‘Be­dev­iled’ and other films.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - — Noel Mur­ray

Bring­ing new mean­ing to the phrase “killer app,” the mon­ster movie “Be­dev­iled” imag­ines a malev­o­lent ver­sion of Siri com­ing to life to scare teenagers to death. What en­sues is a com­pe­tently made take on the slasher pic­ture, but never as cut­ting-edge as the premise prom­ises.

Broth­ers Abel and Burlee Vang wrote and di­rected “Be­dev­iled,” com­bin­ing the techno­pho­bia of ’90s Ja­panese ghost sto­ries with the “at­trac­tive young­sters get mur­dered” dy­namic of ’80s scream-fests. The movie also has a sprin­kle of Stephen King’s “It” in that the vil­lain of­ten ap­pears in clown makeup.

Jor­dan Es­soe pro­vides the voice and oc­ca­sion­ally the face of Mr. Bedevil, the bow-tie wear­ing mas­cot of a voice-ac­ti­vated helper ap­pli­ca­tion, pro­vid­ing rec­om­men­da­tions based on de­tailed per­sonal knowl­edge of the user’s pref­er­ences. Af­ter a cir­cle of high school friends down­loads the app, it be­gins us­ing their per­sonal data as a weapon against them, learn­ing what they most fear.

Saxon Sharbino plays the film’s pri­mary hero­ine, and while she gives a solid per­for­mance, she and her fel­low cast mates are ham­strung by a script that fol­lows a pre­dictable pro­gres­sion. The Vangs mostly lurch from one set piece to the next.

“Be­dev­iled” ul­ti­mately em­braces clichés rather the sub­vert­ing them. The evil tech­nol­ogy’s up to date, but the sto­ry­telling’s too old­fash­ioned.

“Be­dev­iled.” Rating: R, for ter­ror, lan­guage and some sex­ual ma­te­rial. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 30 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle Play­house 7, Pasadena.

En­ter­tain­ment Stu­dios

SAXON SHARBINO plays a teen who finds her­self and friends at the mercy of their com­put­ers/phones.

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