I've never been a big fan of what's known as "professional wrestling," so please forgive me if I don't greet the big-screen debut of a rassler called Kane with much enthusiasm. I am, however, a pretty staunch supporter of the horror genre, so I did hold out some hope that WWE Films could cobble together a half-decent slasher flick. To say that that hope was misguided is an understatement on par with "Michael Jackson is mildly creepy."

WWE's debut effort (and I use the word "effort" charitably) is called See No Evil, a shamelessly derivative and helplessly inept piece of genre flotsam that rips off everything from Friday the 13th to Saw 2 -- and does so in only the most tiresome and unremarkable fashion imaginable. This flick sounds like it was written by a mommy-hating nine-year-old who just discovered the joys of pointless profanity, looks like it was shot inside of an abandoned Motel 6, and feels precisely like the cynical, careless, and flimsy piece of plagiarism it so obviously is. While some horror flicks use their gritty, grungy exteriors to set a mood and create some tension, See No Evil is more than content to wander around its unconvincing soundstage, doling out nothing but atrocious acting and/or writing, desperately hoping that a small contingent of slasher supporters and wrestling aficionados will care enough to see what the thing has to offer. (Which ain't much.)  
 
Try not to giggle as I break the plot down for you: We open with a cop getting his arm chopped off by a serial killer, but not before the cop nails his attacker with a bullet to the brain. Flash forward a few years and the (now one-armed) cop is in charge of a group of photogenic young criminals ... and together they're all going to clean up a decrepit old hotel! Needless to say, the same old lunatic is already in residence at the Blackwell Hotel, and he won't chill down until he's thrown a few hooks into his unwelcome visitors. Oh, and he loves to collect eyeballs. Try not to chuckle out loud when the Act III flashback parade explains the whole eyeball thing.

Now, seeing as I've spent more than 25 years salivating over the spookiest and most gruesome horror flicks ever made, I didn't go into See No Evil expecting some sort of Merchant Ivory-style period piece or a plot-heavy masterpiece stuffed with Mametesque chit-chat ... but See No Evil was already produced about five dozen times between the years of 1978 and 1990, and absolutely nothing has been done this time around to give the genre fans something fresh or exciting to sink their teeth into. Oh yeah, the stalker is played by a wrestler called Kane. There's your fresh twist, I suppose. (The fact that See No Evil's serial stalker is only slightly more horrifying than, say, Sloth from The Goonies is not exactly a good thing.)

The cast is a mixed bag of Americans and Australians, none of whom are talented or experienced enough to escape from this mire with a gold star pinned to their lapel. As a matter of fact, you won't find one likable character in the whole damn movie -- which makes sense because See No Evil exists not to scare you, but to have you cheer appreciatively whenever the next smug little asshole gets a rusty hook wedged beneath his jawbone. Former porn director Gregory Dark so desperately wants to ape the Saw series' visual gimmickry that he clearly has no time or inclination to mount anything even remotely atmospheric or intense or (gasp) scary. In the hands of a more creative talented filmmaker, the setting itself would provide a solid sense of unease, but Mr. Dark seems obsessed with little more than dripping water, rattling chains, rusty pipes, sloppy gore, and really bad CGI insects. (Hell, not even the cobwebs look real!)

(Mr. Dark's career goes from A) hardcore porn to B) softcore Skinemax to C) Britney Spears videos to D) horror flicks bankrolled by Wrestling. Whether he's moving up or down in the filmmaking industry is entirely up to you ... but if See No Evil looks and sounds like a porn flick (and it does), only with a decidedly different style of "penetration," I guess now we know why.)

The screenplay is an endless litany of hateful banter and middle-school-style quips of desperate vulgarity; the editorial approach could be best described as "on shuffle;" and the performances from stem to stern are aggressively inadequate. In an effort to mask his flick's relative worthlessness, Dark tries to amp up the Gore Factor (taking special care to really abuse the female characters while the male victims get off relatively easily), but it's pretty clear that the MPAA had a field day censoring this mindless abortion. I suppose we should feel grateful that the rating board snipped a few moments from this mercilessly awful horror flick, but even at 81 minutes, See No Evil is about 71 minutes too long.

I cannot speak for the wrestling fans, because for all I know they might see Kane's cinematic debut as the next coming of Clint Eastwood, but the big lug just waddles through the movie with a chain in his hand and a hole in his head -- and frankly I think the performance is pretty darn embarrassing. But I can speak as a serious and passionate Horror Geek, and as such I am offering fair warning to all my carnage-lovin' colleagues out there: This thing is even worse than most of those direct-to-video horror junkpiles that you find littering the dusty end of the Blockbuster shelf. If See No Evil is a good indication as to what WWE Films has to offer down the road, I think I just found another reason to continue ignoring "professional wrestling."