Bedeviled was just released in Germany. To celebrate, here is a review of the modern smartphone killer flick, so you’ll know all about it once it hits the US.
What is it about?
In 2017, everyone has a smartphone, and everyone knows Siri. She was even in the Lego Batman Movie. Now imagine Siri is trying to kill you and your friends. That’s Bedeviled. A group of friends mourn the sudden loss of their friend. Shortly after they are invited to install an app. Mr. Bedeviled is the name. Like Siri, but seemingly even smarter. Smart becomes creepy really fast and soon teenagers die left and right.
Of course a movie like this has to have some sort of message. And to be honest, it is very on the nose: Smartphones invade your privacy. It’s nice to have a message, but it can be a little annoying when you have multiple characters mention it. While the evil app mentions it as well. Of course this doesn’t make the message less true, but it takes away from it for sure.
How is it?
For a low budget, direct to VOD and Blu-Ray movie, I was pleasantly surprised. The main antagonist, Mr. Bedeviled is really fun. The app listens to your conversations, finds out your biggest fears and then scares you to death.
“But why would they mention their biggest fears?” I hear you asking.
Well, imagine two guys try to scare their friend with one of those cheap jump scare videos and he remarks “You know I’m afraid of clowns!”. On other occasions, they just talk about their biggest fears for no reason.
The movie is well shot, the cinematography is really good. It has the look of a big budget movie, on par with Insidious. But I guess for that it would need more cheap jump scares.
Is it scary?
The most important question for a horror movie is, of course: “How scary is it?” I’d say it is fairly effective. It’s got some eerie scenes. Of course it has the usual jump scares every now and then, but it has more to offer. The scary effects look mostly practical, done with makeup and puppets. Everyone who has a fear of clowns or clown-like characters will be frightened for sure. And Mr. Bedeviled looks great. He is reminiscent of Slender Man, tall, slim, and instead of a tie he wears a bow tie, instead of a black suit, his suit is colorful. And he has a great grin.
His voice is even more important though, because as a Siri-like app, he is talking a lot. And the actor/voice actor has a great voice, reminiscent of the Killers voice in the Scream franchise.
Now to get to the gore. You won’t find any in this movie. It is R-Rated, but they don’t show anything viscera. All deaths happen off-screen. My guess is that the R-Rating comes from them saying “Fuck” quite a lot. Otherwise this would be a PG-13 movie for sure.
You can see where Bedeviled was influenced all throughout the movie. It is not by a big studio. It was made by actual horror fans who wanted to show how you scare people. And I think they succeeded. Also, for the most part, they managed to portray teenagers and smartphones pretty well. Most filmmakers have not yet grasped how young adults use their phones. The Vang-Brothers not only captured it pretty well, they managed to put the premise around this topic. Instead of “Oh no, my phone doesn’t work here” in this movie it works. You could say it works too well.
There are some problems with the movie though. There are some ideas that seem to be important, like one girl who is in love with her fairly creepy teacher, that are never fully explored. This makes them feel pointless in the end. Also, a problem more and more horror movies seem to have, the death of the friends is downplayed by the characters. The first death is a big deal, but after that it just feels like they are over it right after it happens, going back to joking around and having sex. Also once again, none of these teenagers seem to have any parents. But those are small nitpicks, if you turn your brain off you will still enjoy this movie.
All in all Bedeviled is a fun contemporary movie that can hold its own in the ranks of recent scary movies. It probably won’t be remembered as one of the greatest of all times, but it is a fun teeny horror movie, perfect to watch with a few friends to have a scary night. While influenced by other great horror movies it still manages to stand on its own. Even though the main pattern of the story is nothing new, they managed to make it feel fresh and original enough to stand out. I’m rating Bedeviled 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Scared of your phone yet? Check out our new, better