(photo credit: Netflix)

Having children for the first time is one of the hardest experiences for any parent, and it can be even more difficult for a stepparent, coming into a child’s life after they’ve already grown so much. Little Evil is a story of a step-father trying to form a relationship with his new stepson, with the added twist: the stepson’s real father just so happens to be Satan.

Gary (Adam Scott) just married the woman of his dreams, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), and even though the ceremony was interrupted by a literal disaster, they’re moving in together, and he’s finally going to spend time with her six-year-old son Lucas (Owen Atlas). But, after a series of “mishaps and accidents,” Gary begins to think that the Lucas may be the antichrist and starts plotting ways to kill the demon spawn.

Don’t be fooled, Little Evil is a fun, and occasionally sweet, movie about a budding relationship between stepdad and step-son. Along the way, there is a healthy dose of horror element,s but Little Evil is a comedy first.

Eli Craig, writer and director of the cult comedy horror Tucker and Dale vs Evil, returns to the director’s chair for another film that blends his inoffensive and genuinely fun filmmaking techniques with scary visuals and horror tropes.

In a similar vein to Tucker and Dale vs Evil, the horror elements are largely played for laughs rather than genuine terror. The film is rated TV-MA, almost entirely for the colorful and creative use of profanity throughout.

One of the most fun elements of Little Evil is Gary’s reluctance to give into the idea that Lucas could be evil. It helps that Adam Scott is playing his usual dorky leading man, a la Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation, a part that he’s perfected and makes him seem as though he’d be horribly outmatched by any stepchild, let alone the spawn of Satan.

The largest issue that Little Evil has is the underuse of its great cast; Evangeline Lilly and Donald Faison are relegated to minor supporting roles as the skeptical mother and stepdad support group member respectively, and Tucker and Dale vs Evil star Tyler Labine appears in only one scene as an avant-garde wedding videographer.

Bridget Everett (AL) is hilarious as Gary’s co-worker and fellow stepdad, but the film’s slower moments could have benefited from more use of the great cast of characters that were assembled.

Ultimately, even though Little Evil is a silly movie about the antichrist, it does have a very positive message about parenting. It’s difficult for stepparents and stepchildren to form a strong connection; sometimes there are external factors, the Devil, getting in the way. But in the end, the struggles are worth it for the parent and the child.

If you’re in the mood for an October flick but still aren’t quite ready for the spooks and frights of Halloween, then spend some time watching Little Evil, a good blend of comedy and darkness.  

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