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Friday, September 13, 2013

Evil Dead (remake)

I really don't "get" the concept of remaking a movie, whether it's horror, comedy, or whatever. I mean, the story's been done, the script is usually a recycled compilation of great bits from the original version, the cast almost always looks bored...why bother? For every decent one(Friday the 13th, Black Christmas), we get dozens that seem pointless(Nightmare On Elm Street, Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Stepfather, One Missed Call, Halloween, Night of The Demons, House of Wax, Toolbox Murders, Sorority Row, My Bloody Valentine 3D, I could do this for weeks and weeks...). Why not use that time and effort to write something else that we HAVEN'T seen yet?

Anyway, I found myself wondering this the other day at the movies, while watching a trailer for a remake of Robocop. Maybe not the best mood for watching a remake of Evil Dead. We'll see...SPOILERS from this point on...and apologies to Bruce Campbell for not doing the original trilogy first.

Okay, opening scene: A young woman is scurrying behind some trees in a forest, breathing heavy and looking very rattled. Some redneck-farmer type gets the jump on her, and forces a burlap sack over her head. Wait, were we just invited to a hillbilly wedding ceremony?

She sees shadowy figures in front of her and begs them not to hurt her. An older woman tells her not to be afraid, but there's a table next to her covered with bloody tools. The elderly woman opens an ancient-looking book, and begins to recite strange verses.

At this point, a man approaches the prisoner, then whips the burlap sack off of her head. They stare at each other, and he turns out to be her father. The girl asks him what's happening, and who these strange folks are, and he informs her that her mother has died, and at her hands no less.

Then he procures a bottle of water and dumps the contents on his daughter's head. Acid? Holy water? Dr. Pepper?'s gasoline. And apparently he's being too slow, because the old woman orders him to hurry up.

Realizing that she's about to become a crispy critter, the girl once again begs her father to take her back home. Then her face changes, and she goes full-on demonic. Even after being set ablaze, she grins and continues to deliver her threats. Dad steps back, then raises his trusty shotgun. He shoots her to death, then the title slams onto the screen. Heh, reminds me of the way they did the title for Cabin In the Woods. Funny.

Now there's a long road, closed in by trees. Maybe this is Wrong Turn 12: Three Finger Makes a Treehouse. Nope, a jeep has pulled off the road, and now we're outside a cabin. In the woods. Like in that movie, Atonement.

As everyone stretches their legs, we meet our victims: Olivia is a cute brunette, and a registered nurse to boot; Eric is the token hippy, a young teacher with an attitude; Mia, a druggie-artist in need of an intervention; And David is Mia's estranged brother. There may be 1 or 2 others, but they don't have names yet.

David gets the front door open, and the interior looks like a bomb recently went off in there. Mia finds herself in a bedroom filled with old family pictures, and David wanders in behind her. They reminisce about their childhood memories, blah blah blah.

Later, Olivia tells David that this is Mia's second intervention. She left the first one after only 8 hours. Oh, and she OD'ed later, and nearly died. They decide that, in order for the intervention to succeed, they must resolve to force Mia to stay if she attempts to leave again.

That first night doesn't go well. Mia's screaming her head off about a bad smell, and she's being held, as if she could suddenly go crazy on them. Even after Mia's calm again, she still insists that there's something rotting in the cabin (in the woods), The dog one of the guys brought along seems to smell it as well. When he tries to dig through the floor, they all take a closer look.

The dog found a trapdoor, probably leading into a basement. They explore, but not before grabbing their trusty flashlights. Smarter than the usual fodder! That's refreshing.

Anyway, the cellar isn't exactly out of Better Homes and Gardens. Dust? Check. Cobwebs? Yup. Multitudes of little kitty-cat corpses? You betcha! Book of the Dead, bound up in barbed wire? Well, that's a little bit specific, but, yes.

They quickly vacate the creepy basement, and they bring the book with them. After a brief debate over all of the satanic-ritual paraphernalia that was down there, they decide not to decide anything just yet. The bad weather kicks in outside, and Mia paces around the muddy yard while the other girls prepare a meal that looks like something that Leatherface would drool over.

Hey, let's see what Eric is doing! He's actually off by himself, staring at the mysterious book. Using a pair of pliers, he begins the process of snapping the wires from around the book. It's wrapped in plastic, so he rips that apart, as well. Then he opens the book up, and begins to read the Latin inscribed within. If the original version and Cabin In the Woods have taught me anything, it's this: Never Read The Frickin' Latin Out Loud! Dolt.

He finds a page with a warning scrawled across the top: DON'T SAY IT, DON'T WRITE IT, DON'T HEAR IT. Beneath that ominous phrase there is a block of text that has been scribbled over. Using a pencil and a thin sheet of paper, Eric makes an etching of the message that was blacked out: Kunda Astrata Montossa Kanda". Yeah, Hakuna Matata you too pal.

Dumbass reads the words out loud, and a malevolent entity flies into Mia's body, possessing her. She drops to the ground, pukes, then sees Samara from The Ring standing in the forest. Okay, maybe not, but the demon sure does resemble Samara.

Mia rushes into the cabin(in the woods...), and starts to pack her stuff. She tells her friends that she needs to leave immediately, and they assume that it's a drug withdrawal thing. Eric informs Mia that they decided that they couldn't let her leave until she was better, so she turns to David for help. When he refuses as well, she tears off the protective amulet he gave her, then stomps outside to steal the car.

No one's smart enough to stop her, so she takes off. Ghost Girl appears again, so Mia swerves to avoid her, landing the car in a small body of water. Awesome. She gets out, nearly drowning in the process. Then Samara-Lite calls her name again, and bursts out of the water. Mia screams and runs.

As the demon-ghost thingy chases her around the forest, Mia gets tripped out by some twisty vines and branches. Her leg gets caught, then a tendril wraps itself around her throat. The entity appears to her again, then Mia gets tree-raped. Yeah, you read that right. A tree fucks her. Worst case of morning wood EVER. (My heartfelt apologies to any readers who've ever been sexually assaulted by trees. They can be vicious. Take back the splinters, am I right?)

Her friends find her, and manage to bring her back to the cabin(in the woods. By the lake. Yeah, I could do this all day...) Olivia examines her wounds, but disregards her rantings about demon-girls and tree-rape as nothing more than delusional mumbo-jumbo brought on by withdrawal. When the suggestion is made that she might be better off in a hospital, Olivia gets pissed off and tells them that Mia's getting the same care that a hospital would provide for her.

Olivia also theorizes that the assault on her body could have been self-inflicted. She claims that they can't trust Mia not to harm herself, as she'll likely do anything to get a fix. David then leaves the room to see Mia, who begs him to take her away from the woods. She tells him about the demonic presence, claiming that it's in the room with them. He leaves the room after being convinced that Olivia was right, and Mia actually sees the demon girl glaring at her from a dark corner of the bedroom.

Eric's still poring over the book, even finding a picture depicting the tree-rape that Mia described. Olivia suggests that he should put the book away, so that he can help David clean up the aftermath of Mia's incident, but he selfishly declares that David should do it by himself, because he's been out of their lives for so long. Wow, this is a tight-knit group here!

David heads outside with some trash, only to find his dog, named Grandpa, dead. It's covered in blood, so naturally he assumes that Mia must have killed it with a hammer. While he tries to confront her, she's locked in the bathroom, being boiled in the shower by hot water. The demon inside her then sets the room on fire.

He finally breaks the door down, and finds the bathroom filled with steam and smoke. The water was so hot that he nearly burns his hand trying to turn the faucet off. David picks Mia up off of the ground, then attempts to drive her away in the other car.

Eric finds a picture in the book that depicts a figure pouring boiling water on themselves, and he suddenly realizes that life is somehow imitating art. Mia begins to cough up some nasty spew in the car, then David is forced to pull over when he sees that the road is now underwater. Man,  this is turning out to be a pretty fucking horrible weekend for these guys, huh?

Everyone heads back to the cabin(in the woods), and Olivia discovers that Mia now has second- and third-degree burns all over her body, from her hot shower. A heated argument then develops, everyone blames each other for not leaving sooner, and none of them notice that Mia has snuck into the room.

When they do finally see her, they realize that she now has a rifle. David begs her not to use it, and she just barely misses shooting him, hitting the window next to him instead. In the demon's voice, Mia announces that they will all die that night, then she faints.

Olivia makes a grab for the gun, but the demon stops her. Mia leaps on top of the other girl, pins her to the floor, then vomits about 20 gallons of bloody puke into her face. Best vomit scene since Meaning of Life, I swear. Fun for the whole family.

They manage to trap Mia in the basement, and talk about the physical changes she's undergone; most noticeably, her demonic black eyes. Gee, think maybe she's possessed?

Eric checks in on Olivia after things have calmed down, and the light in the bathroom goes out. He creeps over to the shower, only to find that her eyes have gone monstrous as well, and that she's used a knife give herself a wider smile, Sardonicus-style.

Horrified, Eric tries to leave, but trips and falls. The bathroom door slams shut, and Olivia stabs Eric in the shoulder before he can get up again. She then stabs him several more times with a hypodermic needle, until he manages to knock her out with a large chunk of porcelain.

He crawls over to the furthest corner away from her body, then sloooowly pulls the broken needle out of his eyelid. Ouch. Then he sees Olivia crawling toward him, ready for another round. He picks up the chunk of porcelain, repeatedly bashing it into the back of her skull.

David bursts into the room, and Eric tries to explain what happened. David tries to patch up his wounds, and Eric tells him about the contents of the book. Natalie leaves the room and considers making a run for it, but a voice stops her at the front door...It's Mia, trapped in the basement.

Mia tells Natalie that she doesn't have any memory of what transpired, and that she's suffering from some severe injuries, so Natalie offers to come down to have a look. Not the smartest banana in the bunch, is she? Y'know, something just know occurred to me: The people in horror movies have NEVER WATCHED a horror movie! That must be it. How else can you explain the rampant stupidity in their actions?

To no one's surprise, Mia is not herself. By the time that Natalie figures that out, she's almost at the bottom of the stairs, and tries to scurry back up to the ground floor. The demon collapses the steps, but Natalie manages to hoist herself up through the trapdoor anyway. The demon grabs her by the ankle and pulls her back down into the cellar. Bye, sorry we barely got to know you...

Oh look, Nat lives! She finds herself flat on her back, unable to move much. Mia is by her feet, sniffing and apparently "tasting" her. When she gets closer to Natalie's upper body, she growls that she can smell her soul, then she bites Natalie's hand like a rabid dog. After cutting into her own tongue, Mia then kisses Natalie, making her ingest blood. Anyone hungry?

David opens the basement door, and yanks Nat to safety. Before he traps Mia again, she tells him that his sister's soul is "being raped in Hell". He slams the trapdoor shut, then nails the door down for good measure.

As the storm outside picks up, Eric gets the bright idea to burn the evil book. Nice try, but the tome remains intact, showing no visible signs of damage in the least. Then Eric tells David everything he's read in the book so far.

Okay, so apparently a demon wants to be restored to his full power, so that he can come to Earth to conquer humanity. The ritual to make that possible requires 5 human sacrifices. Gee, I wonder who the victims might be?

Natalie examines her wounded hand in the kitchen, and now realizes that it's possessed. She does the easiest thing possible, by preparing to sever her arm off to save herself. Meanwhile, Eric and David have to figure out whether or not killing Mia will put an end to the ritual.

Natalie runs water over the hand, trying to disinfect it. It twitches uncontrollably, and now she knows that the demon infection is spreading. She picks up an electric knife, sawing through the monster arm. When Eric and David find her in the kitchen, Natalie announces that she feels much better, then stands up...while her arms plops to the floor.

Dave and Eric continue to brainstorm a plan, when the trapdoor flies open once more, unhindered by the nails. Our favorite demon-girl shows up, armed with a nail gun. She attacks the men, shooting Eric a handful of times in the arm. Then she corners him against a wall, damaging his face, legs, arms, torso, etc. with a bunch of nails. No, wait, the attacker is Natalie, because Mia is still down below.

After another bloody battle, the guys defeat Natalie. Eric needs assistance to escape, so they limp away together. Then David returns to the house to destroy it with fire. As he prepares to drop the match into the gas-soaked house, he gets another idea.

He readies a syringe, then heads back down to the basement, where there is now extensive flooding. Mia leaps out of the water to take David down, but Eric shows up and shoots her.

Eric injects himself, and he seems to be himself again. David digs a grave for the demon-Mia, and she tries to get into his head with her words. David apologizes for never being supportive enough, then finishes with the burial. After the demon supposedly leaves her body, David makes several attempts to resuscitate her. They all seem to fail.

As David finally surrenders and steps away, he hears Mia calling his name. They hug, and he apologizes for never being there for her. As they pack up to leave, David gets mauled by Eric, who damages his neck and throat. David urges Mia to escape, but she refuses.

David forces Mia out of the room, then faces Eric for their final brawl. David sets off a spark that ignites a gas leak, and the entire cabin(in the woods) goes up.

Mia wanders around outside for awhile, and demons attempt to grab her. She gets to the car, but they pursue her. She gets back to what's left of the house, crawling through some tunnels, as demons try to grab her the entire way.

They walk on ceilings, crawl beneath the floors, it's like a bug infestation. Finally she gets a chainsaw out, and then hides under one of the vehicles. She uses the chainsaw to remove the stalker's legs, but the demon is strong enough to lift the car off the ground. Mia nearly escapes, but the car lands on top of her hand. As the demon crawls closer, Mia manages to completely tear her hand off, grab the chainsaw with her good hand, then split her friend in half, right down the middle.

Mia walks back toward the ruins of the cabin,picks up her amulet, then staggers away into the woods. The book can be seen on the ground, and, as the movie ends, the pages rapidly start to flip. THE END, with the exception of an incredibly brief scene of Bruce Campbell, looking into the camera and saying "Groovy!"

Eh. Was expecting much, much worse from this one, but it was average. The gore was good, but it felt like the pace was off. They should have just funded Evil Dead 4 instead. Still, it wasn't the worst remake ever, so...let's say 3 killer trees out of 5 for this one. An average movie.

Oh, and what did Evil Dead teach me?

-Originals rock.

-"Possession by puke" is a bad way to go.


Okay, that is all. Next up is either Miner's Massacre or The Wraith. Don't know much about either one, so it could be a mixed bag. See ya!