more background.

Evil Intent is brought to you by director Glenn Berggoetz, the filmmaker responsible for The Worst Movie EVER! (that’s the literal title of the movie) and Midget Zombie Takeover. This film doesn’t seem like a project that one would expect from this director, but it may very well show some progress on his behalf. This movie does show that the filmmaker is capable of more than just intentionally-poor horror comedies, and it shows that he does have an understanding for cinema. Despite the negatives and the pitfalls that the movie falls into, there are a few elements at work within the movie that generally make this one watchable. The twists and turns of the plot that arise during the final ten minutes are certainly enough to keep this one locked into the memory of most potential viewers. That is more than can be asked for when dealing with a film such as this one. It certainly has problems, but Evil Intent is a fairly entertaining watch. You can read more about the film via Berggoetz’ website: Driving With Our Eyes Shut