Something Evil is a timid little horror film from 1972 that was made for television and is more famous for being directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg more than anything else. As far as horror films go, this one did leave a lot to be desired and the only thing saving it from being completely unwatchable is the performance from Sandy Dennis as the frantic mother who believes that there is something wrong about the house that she and her husband just purchased, believing that something inhabits the house – something evil. This would be the picture that Spielberg would make immediately following Duel, that little film about the tanker truck.
Essentially when you boil it all down, Something Evil is a haunted house film though you never see the demon who is doing the haunting – merely a pair of yellow glowing eyes. Sandy Dennis carries the film as the poor housewife that nobody believes, mainly because she seems so crazy. There is one man that does, but only because he has heard the stories over the years about the house while his uncle has gone missing and he seems like more of a loon than anything. Johnny Whitaker plays the son, a boy who may or may not be possessed and is just a little annoying. It was also good to see Darren McGavin of Kolchak fame in the movie, but he did very little except play the distant and disbelieving husband.
The biggest problem with the film is that you kept waiting for something to happen and aside from noises and whatever else was currently annoying Dennis at the time, it was hardly scary, suspenseful or even dramatic. Was there a demon in the house? Probably, but it was the tamest demon ever seen, or not seen, on television. With Spielberg at the helm, you would automatically think that there would be something redeeming about this particular feature and ultimately, a couple of all right performances aside, there is not. It is more of a curiosity than anything else, especially as it has never been widely available. Not every movie can be a winner, and this one was not, but it is at the very least, an interesting little piece of film history from one of today’s greatest directors.
2 out of 5