I would be perfectly fine if the rest of Adam Scott’s acting career were gigs in horror comedies. With Krampus and now Netflix’s Little Evil, the actor has a special comedic expertise with applying Straight Man schtick when facing fantastical odds, and countering by meeting the film’s expectations in the final stages of the ridiculous plot.
Little Evil is, in fact, ridiculous, but it’s also very funny. The movie wears its Edgar Wright influences proudly, but it’s a smart standalone satire-in-disguise as writer/director Eli Craig (Tucker and Dale vs Evil) takes shots at genre pictures involving creepy kids. This sometimes involves obvious visual spoofs (Poltergeist, The Shining), but Craig finds longevity in clever details filling the background. The film also has a blast with situational comedy featuring awkward stepdad Gary (Scott) trying to fit in with his new family when he’s not trying to convince people that his new son Lucas (Owen Atlas) is actually the antichrist. Gary’s wife Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) thinks these claims are outrageous, but other stepparents agree; little kids can be the devil.
Little Evil feels longer than expected as the main cast diverts to meet up with various friends and demon “experts” (comedian Brad Williams, character actor Tyler Labine among others), but the film keeps the audience on their toes by maintaining consistent laughs. Even when the film becomes softer towards the end, Little Evil sticks to its guns.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie