Despite some solid scares and great effects, “Bedeviled” is a mostly derivative slasher that revels in bad taste and sins far worse than its Satanic themes.
There is a growing trend in pop culture, and it’s satanism. Pop videos, social media, kid’s toys, kid’s books, movies, and even hip hop albums (Satanic rappers?) are now filled with satanic symbolism and themes playing around in the background. Jay Z’s “On To the Next” video was completely littered with the stuff (as of now, this video can no longer be found on YouTube, but you can watch it here.).
I remember this sort of thing being very uncommon back in the day. Sure, we had groups like Motley Crue bring our teen-age misfits albums like “Shout at the Devil,” with that album’s intro hailing about the evil that’s been hiding and now wants praised as it slowly takes over (I don’t think so, fellas), but the flagrant themes of satanism in that album’s intro and the album’s track “Bastard” (about killing a newborn for Satan, I think) were few and far between in our pop culture.
Now these things aren’t just targeted at the misfits. Satan has finally gone mainstream and he (or she) is front and center. The Babysitter is a recent movie that fits into this trend, but it is held as a comedy, not horror; it mixed satanism with Home Alone. Comedy or not, it has a lot of satanism that goes hand in hand with the under-age sex involved in the occult.
But we aren’t here to talk about that movie. We are here for Bedeviled, and this is where Bedeviled takes that a step further…
Take one part ‘The Ring’, mix in the conventions of a slasher, add a phone app with Satan coming through the cast’s phones like some kind of evil Siri, and you have ‘Bedeviled’; a low-rent, satanic rip-off of sorts. There are no surprises in this plot, and the movie brings nothing original to the mix except attempting to blend different ideas from other movies and try to make them its own.
There are even hints of Stephen King’s It going on that are somewhat shameless. I am not opposed to this approach in filmmaking; no idea is original, but when you go tasteless for the sake of being tasteless, you lose me. Where does it go tasteless? I’ll get to that in a minute. I will give the movie some credit first.
There are a few moments that were very done well. The creepiness and jumps are nice at times and some scenes do have great builds and practical effects going for them. That doesn’t make a movie great, but it does hint at a filmmaker that can pull off terrific scenes. But the main problem I have with the movie isn’t it’s lack of talent (which it has some), it’s the film’s lack of taste.
Now, I am not opposed to movies about the Devil, but what I am opposed to is a movie that has traces of paedophilia.
In Bedeviled, we get to see an underage high-school girl make inappropriate texts to a friend about wanting to have sex with her much older teacher, which is reinforced back when the teacher makes a sexual comment to the class at just the right moment and we get a reaction from the girl. Then we get to see this underage girl (unknowingly) get videotaped by her boyfriend as he has sex with her. True, we see no nudity, but to see an underage girl get plowed in a movie involving satanism (or any other subject) is not for me.
Then this girl heads to the bathroom claiming, “I have to take a sh-t,” and we get to watch her use the toilet as she browses her smartphone.
Next, the video of her sex romp (kiddie porn?) is broadcast on social media for all to see and share as some kind of joke. It’s not. This move on the filmmakers’ part to make almost all the teens here shameless makes the film void of having any tastes or bounds for me.
You can argue that the girl in the film doesn’t ask for any of her embarrassment, but she kind of does. Her attitude is one of “sexy me” without a care: a very common attitude now.
I remember sneaking off as a child to hear a Steve Martin album where he cursed a few times, and me and my friend would giggle. A lot has changed. Am I being too uptight? I don’t think so. I see what I see, and what I see is the change. Take that for what it’s worth.
There are way better movies out there about good fighting evil and this is not one of them. Why? Children have access to movies and music like never before, and with the click of a button an eight-year-old kid can watch Bedeviled and be subject to under-age sex conditioning where it’s okay to laugh at shared kiddie porn. Very odd.