Homeowners get a certain helpless feeling when they call on an expert. When your plumber or exterminator says you have a problem only he can solve, you’re pretty much at the contractor’s mercy. Another Evil, the feature debut of Silicon Valley writer Carson Mell, capitalizes on that feeling, as abstract painter Dan (Steve Zissis) enlists a sketchy ghost hunter to cleanse his family’s vacation home. The result is a horror-comedy that largely leans away from the horror and downplays its humor so much that, at times, it’s detectable only by gifted psychics. The paranormalist, Os (Mark Proksch), is tough-talking but pathetic — it’s easy to imagine that he fights ghosts because he lacks the guts to stand up to something corporeal.
As he insinuates himself into Dan’s home, Os conducts seemingly arbitrary rituals to rid the house of spirits. (Many of these involve having a drink together; Os seems lonely.) The central section of the film meanders, as Zissis’ Dan straddles the line between affable pushover and chump; his discomfort with Os’s antics remains at a low, frustrating simmer for too long. But when the relationship finally erupts, Proksch tilts his wretchedness into menace, and Mell stages a climax that’s thrilling and ridiculous in equal measure.
Written and directed by Carson Mell
Dark Sky Pictures
Opens May 5, Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn