Movie Review: BeDeviled (2016)

Synopsis: After their friend dies unexpectedly from a shock-induced heart attack, a group of five teens accept an invite sent from her phone and download a personal assistant app. At first, the app seems harmless enough. But, eventually, the group realizes it is trying to use their inner-most fears to kill them the same way it killed their friend.

Who's in it? The movie stars Saxon Sharbino, Brandon Soo Hoo, Robyn Cohen, Kate Orsini and Jordan Essoe.

Review: I had never heard of this movie until coming across it on Netflix last night. And, to be honest, the only reason I ended up watching it with my wife was I was fighting a slight headache and figured we would just end up turning it off after about a half hour anyway.

Based on the fact it was a movie I wasn't familiar with and had actors I didn't recognize, I didn't have high expectations for this film. However, after watching it, I do have to say it was considerably better than I was expecting.

The movie does leave quite a few things unanswered about the BeDeviled app, including where it came from,  Mr. BeDeviled's (Essoe) real identity and how the lone survivor in the movie explained all the dead bodies to the police. And, as a result of that, I probably can't get away with scoring this movie as above average. It did, however, also have some redeeming qualities as well.

One of my biggest likes about this movie is the way it quickly did away with the easy answers. The teenagers couldn't remove the app from their phones (something I questioned right away) and, if they tried to take the easy route by destroying or "losing" their phone, the app would simply complete the necessary repairs and make sure the phone was returned to the rightful owner.

In fact, in a way, this movie served as a visual demonstration of the warnings I'm constantly giving my teenager when she downloads apps on her phone at random instead of researching them (and getting permission) first. While it's unlikely she'll get one that will result in a killer clown (or other frightful creature) stalking her, some of the simpler things, such as sharing a video she doesn't want seen, could happen. And, there are quite a few apps out there that aren't easy to uninstall if you don't want them.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie is the way it did manage to have some menacing bad guys. Mr. BeDeviled was quite creepy (especially when he was imitating other people) and, since the app played on individual fears, there were a few more surprises than I was expecting.

I think my only real complaint (in addition to what I said before about leaving things unexplained) is the victims weren't overly interesting. There was nothing about them that set them apart from other teenagers in other horror films and they weren't very memorable as a result.

Plus, they really didn't put up much of a fight either. Every single one of them ended up running from Mr. BeDeviled and his creations. It would have been much better to see one (or more) of them pick up a kitchen knife or something and try to fight back. Even if they still ended up dead, it would have given Mr. BeDeviled and his henchmen a chance to show just how strong they really were.

Final Opinion: I'm giving the film a passing grade because I did like the overall plot and thought the movie had some good things going for it. I just wish the filmmakers would have made a little more of an effort to fully capitalize on its potential.

My Grade: C


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