As good a scare fest as it gets.
Grade B Director: Fede Alverez
Screenplay: Alvarez, Diablo Cody (Juno)
Cast: Jane Levy (Fun Size), Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood)
Rating: R Runtime: 91 min.
by John DeSando
“Am I sure? Of course not! It’s not a science book!” Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci)
If first-rate gore is your desire, look no further than the remake of Evil Dead. If you are a purist about this horror genre, having waited through the many satires since Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, including Sam Raimi’s campy 1981 Evil Dead and the more recent Cabin in the Woods, then stop right here. Director Fede Alvarez does it right and straight.
Why not! Even to remake Evil Dead as Raimi fashioned it is foolishly to court comparison with a cult classic, a successful story of teens imprudently hanging out in a haunted cabin. In Alvarez’s iteration, the zombies are lifelike and the dismemberments realistic, each with its own rationale, just as the reason this time for staying in the cabin makes some sense.
Having found an ancient Book of the Dead, Eric gives the above statement, a free pass to gross us out even if the gore makes no sense or the strategies to thwart a resident evil are weak or too random to be effective. But make no mistake about the presence of shotgun and chainsaw, tropes from earlier scarefests, they are featured and used, along with very effective nail gun and ubiquitous gasoline. The special effects to make you cringe are well done, and the psychological-thematic underpinnings pretty impressive.
After all, brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) did abandon sister Mia (Jane Levy) and their mother long ago, so it seems some kind of retribution is in order. Additionally, because the women in the film make more mayhem than the men, as in the current American Idol contest, misanthropy trumps misogyny perhaps to comment on the current state of feminism.
“No! You don't understand. There was something in the woods... and I think it's in here with us... now.” Mia
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com