There's a cool Netflix Original movie called Little Evil. It's got a clever script, an original take on the oft-told son-of-the-devil story, and Adam Scott and Tyler Labine. Written and directed by Eli Craig, it's worth your time to check out for some dark fun.
One of the reasons I wanted to see Little Evil is because it's the first film from Craig since Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Craig, Labine, Alan Tudyk, and the rest of the cast of Tucker and Dale really promoted the crap out of a little cinematic gem that's going to go down as one of the Greatest Cult Classics of the new millennium.
Now Little Evil doesn't quite measure up to Craig's predecessor, its got a slightly different vibe going on, but for a low budget horror movie, it's not bad at all. What was surprising to me, as an amateur filmmaker, is that Craig had an uncredited co-star in the movie that I'd like to talk more about. That co-star is the City of Cleveland. Not Progressive Field. Not the Terminal Tower. Not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The gritty neighborhoods of the near east and west sides.
Now I'm 90% sure the exterior scene for the church was shot near the location at the corner of East 61st and Francis on the grounds of the former St. Hyacinth Parish. One of the buildings is now the Elizabeth Baptist Church, but the area in question is a decimated part of Slavic Village. But not just there, there was one scene where Adam Scott is running down the road on the near West Side and you could clearly see the street sign. Cleveland sets the mood for the movie and, as more and more shots are recognizable to the Cleveland resident, you notice a different tone to Little Evil, one you don't have for movies filmed on set or in the Los Angeles suburbs. There's a gravity, or heaviness, that Cleveland creates. A real textural difference from films on the West Coast or that are primarily computer generated.
Just an aside. Without giving away too much of the plot, I want to shed some light on some movie magic that may have also gone unnoticed in Little Evil. Imagine the behind the scenes surrealism when Eli Craig had to say "I want you, my mom, (THE Sally Field,) to dress up like a Nun and then let Adam Scott hit you with a 2 x 4 in an old abandoned church in Cleveland."
Sally Field: "Okay."
What a cool Mom.
For being positive that the movie was shot in Cleveland, I had to have the credits confirm it for me. Shot entirely on location in Cleveland, Ohio. Why did I need to watch to the end of the credits for that confirmation? Because I had never heard of Little Evil being shot here. When Captain America: Winter Soldier was filmed here, it was a huge pain in the ass. Roads all over the city were shut down and it was such an inconvenience that I was sure that Mayor Frank Jackson was getting personal kickbacks from the production crew to cause gridlock. Somehow Eli Craig managed to film an entire movie without grinding the city to a halt. I can't help but be slightly bitter when I write this, but you'd think there'd be more local publicity for a movie shot here when it was released.
Cleveland Scene - Nothing
Fox 8 - Nothing
WTAM - Nothing
Longest local article?
Crain's Cleveland - Short article before filming.
I gave up local searches and did a national search. I found some nice reviews and I found some blah reviews. Never saw Cleveland mentioned once. Shot over to Rotten Tomatoes and they didn't have enough professional reviews to merit a score, while the audience rated it a 39%. I threw in my 2 cents, but at some point I have to realize that my barely read blog isn't going to put a dent in anything.....