Evil Dead (2013)

evildeadThis week for the second time in recent months I went to see another horror remake, something that without extenuating circumstances would never normally happen. However in the case of Maniac, which is reviewed here, and Evil Dead I felt I would have been stupid not to. I’m a big fan of the original Evil Dead and initially when I heard it was going to be re-made I greeted the news with my usual massive sigh when I hear of another Hollywood horror re-hash. However, in the build up to its release it managed to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. One of the biggest things that made me want to go watch it was that Sam Raimi, director of the original trilogy, was on board as a producer. On top of that I read that the film was mostly going to be taking an old-school approach to the special effects, opting for prosthetics rather than CG. So I caved eventually and when the time came round I actually got quite excited to go and see some proper gory horror at the cinema.

In terms of gore Evil Dead certainly does not disappoint. With torture porn nowadays being the biggest form of horror cinema it’s obviously a difficult challenge to give something the shock factor people have come to expect. With Evil Dead, though, they have got it perfectly right and correct, it’ll have you squeaming in your seat and flinching in disgust as the sheer level of blood and guts is so relentless that it easily sets itself apart from the pack that it could have fallen into. The fact that they held back on CG really works in favour of the gore too, it immediately makes everything more visceral and is done so well that it provides a great update from the low-budget shit Raimi must have had to use on the original. The tree rape scene however, is not done as well as the original and unfortunately that’s not the only negative about the film. The plot, largely similar to the original, is an incredibly generic one, one that only really works in the original because it’s taken with a pinch of salt, this remake, however, takes it’s plot incredibly seriously, so much so that I can’t even remember there being one joke. This is, ultimately, where the film holds it biggest flaw since the gor is so extreme it gets over-the-top so for dark sods like me it is actually quite funny but the way the plot is dealt with makes it feel like they don’t realise they’re own joke. They don’t realise quite how ridiculous this film is and therefore miss out on what it was that made this franchise great in the first place.

While I very much enjoyed the film and will almost certainly watch it again at some point, it made it impossible for me to love it as much as the original. It does just about manage to separate itself from the usual trashy Hollywood horror but lacks the humurous spark of it’s predecessors and suffers from taking its generic plot too sincerely. Still if you want some blood and guts this will always be a good shout.

 

Maniac

Maniac-Elijah-WoodSo this week the film that grabbed my attention in the biggest way was Maniac, a remake of an eighties horror of the same name this version had been stuck in development for a long time before it finally got its release this year. Starring Elijah Wood and written by horror veteran Alexandre Aja the film is shot almost entirely from the protagonists point of view, the only times we see Wood’s face are in reflections, with the exception of about two shots.

If you’ve watched the red band trailer that I posted in my weekly update you’ll already have quite an idea of what the film is like. Its gruesome slasher that puts you in the shoes of the killer. The unique feel that the POV gives you is what stops Maniac from being you’re run of the mill slasher flick, it gives it its own edge. Elijah Wood is perfect in his role too, a million miles away from Bag End he manages to bring a soft and innocent edge to his deeply disturbed character who enjoys scalping his victims after killing them. The plot is not particularly exciting, Wood’s character has flashbacks of a horrific past giving which has turned him into a maniac, and all he wants to do is fall in love forming the central relationship of the movie, it leaves you thinking if it weren’t for the very clever POV idea there wouldn’t be much here at all.

To summarise though, this is a devilishly gruesome horror movie that has a unique feature setting it apart from the regular dross we’re normally served up these days. Wood gives a great performance and overall the film deserves the cult status I’m sure it will eventually hold.