How to Be a Dad (Little Evil, 2017)
Gary’s life seems to be going pretty good. He just married his dream girl Samantha and he is working to get to know his new stepson Lucas. Lucas is a special child. As in, he is the spawn of Satan.
Gary does not, of course, accept this right away. But mysterious events and death seem to give signs that Lucas is not all right. Little Evil is a comedy brought to us by the same guy who made Tucker & Dale vs Evil. That film was a funny send-up of slasher films ranging from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the Wrong Turn franchise.
One might question where the humor is in the religious horror of satanic kids…but writer and director Eli Craig finds the spot where they can intersect. Ans as with his previous film, does so with some sweetness and heart.
After an Omen-like incident at school, Lucas and Gary are sent to counseling. For Gary, this means a support group for fathers (which is attended by his friend Al…a lesbian struggling with her stepson’s lack of athletic ability). There, he is initially assured that these types of things are normal. But as deeper research finds, there is a lot of tragedy that seems to follow Lucas. And so Gary struggles to find a way to stop the son of Satan.
The cast is a strong comedic group. Led by Adam Scott (Parks and Rec) the character of Gary remains largely sympathetic throughout the film, which is important for those moments when he “veers off the path of good parenting”. Bridget Everett’s Al could have stayed in it’s “Butch Lesbian” stereotype lane…but she brings such an exuberance to the character that Al stands out and of course, brings plenty of humor. Evangeline Lilly (Ant Man and Lost) has a role that could get overshadowed, but she brings the appropriate heart to the role.
Little Evil is a lot of fun, though it does not quite reach the levels of insanity of Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. This is partly due to the narrow nature. They are really parodying the Omen here. Unlike Tucker and Dale, where there was an homage a minute to some slasher film, Little Evil is more restrained.
If you liked Tucker and Dale, you will more than likely enjoy Little Evil. And I would dare say that as long as the subject matter does not make one too uncomfortable? Non-horror fans may enjoy it as well. The film has not gory, and the visuals are not terribly frightening. Afterall, the goal here is not scares. It is laughs and maybe a bit of sentimentality.