July 28, 2013

Second Thoughts After Seeing The Evil Dead Remake

[Posted by Ted H]

This is a 3 part mini-series...part 1 was what I thought right after seeing the movie...this part is what I thought after letting it all sink in for about a week....The finale is next week where I wrap everything up in a broad sense...
You may be wondering why I deem it necessary to talk about this movie when I've got stories to write, but the Sam Raimi Evil Deads are a huge inspiration to me, and any variant (good, bad or otherwise) would have garnered a response out of me.

I'm gonna point this out right now: overall, I loved Evil Dead (2013)...just not nearly as much as any of the other Evil Deads. For every negative thing I have to say about the remake, there are three things I didn't say that were outstanding.


As far as I am concerned with movies, there are two types of remakes: one is where you faithfully recreate the original film with updated themes and technology...another is where you take the basic layout, and change the entire direction. Both are valid.

Night of the Living Dead is an example of the former. The Romero and Savini variants both have the same characters involved, same set up and plot points. It tapered off at the end and I could write an essay over how that worked and didn't work, but for the sake of time, I'll move on. The 1990 version made no subtleties over their movie. "We're taking the same people and the same plot and updating the hell out of it. We may change a few things (this is a remake, not a retelling) but essentially it's like the first.

Dawn of the Dead is an example of the latter. Romeros version had 4 people in a mall dealing with life in the zombie apocalypse. How they dealt with the dead, each other and other living people is what drove the plot. Snyders version had about a dozen or so people in a mall. Sure there were characters that seemed like they were recasts (Peter-Kenneth...Francine-Anna...Roger-CJ...Stephen-Michael) the movie made sure to point out they were NOT the same people...then tacked on a bunch of other people, changed locations and had radically different themes and endings.

Both ideas are valid. Now enter the Evil Dead remake. Which type of remake was it trying to be? Trick question, it tried to be both. It ended up being at odds with its own identity and fell over from over ambition. It went out of its way to be both a retread of the Sam Raimi classic, and stand on its own merits.

The problem is, it seemed to lock itself into a retelling from the get-go. If you didn't want to come off as a retelling, then why does it star five people incredibly similar to the five people in the original. From that starting point, it seems to be a retelling (with a little deviation here and there but it's all good) and the times it references aspects from the original are high points in the movie, but everything original to a certain point are solid on their own as well.

...then Scott decides to try burning the book. In the original, Ash won out in the end (kinda) by burning the book...it lasted all of two minutes before he was attacked, but all the crazy shit (minus the big bad) was stopped by burning the book...in the remake, Scott tries burning the book only to find the book doesn't burn and the crazy shit carries on undeterred. From there the movie puts its foot down and states that it is a different telling. It is not going to be like the original...and it does stick to that script for a while. The Linda character is attacked and ultimately dispatched in different fashion...but not before her hand (sorta) gets possessed and she cuts it off...so now we're referencing the high points of 2 Evil Dead movies? If her severed hand came to life and did shit on its own, I'm pretty sure I would've taken the DVD out and tossed it out my window though.

While referencing the original Evil Dead were high points in this movie, as we roll into the end, referencing the original was also accounting for the low points as well. I was honestly tired of this version running back to the well for nostalgia to help it stand on its own. It got to the point where it wanted to stand on its own merits, but it couldn't do that well without help from the original.


Don't get me wrong, similarities and differences aside, I was having a fucking blast up until Ash decided to bury his sister alive and unpossess her. It wasn't until it started raining blood that I was getting pissed. I would still recommend this movie because it's one of the best horror movies of the last few years, but the ending is jarringly and profoundly inane.

Kinda like how the best Mass Effect 3 ending is to turn off your game after Anderson dies...the best ending to this movie is to turn off the movie once Ash blows up the cabin.

July 21, 2013

First Thoughts After Seeing The Evil Dead Remake

[Posted by Ted H]

So...I finally got around to seeing The Evil Dead remake.

...spoilers galore...

When it was first announced that Sam Raimi was only producing and instead it would be directed by: not-Sam-Raimi, I didn't know what to think. On one hand, Raimi was involved, surely he wouldn't let a remake of his greatest series get out of hand, right? On the other hand, someone else would be calling the shots.

What we got was a mixed bag.

2013-Evil Dead clearly made a volley to stand alone from it's predecessor, which is not a bad thing. But it made way too many references to the original series that it came across more as a bastardization...or fan-fiction, which is worse.

Going to the cabin:
Original: Why the fuck not?
Remake: Mia needs to cold-turkey some drugs.

Releasing the demon:
Original: "Hey guys, let's play this tape we found in the basement next to this book."
Remake: Scotty (whatever his name is, besides Mia, I didn't bother to remember their names) fucking around with shit he's not suppose to.

Stopping the demons:
Original: Chop those fuckers up!
Remake: Chop em, burn em or...bury them? Dafaq?
Stopping ALL the demons:
Original: Burn the book.
Remake: ...404 file not found...

That scene in particular where Scotty is TRYING to burn the book and can't should have been the last call back to the original movies. "Look, he's trying right now the same thing Ash did in the original, but it isn't working. That means we have a clean slate now." Lol...nope.

This version could have done way better if it weren't constantly trying to reference shit from the original or even ED2. Cutting off a hand, singing "We're gonna get you" (in the trailer), the image of the "abomination", "I'll feast/swallow your soul" and "Feast on/swallow this.", "We just killed our girlfriend/your girlfriend just cut off her arm...does that sound fine?" and the chainsaw arm bit. And that's all shit off the top of my head. Maybe one or two would work (except anything from ED2 cuz that's such a radical departure form strait horror) but when you try to shoehorn as much as you can from the original source material into a remake, and still try to stand alone as your own movie, then everything starts to crumble.

And why do I take such offense to the chainsaw bit from this movie when I absolutely loved it when done in Evil Dead 2? Because ED2 wasn't trying to be a strait faced horror like the original. The scene where he reworks the chainsaw to fit his stump, cuts off the barrel of his shogun and says "Groovy" fits perfectly with the theme that movie maintained prior. Had Ash done all that in the climax of ED1, it would have been jarring and stupid. This movie was a strait faced horror all the way until Mia decided "I know, lemme shove my stump into the handle of this chainsaw then fire off a one liner."

That whole climax seemed forced. Like at the end of a video game where some random bloke shows up as the final boss. Who the fuck is this and why do I have to deal with it? And the concept of Mia even coming back to normal is rubbish. Possessed-Mia was the single biggest threat in the entire movie, but once that was no longer an option the people in charge were like "We want Mia to be the hero at the end, but we also want possessed-Mia to be the monster at the end." and then that little Mexican child walks into the office and says "Why not both?" Isn't the whole concept of possession that the possessor needs your body, otherwise it's not a problem? I guess we're hand-waving that. And while we're hand-waving shit, how about how Mia got unpinned from the overturned Jeep. It's not like there are and bones or muscles keeping your hand attached to your arm, just rip that shit right off like it's nothing. Also how there was no way in hell that Mia got enough gas into the chainsaw for it to start, let alone run for as long as it did at the ending.

...and my personal pet peeve: improbable nail guns. There was no compression hose, or any sign on a portable air compressor on that nail gun...so how could it work? Even if you hand-wave that, what about the safety feature of every nail gun that prevents you from just randomly firing nails like a gun? I mean you can easily bypass that by...oh wait, you need two hands for that, and possessed-Linda didn't have 2 hands...

Now don't get me wrong, 2013-Evil Dead was a great movie. I just cant get over the schizophrenic tone of it all. They wanted to be their own movie, but kept constantly elbowing you over "Hey, remember this from the original?" And then it all fell apart at the end with their surprise monster.
...and wasn't it mentioned earlier that the only way the Abomination would be able to cross over is if 5 souls were claimed...so did "saving" Mia's soul not count?...and when Ash died from the explosion and not from a demon possession. Seriously? More hand-waving?

...and now for a quick round of Challenge Pissing...
A better ending would be:
After "saving" Mia, Ash heads back inside to get his keys when possessed-Scotty shows up and attacks. Oh shit! Ash limps for the door to find Mia and OH SHIT! She's possessed again because the concept of saving her was fucking stupid. Ash is trapped and pretty much getting raped by two demons. He then realizes he still has his lighter and there's gasoline all over the place still. He then lures both possessed to the cellar and lights shit up. Everybody dies and everybody loses, just like in the original...or he shotguns the gas can and blows the house with everyone still inside. Either way is better than what we got.

Or better yet: fire wont kill the book? How about a shotgun blast?

July 7, 2013

Million Dollar Zombie 4-3

[Posted by Ted H]

I've found I do my best writing when I should be working...thus, this update is brought to you by: Me, working on the clock and when I should be doing other things that are much more important.

Realized after the fact that this part is mostly dialogue...which is what you get when it's mostly 2 non-black people failing to hotwire cars...

[Million Dollar Zombie 4-3]

            Five minutes alone with a metal coat hanger, and Ted was able to pop the lock on most car doors. From there, Marko would attempt a hotwire while Ted sat lookout. The street was relatively empty, and Ted wondered where are the dead people went. "I got nothin," Marko said as he climbed out, failing to start the engine of another car. They had been making their way down the street towards the college trying every car they came across.
            "I thought you said you were good at this?" Ted asked.
            "I am," Marko protested.
            "Is this why you didn't tell Jay you could hotwire? Cuz you suck at it?"
            "My Uncle Lou taught me how. He also taught me how to break in faster than you can with your abortion tool...just not as quiet."
            So...how come we don't have a ride out yet?"
            "I dunno, but something's up with these cars. Might be related to why there's no power in the area either. Maybe that's why no one ran. They couldn't."
            "Well that doesn't help us now. Wanna head back?"

            "No," Marko said bitterly "You really think help would come?"
            "Maybe the army is planning some sort of sweep. Ya know? Comb through, save anyone alive and strait up kill everything else?"
            "You're a moron."
            "What's the worst case scenario? Since you're being so pessimistic about our chances, I'm sure you've thought of it already."
            "The army? They'll nuke the town."
            "The army isn't going to drop a nuke on us."
            "Not a nuke, but something."
            "That can't happen. Yeah, we're in the sticks, but Cazenovia is on maps. People WILL notice when this place gets eradicated."
            "Just wait until they find an excuse."
            "Whatever. We're not in immediate danger."
            "The idea of getting blown off the map sounds pretty immediate to me."
            "Then we're not in any immediate-immediate danger."
            "We're fucking dead either way."
            "Dude, the apartment is secure. Nothing is going to come after us as long as we're careful."          

            "And how much food do we have? You literally cleaned house when you moved out and your neighbor only had food in his fridge, which in fucking toxic now. He has, what, three bags of chips and a bunch of beer. Jay is fucking dead, if not from the bite, then from the fact that we have no way of treating his open wounds."
            Ted stayed silent for a moment before scanning the street. There was the occasional moan in the distance, but nothing that could be seen. "There's a health center or some shit nearby," he said "There's probably some gauze and stuff we can use for Jay. Worst comes to worst, they've at least got to have an aspirin." Marko shook his head. "I'd rather leave."
            "Yeah, well, we can't," Ted said.
            "Bull shit."
            "You wanna hump it on out of here, be my guest. We ain't gettin far with Jay hurt the way he is though. We at least need to deal with his leg."
            "There needs to be some car somewhere that works."
            "Are you even listening?"
            "I'm NOT saying here," Marko said, raising his voice as he balled his hands into fists.
            "Jerry and Jack will come back. We just need to sit tight. We can't drive out and walking out would be suicidal."

            "We can outrun those things. If we're smart-"
            "Jay can't walk."
            "We'll come back for him."
            Ted stood in silence at Marko. "We can't just leave him alone."
            "I thought you said the apartment was secure."
            "I don't wanna talk about this here," Ted said as he and Marko walked into the courtyard of a nearby church.
            "Hear something?" Marko asked as the two began hearing moans of the dead.
            "Not behind us..."Ted said as he snuck forward and crouched. A snow pile blocked their view of the parking lot, but they knew that the dead had suddenly gathered recently.
            The two snuck over to see that a mass of zombies had gathered right outside the nearby drug store. The front doors were ajar and zombies were pushing their way inside. "There a sale?" Marko asked as Ted eyed around towards the back to see someone crash out the rear exit. "Look," Ted said as he pointed him out. "It's one of those idiots from last night," Marko said as the man began climbing up the snowy and icy hill; the only other way out besides going passed the horde by the entrance. "Think he found supplies?" Marko asked. "Let's find out," Ted said as they ran.
            The hill behind the drug store let up right into another parking lot; this one for the health center. Ted and Marko didn't need to battle any hills, so they were able to cut across much faster and were able to intercept. "We're robbing him, right?" Marko asked as he held up his gun. "We don't really have the ammo to waste, do we?" Ted said as the man ran out into the health center lot and stopped at the sight of the two.
            "So you are both still alive." he said.
            "Ryan, was it?" Ted asked as Ryan nodded.
            "Never really remembered your names though," Ryan said.
            "Ted and Marko," Ted said as he pointed to each accordingly. "Jay's still alive, too." Ryan made a face. "Where is he then?" he asked.
            "Apartment," Ted said.
            "Anything good inside?" Marko asked.
            "No," Ryan said "Place was pretty much tapped. We can't stay here though. They'll catch up eventually."
            "We're just gonna hit up the health center real quick, if there's anything still inside." Ted said.
            "Not sure, but you don't have any time, unless you want those things following you right away," Ryan responded.
            "What if we have a distraction?" Marko asked.
            "I'm not doing that," Ryan said.
            "I'll do it," Ted said "Marko, just make sure you get enough shit. I'm trusting you on this. Ryan, you do whatever the fuck you want."
            "You sure about this?" Marko asked.
            "I know this town," Ted said "I'll be fine. Just keep the back door unlocked for me."
            Marko nodded and Ted took off for the street to head off the incoming hoard. "What about you?" Marko asked Ryan. "Supplies sounds good," he said "We can probably search faster together." Marko shrugged. "Whatever," he said as they headed for the entrance to the center. "Let's split up, gang," Marko said sarcastically "I'm sure that won't end badly."