Evil Dead (2013)

evil_dead_poster_1Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty, Sian Davis

Directed by Fede Alvarez

Expectations: I don’t know. High but also low.

As a die-hard fan of the original films:
onestar

Realistically:
twostar


The 2013 version of Evil Dead is everything I feared it would be. Instead of encapsulating that rebel, low-budget spirit of the original, it feels incredibly mainstream and not the least bit fresh. I suppose that’s to be expected of a mainstream remake of a genre classic, but I had hopes that with Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on-board as producers they’d make sure that they did justice to the legacy of Evil Dead.

What makes Evil Dead a hard one for me to write about is that I can see both sides of the argument. Purists think this should never exist (like most remakes), but modern viewers unwilling to venture into low-budget territory have come to this one in droves. I’m firmly in the purist camp, but I do think they got one thing perfect. This Evil Dead isn’t so much a remake of the original as it is a similar situation with entirely new characters and a lot of cherry-picked elements and shots from the Raimi films. This is definitely the way to go to avoid people like myself bitching about how “the new Ash isn’t as good as Bruce Campbell,” and other such unwinnable arguments. So now there’s no Ash at all. Which is exactly how this movie should be. Ash and Bruce Campbell are inseparable.

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Quick Takes: Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Red Riding Hood, Safe Men

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

Starring Phil Caracas, Murielle Varhelyi, Maria Moulton, Tim Devries, Ian Driscoll, Josh Grace, Tracy Lance, Glen Jones, Mike Funk
Directed by Lee Demarbre

This one’s not even close to being a B-Movie, it’s more like a D-Movie, but it does have its moments. Jesus on a moped, God speaking to his only begotten son through a bowl of ice cream and cherries, the arrival of Santo in a small aeroplane, etc. Santo gained some weight though, which might explain why he’s not driving that sporty convertible around any longer. There’s a lot of “kung fu” fight scenes and over every one, there’s an inane techno track that ruins any goodwill the scene itself might have had prior. Not that the fights are good. While watching I couldn’t imagine that these filmmakers would ever do anything else, so I was very surprised to learn that I had actually seen another of this dude’s movies, the 2009 horror movie Smash Cut. I liked that one pretty well, so I guess if your first feature looks like it was made by a no-talent hack, you can still grow into a passable filmmaker. Who knew?

Red Riding Hood (2011)
(No Stars)

Starring Amanda Seyfried, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Julie Christie, Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Max Irons, Michael Shanks, Christine Willes, Michael Hogan, Lukas Haas
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

This movie is fucking awful in every imaginable way. No redeeming value whatsoever. Literally the equivalent of gouging out your own eyes, Red Riding Hood should be a shoe-in for every category of the 2011 Razzies.

Safe Men (1998)

Starring Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Michael Lerner, Paul Giamatti, Michael Schmidt, Christina Kirk, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Pais, Harvey Fierstein
Directed by John Hamburg

Safe Men is a fair enough movie, but it could have been so much more. It’s basically a bunch of crime film clichés strung together in a wholly unbelievable way, which I’m OK with, but instead of providing lots of laughs and making itself stand out from the crowd, it flounders in mediocrity. At times it is amusing, with great supporting performances from Michael Lerner and Paul Giamatti, but mostly it is ho-hum. The music, while good, is often used poorly, sounding like they used what they could get instead of what worked with the scene. The Bar Mitzvah scene and the followup party are the film at its funniest, but because it’s so middle-of-the-road up to those points, many viewers may not make it that far.

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