For reasons never fully explained three seemingly random people are chosen to ‘chaperone’ a group of supposed super-intelligent kids. An early voiceover suggests something to do with childhood obesity and a lack of potential as motive for the story, but this is never latterly expanded upon. When the chosen three enter the Facility, they are advised they must wear special glasses that allow them to see clearly, and also allow their health and wellbeing to be monitored. Any chance these glasses could have a more malevolent use? Probably, but again the film chooses to abandon this concept early on.
As far as the children are concerned, they appear to exist entirely in a virtual world seen through their glasses, and as such the chaperoning is limited to escorting them from one grey painted room to another; when you exist in virtual reality there is no need for cosmetic niceties and so the Facility resembles more a prison than a high-tech research facility.
Naturally, things start to go wrong, and the children rebel, but exactly what it is that goes wrong and why they rebel is unclear. Oh, and there’s also an annoying ‘guide’ who offers unhelpful exposition that could be from an entirely different film altogether.
Billed as a bleak vision of augmented reality, Let’s Be Evil completely lacks any structured narrative. Ambiguity is all very well, but there are so many holes in the plot and in the stories of the characters as to make the film virtually (sorry) unwatchable. No explanation is offered as to what the cast’s motives are, apart from the financial desperation of the chaperones, and as such you never engage with anyone. In truth, everyone proves simply annoying; a constant irritant while you wait wearily for the film to end.
The style of Let’s Be Evil is also hugely problematic as director Martin Owen has employed a faux-found footage motif in showing much of what happens from the POV of the characters, or more specifically their glasses. Mixed with standard footage this leaves the film feeling uneven and forced, as the cast struggle with awkward, poorly written and unnatural dialogue.
Ultimately, Let’s Be Evil is just a mess. It’s possible that there is a good idea in there somewhere, but it’s been buried beneath so much incoherent nonsense as to be impossible to spot.
LET’S BE EVIL / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MARTIN OWEN / SCREENPLAY: ELIZABETH MORRIS, MARTIN OWEN, JONATHAN WILLIS / STARRING: KARA TOINTON, JAMIE BERNADETTE, ISABELLE ALLEN, ELLIOT JAMES LANGRIDGE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW