Another Evil, a self-described “paranormal comedy,” is not quite equal parts horror and laughs, as the ha-ha’s are the real bread and butter of this pic. Strong, quirky performances from its leading men and good execution of some standard horror tropes make this movie a good time.
The Papadakis family finds themselves in the middle of a ghost story, as their vacation home manifests creatures from beyond. Like all good consumers, they call in an expert to fix the problem. The first guy exudes New age-y smarm, and his results aren’t good enough for husband and father Dan (Steve Zissis).
It’s at this point that the movie shifts into a mumblecore buddy pic with Dan and Oscar (Mark Proksch), Os for short, heading out to the cabin for a few days of ghost busting. This casting makes perfect sense as Zissis is a frequent collaborator with the Duplass brothers, including Baghead, a film similar in its attempt to keep the audience stretched between two genres. Proksch made his name as YouTube sensation (super troller K-Strass the Yo-Yo Guy) and makes his big screen debut here.
While Dan appears to be in charge, it’s Proksch’s Os who drives this movie with a quirkiness that rings so true it honestly hurts a little. He’s the guy from high school who was always on the outside, spending way too much time on things the rest of the kids never cared about, and now he’s all grown up. With his all-black attire (including turtleneck, naturally) and Indiana Jones hat, Os has found a place in this world, and it involves getting rid of ghosts.
The jumping back and forth between sudden scares and off-off-beat humor can be jolting at times, as can the earnestness with which Os wants to befriend Dan, but while the narrative veers wildly toward the end, the attention of the audience stays with it throughout.
Mashups like this will continue to proliferate, but it is only when they feature something special that any magic can happen. In the case of Another Evil, it is the characters that make us laugh, cringe, and flinch, often simultaneously. That’s enough to make this one worth a viewing.