Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

REMAKE, REBOOT, REDONE, REMODEL, REACQUAINT, READAPT, READDICT, REAFFIRM - GROOVY


Evil Dead (2013)

Never let it be said that I don't like the works of Sam Raimi. How could you NOT like the Raimi family - Sam who, in his youth, finds a young Bruce Campbell to torture in the Evil Dead series, his brother Ted who I had seen previously (and not known they were related) playing a fake Shemp (that's another term I got to learn - it means someone who doubles in a scene for another actor - kind of like a body double or it could be only the appearance of one limb. 


Ted and Sam
It comes from the time of the Three Stooges when Shemp Howard died in the middle of a shoot (no not on camera sicko) and they needed to finish so they used old footage and spliced in 'fake Shemps' where they needed his presence on the set. And last but certainly not least Ivan (he's older than Sam by three years) who, when he's not practicing Osteopathic Medicine, writes screenplays, most notably the Army Of Darkness - also co-writing the comic book published with my fave company Dark Horse Comics.

Now the hubby doesn't understand what the difference between a remake and a reboot is. A REMAKE is like having a house that needs updating, remodeling. So you replace some appliances update the pipes and electrical wiring to code, maybe add new carpets and furniture. But a REBOOT is saying 'okay this house is salvageable but we gotta gut it' and you take it down almost to the frame and when you're done it's the same house but still somewhat different. 


THAT is what this movie is. You have the elements of Evil Dead (Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are on the credits as Executive Producers) but the movie is NOT your 1981 Evil Dead. It is your GRANDKID'S Evil Dead. Get used to the creaking noises, 'cause it's you. This is a full review so if you don't want spoilers, watch and then come back and read. And we start:


A girl is running in the woods. She thinks she's gotten away but she's caught (I swear one of the guys that catches her is either Sam or Ted - not in the credits though). They tie her up in a basement. Her father answers her questions sadly - her mother is dead, she, in fact, killed her and she's possessed. She denies it until the evil emerges and consequently is set on fire and shot in the face for good measure. That'll teach her.

So our 'twenty-somethings gathered in a isolated cabin to get slaughtered' are shown and by their names I want them dead but I know that's gonna happen so I relax. There's Mia, David, Eric, Olivia and Natalie. Their purpose for isolating themselves in this place? Mia is a recovering addict. Her brother David is reconnecting with her after leaving her to care for their mother who was committed to an asylum, because apparently there's one in every town in America except mine. The others are just... there to provide bodies for the evil we know is already there.

Now they give a whole lot of references that will be familiar to the original Evil Dead fans, the most famous (and most well known) being the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 or as Sam calls it 'The Classic' which appears in pretty much every movie he's made. The car was bought new by his father, and how he weaves it in to every movie is kind of funny and kind of sweet. We know it best as Ash's car and see it here, rusted out and sitting on the property by the cabin.

Mia does a mini-ceremony where she dumps the last of her drugs into a deep well (don't worry, no slimy long black haired things climb out) and the friends go into the cabin. Now in this Evil Dead the cabin belongs to Mia and her brother's family - and so are startled when they find the lock broken, the cabin having been used by someone else.

So the long haired dude finds THE BOOK and despite the fact that it is wired shut he cuts it open - and despite the fact that it says LEAVE THIS BOOK ALONE like Alice in Wonderland that's just an invitation for him to not only go through the book but find the words that have been scribbled out and using pencil to shade the letters, reads them out loud. He really should have died first.

So as Mia goes through withdrawal, she's also the first one to get attacked by the forest (interesting rape scene that wasn't as, um, graphic as the original) - so there's no one safe person in the cabin as with the original. If you notice as you watch there are nods to the elements of the other three ED movies: The cabin, the camera in the woods scenes, the 'rape' by the forest, the boiling water (Ash drank boiling water in AoD) the cellar door being bolted but the 'possessed' being able to open it a crack to taunt the others, the fact that the constant rain has washed away their only means of leaving (in ED it was a bridge collapsing) - there's a whole lot of little things and obvious things that make you like this movie despite not having the almighty Bruce be your hero in it.

Mia tries to run off but comes back completely possessed. Oh, in this movie to be 'possessed' not only means the spooky eyes (I'm sure they improved on the nasty contacts the original ED actors had to wear), but their moves become disjointed (lots of cricks and cracks) and of course they have evil voices. After getting hold of the shotgun, she manages to shoot her brother in the shoulder before collapsing. 

Olivia runs to help her and Mia sits over her and gives her the 'Ash' treatment - yup, thanks Sam for telling movie makers it's perfectly okay to shower your actors with gallons of ooky bloody stuff in the name of horror. Mia gets thrown in the cellar. Olivia soon also becomes possessed (with the cricks and cracks) except she gets the added pleasure of pissing herself. Fun. Oh and then she tries to cut her face off. It's an interesting progression from the originals that reflects the escalation of gore in 'modern' horror. But we still have some classic moments:

When Eric is stabbed with a piece of mirror by his now-dead girlfriend Olivia, David takes out the shard, puts pressure on the wound and... gets out the duct tape. If you can't fix it, duct it. That's a lesson for you kiddies. Anywho, Natalie duhs her way into the cellar 'cause she feels sorry for Mia - pretty soon, she doesn't feel anything. That's a joke people. 

No but really, at this point the new movie gets kind of blase' with lines like 'I can smell your filthy soul.' What, is she not so fresh? The 'demon' is called the Taker Of Souls. Oh now THAT'S original. The ToS has to have five to unleash the Abomination. How many teenagers were there? Oh that's convenient. I wonder if Sam cringed any at those particular changes.

But we get some of the same good stuff like one loses a hand (actually her arm just above the elbow) which unfortunately doesn't help, the book won't burn, there's a nail gun (always a fun toy for shooting your friends with over and over and over...), the idiot who started the whole thing tells David he not only has to kill his sister, but cut her up, burn her or bury her alive, his choice. Nice. 

When he can't set her on fire, out comes the chain saw. But nope, he can't do that either so it's burying her alive. After he does that, we get a silly Rube Goldberg contraption for a home made defibrillator (kids don't try this at home) with a car battery, a switch, a couple of syringes and kapow! But car batteries weren't meant to do this kind of idiotic thing so it goes dead and so does she. 

But wait! In typical horror movie style - today's typical style anyway - she lives! He runs into the cabin to get the car keys and a photo or two - massive duh on his part. But then, they're supposed to be 'cause otherwise we wouldn't have the big finish.

Eric, the long haired hippy idiot who started the whole thing by opening the Book of the Dead and reading from it, is now possessed and stabs David in the throat. To save his sister who's still outside he manages to shoot a gas can with a shotgun making the cabin blow up which happens never anywhere. While he's looking for the shotgun we get this weird sound like an air raid siren for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Kaboom. But that is a massive duh because now five people have been killed (the fifth was when Mia's heart stopped when she got buried alive).

The Abomination is coming. How do we know (besides the dead dudes)? Because it starts raining blood. Even with the blowing chunks in one of the girls faces scene, this is really the only overly bloody scene in this movie. Sam used gallons more of gore than this movie did. Oh well. So the Abomination is here and Mia has to deal with it. Yay. So there's a loooong fight sequence and for some reason more air raid siren noises which are more annoying than suspense-building. Finally out comes the chainsaw.

But first... how come they kind of cheaped out on the Abomination? This is supposed to be the BIG BAD WOLF of the movie and it's... another girl. Whaaa? She's evil looking and gross. So was all the rest of them. So what? Couldn't they have at least made up something... weird? They have the technology. They have the money. They apparently didn't have the imagination.

But back to the fight. Through a series of duh moves and more fighting, the car is tipped over and lands on Mia's... hand. Yup, we've had an arm slicing scene (that was one hell of an electric knife), but now - hmm, trapped hand, chainsaw. Chainsaw, trapped hand. What to do, what to do... But Mia is totally hard core. Not being able to reach the chainsaw she rips her hand off just by tugging it out from under the car. That allows her to grab the chainsaw and splits the Abomination in half. The blood rain stops, Mia staggers off, and what they're now calling the Naturom Demonto (What happened to Book Of The Dead?) slams shut.

And I now know I have to watch ALL the credits to the movies 'cause I missed this the first time: Number one, I think this is one of the few movie that has as much or more blood showing in the credits than in the movie itself; Number two, more air sirens. So next time you hear one there's either going to be a tornado, or an Abomination coming at you; Number three, once again the 'fake shemps' are listed; Number four, you get to hear the original tape recording from the first Evil Dead; Number five, if you wait cleeeear to the end of the credits you get a profile of Bruce Campbell who says 'Groovy' then swings his head to look at you.

One last thing - although the movie was supposed to be set in Michigan (as was the original), it was actually filmed in Muriwai Beach, Woodhill Forest, Woodhill, Auckland, New Zealand. Groovy.