I decided to watch a couple of remakes this week, to see how they look, and how they stand up to the originals. We need to establish I’m a huge fan of the originals, I recognize they are full of faults, but there is also an undeniable charm to them, as Raimi and his team tried to be as creative as they could in making their original film.
While the remake has just as much, if not more blood and gore than the original, it lacks its appeal. There are a number of things I did like about the film, but was it the ‘most terrifying film’… not by a long shot. With a lead-in like that, I was expecting some serious creep and scares… but I didn’t get them.
There are nice little nods to the original, and it’s conceivable the film could take place in the same universe some decades on.
Much like the original, the film centers on 5 friends who come to a remote cabin. Unlike the original, they aren’t there to party it up, and this deviation, I did like. It seems Mia (Jane Levy) has a bit of a drug habit, so she’s surrounded herself with her friends and family, her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) to help her as she goes cold turkey.
Once there, they find a slightly familiar looking book, wrapped in wires, and of course, one of the, Eric, decides to investigate it a little more closely, reciting some of the phrases, and look what happens! We get the swooping Evil traveling through the forest shots, and things go decidedly bad for each and every one of these poor kids.
There are some nice moments throughout, lots of gore, but no real scares or jumps, I found all of them to be telegraphed in advance. The make-up design, and some of the practical effects are really good, a large step up from the original film (though once again, watching it now, that is part of the film’s charm).
I think I was hoping for something more, or a little different, instead of just a bit of a rehash of everything we’d seen before. While the gore works, and it works well, there’s a lack of character and story… I didn’t care who lived or who died in this film, and each death didn’t bother me one way or the other, because I wasn’t made to feel for any of the characters.
I think as a starting point this was a good idea to revisit, but they should have spent some more time building character and dramatic tension, before everything starts to come apart. The movie is barely 91 minutes, and that’s with 7 minutes of end credits thrown in (plus a nice little tag), another thirty minutes tagged on at the front of the movie, and interspersed within the rest of the film to pad out the characters, give them some arcs, and allow the audience to invest in them a little more would have done this film a world of good.
Oh well, maybe the next time they remake it…