Michael Myers: Absolute Evil (2016)

Michael Myers Absolute Evil -bannerThe plot of Michael Myers: Absolute Evil can simply be summed as a mockumentary which discusses Michael Myers as though he were a real serial killer. However, unlike most mockumentaries this is not a comedy and is presented in the same kind of tone that you would find with a typical documentary about a real serial killer. This is certainly an interesting, unusual approach so the question becomes, does it pay off?

I do like the idea here but I think the very concept runs into a fundamental problem. The reason documentaries are engaging is because you’re learning details about a real person or event and the experience can be a fascinating journey of discovery. We accept that documentaries are mainly made up of talking heads, still photos and low production value reenactments because the information we are learning is compelling and real. On the other hand, mockumentaries are traditionally presented as dead-pan comedies that revolve around a completely fictional subject, think This is Spinal Tap, where the enjoyment is derived simply from the fact that the film is funny.

Since this film doesn’t meet either criteria I would have to assume that writer/director Rick Gawel created this to be viewed as a realistic documentary that just happens to be about a fictional subject. In this regard there are a few parts that could be tightened up to sell the idea that this is a real documentary. One example is a scene which contains an archival interview that we’re told takes place in 1964 but is clearly shot digitally with an after-effect put on during editing, which is noticeable. If the footage had actually been shot on film for that scene it could have come across as authentic. I had a similar problem with the title cards between interviews which are given a deliberate effect to make them appear old and flicker in and out of focus. The effect looks fine but creates a disconnect between the cards and the crisp, digital interview footage.

There were also some scenes shot specifically for this film that are created to expand upon the mythos but these largely fall flat. The cult leader especially didn’t read as charismatic or menacing enough to be believable and the awkwardly long short film that’s spliced in near the end never elevates itself beyond the typical found-footage films that have long since worn out their welcome.

This is a shame because the actual documentary parts of this film are quite well done and do for the most part feel like an authentic documentary. Gawel’s use of black and white stills is done masterfully as he takes the viewer through the history of Michael Myers as though it was one cohesive story, which is no easy feat considering how disjointed the films themselves could be at times. The interview subjects are for the most part quite believable and effective, although there are some notable exceptions including one man that appeared to be looking down at an off-screen script in-between lines (!).

Ultimately, it’s a very interesting idea that would be great as a short 20-30 minute film but begins to become tedious when stretched out to an hour and a half. It’s cool to see the overarching story presented in this way but there isn’t really much in the way of new insights or information to be gained by watching this that you couldn’t get from simply seeing the films. This is a clever concept with some nice touches, I like the subtle diss of the remake that was slipped in, but one that ends up being more of a novelty for fans rather than essential viewing.

2.5 Stars Red

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