See No Evil
By: Michael Helms on September 12, 2006  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Cover Art
Writers: Dan Madigan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 368
Film novelizations seem to attract their own breed of brain dead adherents and I'm not one of them (just brain dead in other areas). But still, I'm shocked to realize that in the last ten years I've consumed more original screenplays than the novelizations I used to eagerly eyeball as a child (in the days before video) just to get a taste of a film I may never see, or something I really liked and simply wanted more of. The local arm of Simon & Schuster rushed out this novelization of See No Evil for the US theatrical release. As of writing, Australian cinemas have yet to turn their house lights down on this the first film from global sports entertainment corporation the WWE, which was shot in Queensland by US director Gregory Dark (New Wave Hookers) at the end of 2004.

Written by Dan Madigan who also created the script for See No Evil, the leap from exploitation cinema to the purest form of exploitation: the novelization, seems natural. Even without seeing the cinematic product I'm prepared to bet that See No Evil only regurgitates itself with few trimmings or extra data. It's a spam in a cabin story taking place in an abandoned and formerly grand multi-story hotel, a place that's ripe for urban legend (and description which we get) especially when there's a real serial killer operating, and even more so when the past of its decadent original owner is unearthed. In the novelization flashbacks are an important factor.

A mixed race and sex gang of eight juvenile delinquents are banged up together when they get the chance to cut their juvie sentences short by volunteering to spend a weekend at the aforementioned hotel. Allegedly, they're to perform some basic cleaning functions as part of a move to rejuvenate the building into a shelter for the homeless. With minimal supervision and little real motivation the gang are bussed in but not before the author has gone to work on Jacob Goodnight, the twisted giant serial murderer who lurks within its walls and who's played by WWE's Kane in the film. We get to know Goodnight the unknowable monster through increasing flashbacks that include delving into his eyeball fetish. Strangely, by the end of the novel there's a certain residual empathy that's been developed for Goodnight which is cast into sharp relief when the real evil protagonist of the piece makes an entry. Largely, we never feel the same way for any of Goodnight's victims. Suffice to say there is a (late) body count and Goodnight does get to show off some advanced eye-popping and flesh-ripping, hook-throwing techniques. It's the man from behind the scenes and beyond the grave who steps in to steal the show and which causes me to describe See No Evil as I Know What You Did You Legend Of Hell House, merging but never bettering the two.

Madigan takes a while to get going but that's necessary in order to bring in all the exposition on a variety of character's relationships. By the time he gets to the Hostel/Wolf Creek personal violence scenario the short sharp sentences are paying off.

The language of it's teens mightn't ring true and it may take more than a little persistence to get into but See No Evil the novelisation is worth doing so.
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