So, as you probably know by my book reviews, I love horror. I love scary stories. I love them in all forms. Scary books, scary movies, scary TV shows, scary comic books…give horror a form and I’ll probably love it. (and a fair bit of sci-fi thrown in the mix as well) However, I’ve never been one of the types of people who claimed to have watched ALL the horror films.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have an extensive horror collection. (DVDs, BluRay, books, comics, on and on it goes) I love watching, reading, critiquing. I’m not even all that picky about ‘quality’. (I put that in quotes because generally people do not consider any horror to be good quality. They’re wrong, but that’s the way it is.) I like bad horror films. I like camp and cheeseball and completely unbelievable stories. Heck, my favorite thing about being sick (if I have to pick something favorite, that is) is getting to watch “Monsters” and “Tales From the Darkside” on SyFy. So my standards aren’t exactly high. My standard is this: I have to enjoy it. Pretty simple.
My love of horror has existed for as long as I can remember. My Aunt Connie must have loved it too, because she let my cousin and I watch “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” at her place when I was about eight or nine. (you read that right…at eight or nine years of age, I saw Linda Blair’s head spin around.) My friend Julie and I went to see “Child’s Play” the summer before 7th grade. And the entire summer was spent watching “Friday the 13th” movies on HBO. In high school, my friend Sarah and I used to see how badly we could scare each other. We’d drive around at night, looking at creepy houses on dark, winding roads in the less populated areas near where we lived. We’d tell stories and see what it would take to freak ourselves out.
As a kid who loved to read, I started reading Stephen King at age ten. My first ‘grown-up’ horror book was Cujo. And, of course, before that, there was always Christopher Pike and many others like him.
So it should be no surprise that when I hear of any new horror film coming out, I almost always want to see it. I’ll admit, there are some movies I’m not anxious to see, but most of them pique my interest.
For all my love of horror, though, I have never been an “Evil Dead” fan. Ever. I never saw the first two films at all. “Army of Darkness” is something I view as punishment I endured at the hands of an asshole ex-boyfriend from high school. He made me go see it, even though I said I didn’t want to. I hated sitting through every second of it. So, I never expected that I’d want to see the remake of “Evil Dead” (a minor distinction here…the new movie left off “The” so it’s no longer “THE Evil Dead”.) The thing is, the trailers looked really good. They were creepy! So last night, when my husband and I actually got to have a night out without children, we decided to go see it. (My husband is a great sport…he’s not a horror fan, but he almost always goes to the horror films I want to see. In return, I never try to convince him to see the ones he thinks look stupid.)
So last night I saw the remake. Last night I saw “Evil Dead“. It was amazing! There was no camp. It wasn’t an homage to the lame, Ash-filled stupidity I remembered from “Army of Darkness”. It was creepy. Better yet, it scared me! Not even just a little…I was on edge throughout the entire movie. My heart was racing and my muscles were tense. I honestly cannot remember the last time a movie scared me like that. We saw “Mama” when it came out and I loved it. It was creepy and a little scary. But it didn’t actually scare me. It was creepy and there was tension when I watched it, but I wasn’t scared. “Evil Dead” scared me last night.
The thing is, don’t ask me why. I can’t tell you. Seriously, as far as I can tell, there was nothing especially different about it. I’ve seen all the “Paranormal Activity” movies so far. They were creepy and fun to watch, but they did not scare me. The last movie I remember being scared of was “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”.
One thing I can say I did love about “Evil Dead” was the exclusion of Ash in the remake. I am not a Bruce Campbell fan. I won’t say I hate the man, but I think he is one of the worst actors I’ve seen. Knowing he wasn’t in the remake is what convinced me to go see it. No matter how good it looked, if Bruce Campbell had been in it, I would never have gone to see it.
Another thing I loved is that focus on real special effects. This movie wasn’t full of CGI. It was beautifully done with real effects. Because the thing about CGI is…it looks like CGI. Special effects artists deserve credit for the beautiful work they do. This movie proves that fact. I also appreciate that the blood looked like blood, not like a vat of tempera paint.
So let me be fair and as balanced as possible here. What didn’t I like about it? One, the girlfriend. She barely had a purpose. She was introduced and then forgotten for half of the movie. If you’re going to show a gun, you must use the gun. If you’re going to introduce a character, you must use the character. don’t just wait until then end and suddenly have the character take an active role. Here’s how little she was involved in the main portion of the movie…I had to look up what her name was because I couldn’t remember if she was even introduced with a name.
The only other thing I had a problem with in this movie was the incantations…what started the whole thing. There was no reason the teacher (uh, in case you don’t know me by now….I am NOT River Song…so….SPOILERS!) So yeah, no reason the teacher should have read any of the incantations aloud. All of that seemed too forced. There should have been some impetus to him opening the book (wrapped in plastic and barbed wire) and then reading the words OUT LOUD and all of that good stuff. I mean, yes, it made the movie move along, but I feel like they could have made more of an effort to have a point to it. The original was pretty lame, but at least it made sense, as far as the incantations go. (Oh, yeah, I watched the original when I got home last night. I had to see what this new movie came from.) In the original movie, they played back an audio tape of a researcher reading his translations of this book he’d found. That’s what started it all. That makes way more sense than some random teacher dude deciding to take a book out of a witchcraft infested basement (full of dead cats, no less) and then open it up, using wire cutters to get the barbed wire off of it, and then making rubbings of the words so he could then read them out loud. It just didn’t make sense.
So there is my critique. The rest of the movie was fantastic. It was gory, it was gratuitous. Disgusting bodily fluids splattered all over the place. More blood than was necessary was in practically every scene. Every single way possible to cut, puncture, slice, or otherwise rip-open human flesh was used in this film. It was gross. It made you want to turn away. But it was awesome! It wasn’t like the gore porn of movies like “Hostel” and “Saw”. It went just up to the point of ‘too far’ and then stopped. AND there was a point to it all. It wasn’t just ‘let’s see how completely disgusting we can be’.
My only other complaint, before I end my glowing review, is the very end of the movie. I always look up spoilers and I knew I was supposed to stay and watch even through the credits. (which, really, doesn’t everyone do this now? Who knows what goodies are hidden in them or at the end of them!) But at the end of these credits I got ‘rewarded’ with a giant Bruce Campbell head-shot. Ew. I assume there will be an “Evil Dead 2″, but if Bruce Campbell is in it, I will not be seeing it in the theater. They were sensible enough to leave him and the stupid campiness out of this one. I only hope they continue to see the light (dark?) and keep him out of the sequels. If they do, they have a lifelong fan in me.
So where does the ‘repentant’ part come in? I’m sorry I never even gave the original a chance. After watching it last night, it wasn’t a bad film for its time. For the only time in his career, Bruce Campbell acted the part totally straight. He wasn’t over-the-top at all. Not even a little bit. It was a decent movie with crappy effects. They had no budget and it showed, but it had a good basis. The remake fixed it all and made a truly amazing film.
As far as the original “Evil Dead” sequels go….I remain firm in my convictions. They suck.
Go see the remake. It’s killer. (bwahahahahah)