Picks and Pans Review: Evilspeak

UPDATED 04/05/1982 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/05/1982 at 01:00 AM EST

Eric Weston, a sometime actor directing his first film, is no Brian De Palma. But this is a passable variation on De Palma's 1976 chiller, Carrie. A teenage boy is knocked around and teased by schoolmates until he finally erupts in a bloody round of revenge. Clint Howard, 22, best known as the child star of TV's Gentle Ben in the late '60s and as Ron Howard's younger brother, plays the boy, sniveling effectively until he summons the Devil to help him get revenge. Weston makes the most of a moody, cobweb-thick set, supposedly the catacomblike cellar of a military academy chapel. The director also has a sense of humor. Howard builds his altar for a black mass on top of the computer terminal that helps him translate an old book of Latin incantations. The animals that join his anti-crusade aren't wolves or bats but pigs. There could have been more laughs and scares, less vulgarity and nudity. The bitter tension builds nicely, though, and it's satisfying to see Howard's tormenters snouted mercilessly by his piggy allies. (R)

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