Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
For a film whose tagline is “The most terrifying film you will ever experience”, I had high expectations for it. However, I spent the whole two hours being more frustrated and disgusted than scared. Sure, the film had its moments that made me jump a bit but overall, this movie relied heavily on gross-out tactics in order to scare. You don’t even have to see the Sam Raimi 1981 original in order to know that this remake didn’t even hold a candle to it.
It’s a typical horror/slasher film plot, where a group of young people head out into the woods to spend a few days in a cabin. Mia (Levy) is a heroine junkie who is attempting to go cold turkey and everyone knows a creepy, run-down cabin in the middle of absolutely no where is the best place to do that, right? Along for the ride is her brother, David (Fernandez), his girlfriend (Blackmore), Olivia (Lucas), and Eric (Pucci). Eventually the group comes across an evil book that is wrapped up in barbed wire (hmmm, you think that would be a hint). Eric, however, decides he would like to do some light reading and begins to read from the book…out loud….which the book says BLATANTLY NOT TO DO. Soon the five friends find themselves being terrorized by a demon and the bloodbath ensues.
As I mentioned before, I found myself more frustrated at the movie than anything else because the whole story just seems completely ludicrous. Everything just seems like it is trying too hard, from the setting to the dialogue. The movie is trying so hard to be scary that it comes off as comedic. Especially the “demon’s” dialogue. I found myself laughing at how horrible it was. Of course in every horror movie, as the audience, we are going to be yelling at the characters for making stupid decisions (such as, why in the world would you go down those creaky and rotting stairs into a dark and ominous cellar??), but this movie takes it to a whole other level. The decisions these people made just made no sense at all. That, along with terrible lack of character depth, made it hard to feel sorry for them when they die. We barely get any background on these people, which is a shame because the first half hour of the film seemed like it was trying to do this. We know a little about David and Mia’s story, but the others…absolutely nothing. David’s girlfriend, Natalie, has almost no lines in the movie, and the other two we simply just can’t find ourselves to care about because we don’t even truly know what their relationship to David and Mia is. It is implied that they have known each other for years but the characters on screen do not convince us of that.
I found myself turning my eyes away from the screen not because I was actually scared, but because the outrageous gore that was happening is enough to make anyone cringe. Buckets and buckets of fake watery blood, severed limbs, and needles in eyes would not be so bad if the story line was strong enough to uphold it. But it isn’t. The only time I was actually surprised were by events near the end of the movie, and even then, it seems like they were just dragging everything on too long; once again trying too hard.
Although I have to admit I am not an avid watcher of horror films, I do appreciate one when it is done right, as I believe anyone does. I was looking forward to this one because it seemed like it had promise, especially since Raimi seemed to be on board. Yes this film had maybe a handful of actually scary moments, but this was way outweighed by the “scary” moments that actually had me laughing. With the many scary movies that are due to be released in the upcoming months, I can’t see this one being remembered in the long run.