Sunday, October 6, 2013

Swallowed Their Soul

Spoilers, all the way to the end:

Wow, who'd have ever thought that 1981s's The Evil Dead would ever come to seem subtle? But that's what I kept thinking during the many, many scenes of pain, suffering, and self-mutilation on display in 2013's Evil Dead (for a minor example: lingering close-ups of people pulling nails out of their flesh). Even more problematic, it is, like umpteen other remakes of horror classics, annoyingly over-determined.

I know it must be hard to make a cabin-in-the-woods fright flick after Cabin in the Woods, but oh, for the days when a group of friends could go on a weekend get-away, stumble across crazy-madness, and then, when they try to flee, discover that the bridge has been washed out!

In this film's overly complicated but needlessly opaque set-up, messed-up Mia has summoned friends and her estranged brother to their mom's old cabin to quit (heroin? I assume) cold turkey. This is the pretext that is supposed to prevent them from leaving; her two friends, who I thought were a couple, but then not -- they're all apparently childhood friends, with unclear resentments -- have made a pact to keep her prisoner if need be, to make sure she goes through with it this time.

I will add that star Jane Levy looks really pretty and well-groomed for a junkie, but as I said at the time, "Well, that's Hollywood."

It also seems to me that if her friends wanted to keep her locked up until it's all over, that's exactly what Detox is for, but again, never mind. They didn't say that she had insurance!

At any rate, after all that angst to explain why they didn't just leave in the first place, and the demon-possessed Mia is spitting white fluid, they discover that the bridge is freakin' washed out anyway! So they would have been legitimately trapped in place with the evil spirits anyway, if they'd acted like sane people, without all the rigamarole.

Her friend the nurse insists to brother David that Mia's getting the same treatment she would in a hospital, which seems slightly disingenuous, since the place is filthy, with barely flickering electricity. One would also think that if you discover the family cabin has been trashed, and the basement is full of strung-up dead animals, along with a mysterious occult book emblazoned with warnings not to open it under any circumstances -- even if you didn't believe in said occult forces, you might be concerned about whoever's been coming over and doing really creepy things in your house.

Speaking of which -- apparently that prologue, with the father burning his Deadite daughter alive in the cellar to save her soul -- must have happened relatively recently, since Mia and David's family photos are still stuck to the walls. So that group of people who know all about the the demons and the Book of the Dead were in the area, and just left the book sitting on a table for the first idiot who comes along? Because buddy Eric (a teacher, thanks very much) immediately busts the book open and sets about reciting passages aloud, despite the blood-red warnings -- and then spends the rest of the movie being kind of smug about his superior demon-knowledge.

Line in the sand, people!

Next time I feel a cold chill down my spine, I'm going to have to go around checking with all my friends that they didn't incant anything.

In a nutshell: my favorite part of the movie? I was feeling disappointed that the Bruce Campbell cameo must have been a rumor I misheard, when he turned up in profile after the credits. "Groovy," indeed.

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