Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Evil-Dead-2013 Shut up and deal with it. That’s not really how I feel but that’s how the movie feels about you watching it. This film does its own thing and doesn’t apologize for a single second and that is a large part of why I absolutely loved this movie. Let me start off by saying I’m not usually a fan of gore and watching innocent people die for no decent reason. That kind of thing tends to turn me off to modern gore fests like the Saw series. That and terrible writing trying to pass as legitimate art. That kind of nonsense has ruined modern horror as they either try to drown you in gore or creep you out with a piss poor story filled with half-baked characters hamming it up for two hours. This kind of thing is why Cabin in the Woods exists. In fact if you’ve seen that great film you’ll be hard pressed not to think of it in the beginning of Evil Dead… but that goes away fast enough.

Evil Dead is obviously a remake of the Sam Raimi classic indie horror film. A movie so bad it’s good. A classic horror story about teens in the woods awakening an ancient evil which goes about trying its best to kill them. The 2013 remake is the same but now there is a real budget involved. What they do with the budget is amp up the gore-tastic details to the N-th degree.  No, really, this is one amazing gore-fest with blood and guts and vomit and tendons and dear lord! I would usually hate this but the film just revels in it in such an over the top manner it’s hard to take it seriously. This wins me over as these characters are true horror film caricatures. I don’t get wrapped up in caring about them so their hideously gross ends manage to make me look forward to each new dismemberment.

Speaking of the caricatures the casting was…well ok enough. The only real stand out is the only one that matters. Mia, the lead female, is the one that gets possessed early in the film via the classic tree raping scene. Jane Levy is a cute and attractive actress but when it comes time she manages to crank up the creepiness with such ease it’s rather disturbing. I can’t get one scene out of my head where she’s just talking to her brother. She’s completely freaked out and looking at him at an odd angle with her face slowly getting close to his while shaking just right. She looks absolutely insane and I couldn’t help but cackle with glee at the sight of her talented madness. Her performance sells the majority of this film so I have to say she was perfectly cast.

The story itself is still in line with the classic but there are a few new twists and turns just to keep you on your toes. You’ll love the similarities but will also enjoy not entirely knowing what comes next. Oh yes, and the “Evil-Vision” does make a few appearances early in the movie. Again I smiled happily as we were sent zooming through the woods with that freaky sound effect in the background. However it doesn’t persist as much as the original and that’s fine. Over use would make the whole film teeter off into absolute goofiness. I think that’s another reason I love this so much. This movie rides that razor’s edge between horror and goofy gore-fest.

I had an absolute blast watching this movie. It even made me talk back to the screen which I rarely do and trust me I was not the only one doing it. I honestly can’t think of anything that brings this movie down for me. It delivered a great old fashioned horror film with over the top gore, ridiculous situations and caricatures you were excited to see put through the ringer. Get out there and see this as soon as you can. Don’t be afraid to tell these guys how stupid they are to go into the basement. It’s all part of the fun.

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Review: Total Recall

Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale and the 1990 film of the same name, Total Recall is set on a dystopian futuristic Earth where chemical warfare has ravaged all but two areas, the United Federation of Britain (where apparently only one person has an British accent) and the Colony (a mix of Australia and Asia, or as I like to call it, Austrasia). Colin Ferrall plays factory worker Douglas Quaid.  Unhappy with his mundane existence, Quaid decides to visit Rekall, a company that specializes in implanting memories of a more exciting life.  While at Rekall, Quaid finds out that his memory has been altered before and that the life he's leading may not be real.  Quaid discovers that he was a double agent sent in to infiltrate and sabotage a resistance movement but eventually went rouge.  Quaid must find out whether his life as a factory worker, with wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale), is real or if his life as a member of the resistance, with lover Melina (Jessica Biel) is genuine.

This movie is very middle-of-the-road.  It does nothing of note to distinguish itself from the 1990 Paul Verhoeven film.  Say what you will about the 1990 Total Recall but it's over-the-top acting, corny dialog and ridiculous amount of unnecessary violence at least make that movie memorable.  This new Total Recall feels very bland and somewhat forgettable.  Colin Farrell does a decent job of carrying this movie.  He's very different from Arnold Schwarzenegger's corny, one-liner spewing, meat head.  Farrell's version of Quaid is an actual human being and not a walking stereotype.  However, its a double edge sword.  Farrell is played straight but ultimately not unique while Schwarzenegger's cornball dialog and terrible delivery is completely memorable (even if it is for the wrong reasons).  The rest of the cast is hit or miss.  Kate Beckinsale seems to enjoy being relevant again, Jessica Biel just seems lost, and Bryan Cranston seems to enjoy mixing it up with Farrell as one of the films villains.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend a movie that I almost fell asleep through.  If you truly want to check this out, wait for it to hit cable.  For everyone else, get your ass to Mars as its probably the furthest place you can be from this rather boring movie.

[easyreview title= "Review of Total Recall" cat1title="Micah's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="2.0" overall= false]