Monday, April 8, 2013

Evil Dead. (2013) Fede Alvarez


Gore to the core, with enough blood for Guinness Records, one would think this is a film that would instantly turn me off. 

I've often said that when it comes to horror, I'm not into gore (or camp) as much as mood and tension. That I love the mystery of the supernatural, the mystery of that "yuck" you get when you've awakened from a nightmare or passed through a graveyard -- or the terror you've felt maybe twice in your life, alone in the woods at night, or in a basement, a cellar, or whatever. (The haunted feelings brought out in a film like Amer instantly spring to mind.) That real-life nervous vibe in the dark brought to big screen life gets my juices flowing, and to me, straight up gore limits itself in what it could have accomplished -- had it settled down even just a little.

But when it comes to this subject, I'm a hypocrite, being a fan of the French New Wave of Horror (part of the New French Extremity). Films like High Tension and Trouble Every Day and Ma Mere and Irreversible have left me salivating at their extremist nature, wracked at how they were even made. Even Martyrs and Inside, two of the most brutal films ever, I found cringingly memorable, like a night from hell I just couldn't escape fromI guess it's the blood curdling experiences I do remember most. And these are the films where gore brought it. (And of course who could forget the Japanese sneak attack, Audition).

Evil Dead fits right in with all those listed.

And as it should, right? For crying out loud, it's the remake of Evil Dead.

Here's the thing that I'm noticing though. Evil Dead is also very much like recent American films Insidious and Sinister, in that they are all willing to take themselves very seriously. They're interested in sheer terror, without draining its life via unnecessary teenage horror devices, or using juvenile camp (the stupid humor that I hate which has ruined many a horror scenario). When noticing these three together one might notice a kind of trend: the mood is unflinchingly dark, nary a boob or a dumb remark shows, and false scares are something from which they'll typically steer clear. These films are scary, they are fresh, and their subject matter is presented without tongue in cheek, or a wink and a nod -- regardless of how off the charts "unreal" or "fictional" the content therein might be.

There is little doubt that Evil Dead will be the most revolting film some will ever see, and that is all they will remember it for.

I found the way it was shot, edited, acted, and yes, even the score, to be off the charts "cinematic" and just plain "cool". Maybe it's just the teenage blood lusting kid in me peeking out. I don't know. It was like the scariest roller coaster ride you can get on -- the film not being scary, as much as it being a nerve-wracking jolt to the system. An "I can't believe they went there" kind of spectacle.

I have no doubt I will see this one again. I have no doubt that, at the very least, it fits in with the films I've already mentioned here, and I have hope for films like it (and Insidious and Sinister... ooh, and The House of the Devil), to pave the way for a New American Horror.

I've longed for that for some time, and if films like these continue, horror might once again end up as my favorite genre for the first time since I was a teen.

Eeh, who am I kidding. It's been my favorite all along. 

I just long to see it done this well.

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