A book more evil than ‘How to be Evil’ by Evilio McEvildoer
Dominique (Alexz Johnson) and her friend Ursula (Magda Apanowicz) find a book at the cemetery which turns out to grant evil wishes when they’re written down in the book. Now, we all know that the best person to give ultimate power to is a teenage girl as they’ll, of course, only use it responsibly….
As is the case with any tale of misfits in high school, it’s dorks against jocks and cheerleaders. This formula is really, really tedious as real high school kids are individuals and are much more complicated than simple, clique-specific stereotypes. When it comes to this sort of story, the way it usually works out is dork gets power, dork goes power-mad, dork forgets where he or she came from, then dork is destroyed by other dorks. This one is a bit different from the norm in that the dork is not defeated by fellow dorks, but instead the popular folks get a hold of the book and things get worse because of the nature of dorks versus the nature of cheerleaders.
The dorks Dominique and Ursula do have friends who are, of course, other dorks. Andy (Andrew Francis) – the blond nerd with a crush on Dominique – spends the film following Dominique around like a puppy with wood would; his role is to be helpful and be a man needed for a particular scene. While Craig (Tyler Boissonnault) – the big-haired nerd – is around to be another guy. Finally, there’s the geekiest girl who has ever appeared in a Canadian made-for-television film, Effi (Andrea Brooks), who is in the film for comic relief and to provide another female body… the dead kind, not the naked kind. When things fall apart, the nerds / dorks come together to try to save the world from an evil cheerleader with the powers of the damned.
The popular people are led by head cheerleader and professional pouting princess Heather (Miriam McDonald); the fun thing about her is she’s pretty much uniformly hated. Many popular people aren’t really liked by their ‘friends’ any more than they’re liked by their enemies, as they are useful to have around if they approve of you and dire to be near if they do not. That’s why it’s no surprise when Heather is crippled by Ursula and later slain by her friend Georgia (Deanna Casaluce), the cheerleader who gets the book away from Ursula. Loyalty isn’t strong within the popular people at all as Lisa (Laura Carswell) – the ‘good’ cheerleader – quickly switches sides and tries to stop her evil friend… I mean Georgia, she never seemed to have morality issues when Heather was just being a horrid bitch who left people scarred and crying on the proverbial floor.
The final side is made up of the adults. There are some teachers and other useless people, but one of the more significant adults is Frank (Jason Calder) – Dominique’s stepfather – who has an unwholesome interest in young Dominique until he finds that touching the book gives him even better feelings that touching his stepdaughter. This is the turning point for Dominique as she needs to use the evil power of the book to rid herself of the bastard. She has to take the book to her parish priest, Father Mulligan (Brian Krause), who has called in the assistance of diabolic book expert Father Sanchez (Pablo Coffey). The ending, which should be predictable for anyone who’s seen a horror film – or Return of the Jedi – before, has the sorely tempted Dominique forced to deal with Father Sanchez in a scene of a girl teetering on the edge of Hell being told to attack him.
I don’t like that nonsense and it hurts the film.
Nor do I like the idiotic ‘in a sanitarium oh no it’s happening again’ crap ending.
Still, this one is unusual in that the book does seem more like something a diabolic force would like to unleash on the world. The usual version of this sort of story is the power seems benign or even good when it’s first encountered, but here the very first thing the power of the book is used for is to cripple someone. From there it gets worse – the usual way these things work is for the nerd to become a monster only to be taken down by another nerd – because this book seeks out more ambitious owners. Ursula only uses it for revenge against those who’ve wronged her, Georgia – who’s accustomed to wielding power – uses it to become a virtual princess while Father Sanchez is the worst. Sanchez has already had a lifetime to figure out how he’ll use the power of the book and he’s already sold his soul to boot – well, not to boot, but to Satan – so he knows what he’s doing. The evil power working its way up the food chain from those least capable of using it to the real sharks is a nice change of pace. It’s more like something that evil would do as this book manages to corrupt at least two people – the priest is indirectly lost to evil through the book as well and maybe Dominique too – and cause a great deal of harm to countless others at the same time. It’s a nice touch.
Pretty cool, and pretty rough, for a made-for-television film.
Watch TV promo teaser with audio-sync problem on YouTube