Saturday, April 6, 2013

EVIL DEAD remake--Not so Funny (2013)

Ack, I have no time to work on my blog.  None.  But in an effort to avoid grading, I have to let my vitriol fly and say a few words about the Evil Dead remake (Fede Alvarez, 2013).  This waste of time was produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who obviously have to send their kids to private school, so they decided to milk their dead horse from 32 years ago.  Also, I demand that Diablo Cody turn in her feminist card.  Unlike some, I don't believe that everything a woman does is "feminist" because it's a woman doing it.  In sisterhood, I wish her every success.  I just don't want her adding her two cents to what she thinks is feminist horror anymore. 

I was really excited to see this film.  Based on the hubbub all over the internets, and interviews with Campbell and star Jane Levy at comic.con, rumors flew that this film's "Ash" just might be a woman.  While this move is playing into the fashionable Final Girl schtick, changed the game a little.  I had a full day of work and responsibility yesterday, but I wanted to start it off with a bang, so I went to the first showing of the film in my area.  Whoo!  When I walked out 90 minutes later, all I could think is "Stop Making These Utterly Pointless Remakes!!"  Watch out, ahead are spoilers.**

The film starts with a brutal sacrifice of a young woman by what looks like a mild mannered teacher and a band of illiterate, slobbering rednecks.  The fact that actors with clear physical disabilities are being used here as demon worshiping nutballs is the first sign that this film is going to be thoughtlessly offensive at every turn.  Also, this first scene creates the formula for the rest of the film: stuff happens, women are by turns humiliated and mutilated, and nothing makes a lot of sense.  Heh, the more I write about this film, the angrier I get!

This time, the cabin in the woods is a site for drug intervention as Mia, her brother, David, and their friends try to help Mia quit some habit (meth? heroin? unsure), and even one of the characters, Olivia, is a registered nurse with all the goodies that will help with withdrawal.  No vacation away from it all for this group.  Already, this visit is fraught.  Not only is Mia (Jane Levy) an addict, but she took care of their psychopathic mother as a kid while David ran away in order to not deal (really, a wise move on his part).  So there may be a hint of hereditary insanity lurking in Mia's blood.  Mia's issues lay the ground for everything to come, because any concerns she might have about staying in this evil place can be chalked up to the ramblings of either insanity or acute withdrawal.  Conveniently, everyone at the cabin thinks that odd events are due to Mia "losing it" rather than blame that a-hole, Eric, who decides to read out loud from a book that shows the graphic torture of women and is covered in human flesh. Eye roll.


30+ years after the first Evil Dead, the people who remade this film decided that they couldn't lose the "offensive-the-first-time" forest raping scene.  This version does its best imitation of tentacle porn, and adds wet, viscous sounds to Mia's violation by supernatural vines.  The scene in the original film is worse; it's longer and revels in the character's helplessness.  Nevertheless, this rape scene is still bad.  It reminded me of the Cape Fear remake's rape scene where Robert De Niro breaks Illeana Douglas's arm and bites her face before raping her.  Something about the graphic nature of that scene ruins you for the rest of the film.  So does this early scene in the Evil Dead remake. How do the filmmakers think this scene is empowering, I wonder?

All of the women are possessed first, each of them lovely long-haired beauties.  Thus the film proceeds to take great pleasure in forcing them (under the guise of possession) to mutilate themselves.  Burning by boiling water, slitting one's face open, cutting one's tongue in half, or slicing off a limb with an electric knife or chainsaw.  This film revels in every scene of female mutilation in luscious close-up detail.

The film even manages to slip in an unnecessary woman-on-woman kiss, because women kissing is always hot, even if one of them is a possessed evil zombie.

Oh, and if you do not include the ridiculously tacked on last 12 minutes of the film, guys are the only heroes here.  Even though ostensibly Eric caused this whole mess, he and David get to explore their bromance's potential as they kill all the women in this film in order to finally be together.  Alas, like any good zombie, if you die, even nobly, you'll come back as "evil dead," so David sacrifices himself and zombie Eric in order to allow Mia to live. You see, Mia is ALIVE after David buries her alive, breaking the curse, and then he brings her back with a makeshift defibrillator, which looks like a car battery plugged up to wires directly injected into her chest.  Yes, I wrote that last sentence, and no matter how I write it, I can never fully explain how utterly ludicrous this plot twist is. But the film's not over until Mia can use her phallic weapon to brutally choke the original woman monster, graphically illustrating death by chainsaw blowjob.

This film is NOT FUNNY. I'm not just some "humorless feminist" here, and I'm not going to debate about whether the original Evil Dead from 1981 was intentionally or unintentionally funny.  That film has a cult following because it's funny, and the rest of the trilogy including Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) are also deliberately comedic.  Alvarez's Evil Dead remake eliminates any traces of humor in order to make the film more frightening.  It keeps the splatter but removes the splatstick.  Not good.

Before watching this piece of misogynistic crap, I happened to see the trailer for Carrie, which looks to be terrible.  While I am in huge support of Kimberley Pierce's continued directing career, this trailer did not make this upcoming remake seem appealing or necessary.  Please, stop the remakes.