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12 Reviews
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to Go Straight in a Dysfunctional Family & Subculture
I found this movie to be quite depressing because it is very realistic. It seems to be marketed as a sort of thriller, but I think it is much more a psychological story. Much of the movie is taken up with J.J.'s psychological counseling and his psychologist. This certainly is not a feel-good movie. Simply put, it shows how important a positive support system is for a...
Published on May 2, 2007 by Artist & Author

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They did well given what they were working with
The characters in this movie are people that you can actually imagine meeting: Real, working class people trying to make it through life subject to many constraints.

The acing was good throughout and with all characters.

One big problem was imagining that a psychiatrist could be coopted for a very small amount of insurance money ($50,000) to try to...
Published on November 27, 2008 by Lemas Mitchell


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to Go Straight in a Dysfunctional Family & Subculture, May 2, 2007
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Artist & Author (Near Mt. Baker, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Relative Evil (DVD)
I found this movie to be quite depressing because it is very realistic. It seems to be marketed as a sort of thriller, but I think it is much more a psychological story. Much of the movie is taken up with J.J.'s psychological counseling and his psychologist. This certainly is not a feel-good movie. Simply put, it shows how important a positive support system is for a juvenile who comes out of drug rehabilitation or some juvenile criminal institution. This movie would probably be best shown to families of kids finishing their time in the institution so it can be discussed. Hopefully, it would help some families (at least a few) avoid placing undo pressures on their child that will result in his or her self-destructive thinking. This movie shows how the relatives and friends created situations that put 'JJ' back on the path to more time in a juvenile institution, and, as he gets older, will result surely in prison.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They did well given what they were working with, November 27, 2008
This review is from: Relative Evil (DVD)
The characters in this movie are people that you can actually imagine meeting: Real, working class people trying to make it through life subject to many constraints.

The acing was good throughout and with all characters.

One big problem was imagining that a psychiatrist could be coopted for a very small amount of insurance money ($50,000) to try to violate his ethics and prompt a patient to kill himself. The whole movie was not premised on this, and so the whole plot did not shatter when we found out that the psychiatrist was the "other person." It did, however, severely weaken the believability of the whole movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars JUST OK, April 18, 2014
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Not crazy about films that keep switching time frames that don't really tell you it was done. The storyline was a little week.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Misconceeptions and Poor Knowledge of Rehab, April 17, 2014
The acting is good especially the lead. However the script and plot are full of discrepancies and inaccuracies. No rehab counselor would have recommended this young man go back to his extremely dysfunctional family. Talk about the Addams Family or the Munsters; this bunch of yo-yos after CPS investigated would have made sure this kid went to Aftercare in a solid TRCF for Juveniles or at least placed in a Half-way House Program or a D.O.C. monitored and regulated pre-release long-term, court-ordered Program. No way to wiggle out of this stipulation would have been tailored and written into this sentence.. The fault in the story-line makes it not only inaccurate, but full of serious faults in conceptualizations, that would never stand up to scrutiny by anyone fully cognizant of the "real-life" sceanrio, making this script weak and poorly conceived.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "We Used To Drink Sterno Together!"..., April 16, 2013
This review is from: Relative Evil (DVD)
RELATIVE EVIL is a masterfully well-made black comedy about addiction, recovery, and the people -family, "friends", nefarious doctors- who try to derail the whole bloody process! Jennifer Tilly (BOUND) is perrrfectly wicked as the diabolical, conniving aunt who convinces JJ's dad and uncle to cash in on his life insurance policy. All of the temptations, pitfalls, and disasters of recovery are amplified as the vultures circle. Funny, frightening, and sometimes devastatingly real, RE points out the horrors of trying to stay clean in an addicted world. If you've ever struggled w/ addiction, or known others who have, you'll recognize the truth behind the dark humor. Highly recommended...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Takes a while to get going, but fine when it does., May 1, 2013
This review is from: Relative Evil (DVD)
Relative Evil (Tanya Wexler, 2001)

I had originally intended to mention during the course of this review that Tanya Wexler's Relative Evil (also released under the title Ball in the House) didn't know what kind of movie it wanted to be--comedy, thriller, or inspirational drama. As we went on, however, I think Wexler (Hysteria) and screenwriter Matthew Swan (Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler) did figure out what kind of movie they wanted it to be--but not until after they'd used up too much of the movie's budget to go back and reshoot the early comedic scenes, which stick out like Times Square were it moved to central Wyoming in this otherwise bleak, pitiless picture.

Plot: we open in rehab. JJ (The Ruins' Jonathan Tucker) is telling the tale of how he ended up there--in a partial body cast, no less--in a group therapy session led by his doctor, whom we only ever know as Dr. Charlie (L. A. Confidential's David Strathairn). It takes a long, long time--six months, in fact--but eventually Dr. Charlie recommends JJ be returned to the world, a week before his eighteenth birthday. And thus we meet JJ's family--mother Phyllis (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Deirdre O'Connell), stepfather Bull (American Gangster's Dan Moran), little brother Benji (One Small Hero's Nathan Kiley in his final, to date, screen appearance; he's moved behind the camera to direct), Uncle Ernie (Stir of Echoes's Larry Neumann Jr.), and Aunt Dot (Bound's Jennifer Tilly). They're not the most functional of families; I had Harry Dean Stanton's brood from Twister in mind much of the time. Except Aunt Dot, it turns out, is a bit more sinister than anyone in that movie; she's taken out a $75,000 life insurance policy on JJ, good until he turns eighteen, naming she and Bull as beneficiaries--and she's managed to get Bull to sign it. JJ has no idea what sort of vipers' tangle he's walking into, but he has enough problems of his own trying to stay clean and keep the steel-mill job Bull got for him while constantly being courted back to the dark side by constantly-tipsy Dot, old coke buddy Bobby (Vacancy's Ethan Embry), and Bobby's on-again-off-again girlfriend Lizzie (Red Dirt's Aleksa Palladino). And just to add the cherry on top of this whole mess, the night JJ goes home, the area is hit with a freak snowstorm that basically confines the entire family to the house.

Once the movie gets into its groove, which happens about halfway through, this becomes a serviceable thriller that's willing to edge into some pretty dark territory and delivers a quite unexpected knockout punch during its climax. Unfortunately, while it's getting there, it has a tendency to meander that kills any tension the movie tries to build in its first half. Which certainly doesn't mean it's worth watching; just be prepared to not be sure exactly what the movie is for a while. ** ˝
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable low budget film!, December 15, 2004
By 
This review is from: Relative Evil (DVD)
This is not a typical horror film--great performances and truly creepy! Run, don't walk to rent/buy it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Possibly better?, January 3, 2014
We only watched about 15 minutes of the movie before turning it off. The plot I believe is a sound one, even though it's been done many times before, the director missed his chance to capture the audience in the beginning of the show. The name of the show tells it all, so why do we have to drudge through how it got to this point in the beginning? It could have been presented by memory shot's or flashbacks if you will.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So so, December 20, 2013
Tough to watch. Never got too funny or thrilling. Acting is stiff dialog is shaky. Good cast just an odd story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, December 12, 2013
i was expecting something like a suspense thriller in this movie and almost halfway through the movie, still theres none, I stopped watching...this is more of a drama I think... maybe there is a suspense at the end- I don't know...
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Relative Evil
Relative Evil by Tanya Wexler (DVD - 2004)
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