Parody of specific horror films has for too long been the territory of bottom feeding garbage like the Friedberg/Seltzer/Zucker/Scary Movie franchises and their neverending progeny. Little Evil, in directly parodying The Omen, aims a little higher (not much higher, but a little) simply by being about something.
That would be “maintaining a sense of paternal responsibility even though you’re pretty certain your son hates you and wants you dead”. Adam Scott’s Gary has just married into this two member family, and like many in this situation he has difficulty connecting with his step-son. Except this step-son is the anti-Christ, literally. Not even group therapy can bandage that rift.
For a movie stuffed to the brim with comedians (Scott, Tyler Labine, Donald Faison, Chris D’Elia, Brad Williams, and even freaking Sally Field and Clancy Brown), laughs are in short supply. It has the textures and rhythm of a laugh-a-minute, improvisational comedy, but too many jokes just land flat. The most genuine laughs come from visual allusions to other famous “evil kid” movies instead of the professional comics. Tyler Labine’s schtick as a pretentious cinephile wedding photographer could have been great with tighter writing but it just elicits smirks.
Even the scenes that slip into genuine horror show their hands too early. For a movie with a solid R rating, it pulls too many punches. More disturbing stuff happens in the ’76 Omen, and I get that this is supposed to be lighthearted, but it’s not like it lacks gore. It just doesn’t use it very well.
The film has positive things to say about the struggles of parenting, but if that doesn’t appeal to your sensibilities, there won’t be much about Little Evil to hold your interest.