The newest addition to a cult classic franchise released tonight, and the old man and I were there to take it all in. Evil Dead revisits the 1981 feature length directorial debut of Sam Raimi. It is the story of five young adults out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere so that one of them can turn over a new leaf, and detox herself from her drug addiction. As often happens in movies where the word “Dead” is in the title, things don’t go well. After finding a bunch of dead cats and a book bound in flesh, inked in blood, an unspeakable evil begins to possess the quintet one by one, forcing them to do horrible things to themselves, and each other.
This time around, backed in a producing role by the creative team of the original films, another up and coming director who’s gained some notoriety from his short films, Fede Alvarez, takes the helm. His movie is original, gory, and fun, enough to stand on its own merit, but it’s also a love letter to the original trilogy, showing the influence of–and paying homage to–the originals throughout.
Would you like to know more? Continue reading… spoilers are minimal, but the images are more graphic than I normally post here.
Evil Dead 2 follows a grand tradition of horror movie sequels. It has more of almost everything. It has more blood. It has more gore. It has more characters. It has more Evil-Vision™. It has more laughs. About the only thing it doesn’t have more of, is fright. You see, since The Evil Dead found so much success by not being taken seriously, Raimi directs resident ham Bruce Campbell in a slapstick comedy that features tons of laughs, blood and gore. This new formula works very well. The movie is wall to wall cheese, but unlike most intentional cheese, Evil Dead 2 is actually funny.
Texas Chainsaw 3D is the newest “official” sequel in a long line of sequels, prequels and reboots in one of the pre-eminent Slasher film series of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This particular movie picks up right where we left off in the first film, making it a sequel/soft-reboot combination, similar to Evil Dead 2, or The Incredible Hulk. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end, seeing as one of those is comedy-horror, and the other is Super-hero Action. Texas Chainsaw 3D falls pretty well into the slasher-horror genre, or as my father calls it, a “spooker“, where we see a bunch of stupid young people make a bunch of stupid decisions that get them very, very dead.
Since this is one of mine and my father’s favourite genres, we usually see this type of movie together, in theatres. It’s a tradition that goes back to the late 80s or early 90s. Over the years, a formula of sorts has been developed. Of course, when dealing with this kind of movie, you shouldn’t be expecting high-art. I’m not saying there aren’t artistic horror films. There are several. Having a critically acclaimed spooker is an anomaly, and should be regarded as such. In order to be successful as a spooker, a movie must really only pass Dad’s three question test:
Is it a jumper? Did it make you jump, if so, how many times? No-Jumper is a piss-poor waste of time. A One-Jumper showed up to the party. A Two-Jumper is a very enjoyable experience, and has done well. Three-Jumper is fantastic, and very rare. I don’t think there’s ever been a Four-Jumper, I certainly couldn’t name one.
How’s the gore? Is there a lot of it, and what kind? Describe it… Is it Tense? Gross? Funny? CGI? Fake-looking? Realisic? Cringe-worthy?
How stupid is it? How stupid are the character’s choices, and do they at least make a little bit of sense, most of the time? More importantly, how stupid are the film-makers? Do they show you a car driving off a cliff, only to see there’s no engine or drivetrain in the car?
If a film can pass most of these questions, then it has succeeded in landing itself a place in the pantheon of films known as “Pretty Good Spookers“.
Now let’s take a look, and see how Texas Chainsaw 3D fared, shall we?