REVIEW: 976-EVIL (1988)

976EVIL

976-EVIL (1988): D

You would think that since 976 numbers were those nasty phone sex lines from the 80’s that they would advertise for on all the channels no one watched at like 3am, that this movie would have some sort of sexual connotation to it. But it doesn’t. There’s what looks like a demonic woman on the cover art. I remember seeing this VHS at the store a few times before I finally rented it and thinking to myself “I bet she comes through the phone and rips someone’s ballsack off!” or “I bet when you call the number and start whackin’ it, and you hear her voice, she possess you!”

I NEVER CALLED ANY OF THOSE NUMBERS. But I had a friend who did.

Here’s how it actually works: If you call the number, Satan talks to you. He starts turning you into a demon and urges you to commit sins. You get demonic powers which you can wield once you hang up the phone, but the more you do it, the more your soul is surrendered to Hell and the more you unleash evil shit into our world. The only way to recharge your powers is to call and have phone sex with Satan, which is actually a lot like those 976 numbers because you get addicted to them and have to keep calling to feel like a complete human being ACCORDING TO MY FRIEND, ANYWAY; I WOULDN’T KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER CALLED A NUMBER LIKE THAT.

At first, it seems badass because you have magic powers, but then you realize that your soul is gone and when you look in the mirror, you see the misleading cover art for 976-EVIL. It’s probably hard to look at yourself in the mirror after calling one of those 976 numbers in real life, OR SO I WOULD IMAGINE.

An abused nerd gets addicted to 976-EVIL and he starts getting revenge on the bullies who picked on him. There is death by claws, death by spiders, and someone’s face is ripped off. The makeup isn’t bad, actually. There is a scene where a room gets possessed just like in Evil Dead 2. There’s even a deer on the wall that comes to life.

The movie is nothing special. There aren’t very many “976” scenes, which were the best part; most of the movie involved ineffectively building suspense between each kill. I didn’t really feel attached to the characters, the premise was fucking stupid. 976 numbers aren’t scary. If they were, WHY WOULD MY FRIEND HAVE CALLED THEM SEVERAL TIMES WHEN HE WAS REALLY LONELY LATE AT NIGHT AND JUST NEEDED SOMEONE TO TALK TO WHO WOULDN’T JUDGE HIM? We may never learn the answer to this riddle just like we may never learn how someone thought up the idea for this fairly atrocious movie.

 

REVIEW: Devil (2010)

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Devil: D-

The old lady is the Devil. There. Now you don’t have to watch this movie.

This long stupid monotonous movie is about a group of people trapped in an elevator. One of the people in there (it’s the old lady) is the Devil and everyone is wondering who it is. The premise isn’t awful; if this movie was distilled down to  Twilight Zone episode or a chapter in an anthology movie, it would probably be good, but as it is, it is too drawn-out and repetitive. At times, it reminded me of Cube, what with all the claustrophobia and paranoia, but those were only flashes in a very boring pan; weirdly, this premise/atmosphere is never developed. The movie relies on jump-scares instead of any actual story or horror.

The suspense is spread too thin and it just doesn’t work. Once this thing gets rolling, you are literally just waiting for the next jump-scare. Look, I really want to stress this: it’s the old lady. She’s behind all the killing. She’s the Devil. That’s the whole twist. I wish someone would have just told me that before I watched it.

I’m trying very hard to think of a movie version of the Devil that I liked less than this one who hangs out in an elevator (disguised as the old lady) killing people when the lights go out, but I’m having a rough time. All that comes to mind is Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled, but I think she was probably better. George Burns was better.

There’s this part where the “wise elder” character points out to the audience that “sometimes [the Devil] tortures the damned on Earth before claiming them.” For some reason, there are also about a dozen other arbitrary rules that the Devil must operate under like only attacking in the darkness. This is a pretty painful 80 minutes of exposition interrupted by jump-scares. I’m just glad they didn’t find any ancient scrolls or whatever.

The token Shyamalanian “twist” at the end is there, but I doubt you’ll care (not just because you know that old lady is the Devil; I didn’t, and I did not care one fucking bit).