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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Barking At The Vacuum Cleaner - Evil Dead (2013), Age Appropriate Horror, and Orphan Black

Evil Dead (2013) poster
Evil Dead (2013)
     I desperately wanted to dislike director Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead (2013) just so I could title a post "Evil Dead Is An Evil Dud".  Alas, my first viewing of it a few days ago won't allow for that.  Since producers Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell have both expressed interest in having Campbell's Ash from the original trilogy be involved in future iterations of Alvarez's vision, I'm not really sure if the new Evil Dead should be considered a traditional remake.  For the purposes of this discussion, though, I'm going to say it is a remake, and it's one of a very small handful of remakes that isn't an abject failure.

     I actually appreciated the less overtly comedic tone, the practical make-up FX, and the different - but not too different - take on the original movie's narrative.  If I had one minor quibble, it's only that I would've like to have seen a few more truly suspenseful and horrific moments scattered throughout the movie's run time.  Alvarez delivered the gorey goods, but actual scares were few and far between.  Still, Evil Dead was a pleasant surprise.  Recommended.

     On a related note, fans should check out Raimi's remake of his own Army Of Darkness (1992).  It's called Oz The Great And Powerful (2013).  Seriously, Sam, the cribbing from your own work was pretty blatant.  It's one of the better implementations of 3D that I've seen, though, so you get a pass.  If you really want to remake or sequelize Army Of Darkness, just do it.

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     I've posted recently about both my earliest exposure to genre movies as well as my uncertainty about what is and is not appropriate viewing for youngsters, and the topic came up again recently when I was asked to recommend some good scary movies for a couple of nascent horror fans, ages 10 and 14.  The only stipulations were that the recommendations not be exceedingly gorey and that they steer clear of any overt sexual content. Thinking children of this age probably wouldn't take well to the slower pace of older horror movies, I recommended Attack The Block (2011).  I've not recommended anything else thus far because I don't trust my own "appropriate for children" filter, and even here, it occurred to me after the fact that although there's no sex and not that much gore, there is a good bit of recreational drug use.  Hear me out, though.

Attack The Block (2011)
The at risk youths of Attack The Block (2011)
     One of the things I most enjoyed about Attack The Block was the fact that the teenage hoodlums at the center of the movie's action - particularly gang leader Moses - actually had honest to God character arcs.  These kids start the movie mugging someone, and by the end of the movie they're acting in commendably heroic fashion.  They look out for one another, they become more altruistic in their actions, and I actually cared about them before the shit stopped hitting the fan.  That kind of depth in characterization is a rare commodity these days.  In addition to being a highly entertaining monster movie, Attack The Block shows some seriously at risk youths rising above their circumstance.  I'll even cop to misting up a bit at the movie's conclusion, which I'll refrain from spoiling here.  So how about it?  Is this a good movie to recommend to a youngster developing an interest in genre movies, or did I screw the cinematic pooch?  Does anyone else have some likely candidates - new or old - that they'd make a case for?

     One final note concerning Attack The Block:  see it if you haven't already.  I've been surprised by how many radars it's flown under.  In addition to well delineated characters, it boasts one of my favorite creature designs of the last decade or so.  I purposely refrained from showing a pic, but suffice to say, it's a highly effective design that's absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.

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Tatiana Maslany as the lead(s) in the BBC series Orphan Black
     Finally, I've been completely sucked in by the first season of the BBC series Orphan Black.  It's a Canadian science fiction television series that aired on BBC America starring Tatiana Maslany - who played Ghost in Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004) - who discovers she's one of several clones, all of whom seem to be marked for death.  Maslany plays all of the clones herself, and she does a fine job of convincingly pulling off all of the different characters.  She's often playing scenes with two or three versions of herself at a time, and she does so well enough that you won't feel as though you're watching The Patty Duke Show.  Pour yourself an Ovaltine if you got that reference. . .




Posted by Brandon Early

10 comments:

Carl B said...

After finishing this, I will go add Evil Dead Remake to my Netflix queue.
I saw Attack the Block a while ago after it was over hyped on Ain't it Cool News. That's when I learn the site does that to every movie in order to gain favor. Wiser now, I can assess that ATB did have some enjoyable moments and powerful ending, yet it fell into the old A-Team/Predator formula of rigging stuff to fight the invader. Using the gang members worked ferociously well.
I'm copying you by starting my Pre-Ween festivities. We will have to share itineraries.

And great title ("Barking at the vacuum cleaner") I hope that's a recurring theme here at the Farm.

Brandon Early said...

Carl, I shamefacedly admit - even after reading your recent post - that I've yet to get anything together for Pre'Ween or Halloween this year. I'm thrilled to hear the notion of Pre'Ween has found its way to Florida, though.

Please remind me: I need to get a mailing address from you at some point. I've got a seven hour plus music/movie dialog/radio ad compilation that runs somewhere north of seven hours that I concocted for Halloween usage. I'd like to send you a copy.

That was Barking At The Vacuum Cleaner #3, and it most likely will be a recurring theme. It's what happens when I have enough half-formed thoughts and haven't written a proper post. lol

Bob Smash said...

If you want family-friendly horror I'd say go with Ghostbusters (yes, it's horror, don't look at me like that), The Gate, The Hole (as bad as it was), Gremlins, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (both versions), Arachnophobia, The Bad Seed, The Birds, Critters, The Lady in White, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Others, Poltergeist, Tremors, The Watcher in the Woods, The Monster Squad, and even Fright Night. The worst you'll have to deal with is a bit of salty language and since they're older kids it's likely that they've heard it all already.

Brandon Early said...

Those are some great suggestions, Bob. I'll pass them along. My buddy David just recommended Trollhunter, which is genius. I don't know why that one didn't occur to me. He also mentioned Pumpkinhead, another good choice.

TheVern said...

I wouldn't really think of "Attack The Block" as a horror film, ,but will agree that it is a really enjoyable one that everyone should see. Bob has a good list of movies. I would also recommend The Others as another age appropriate horror film

Brandon Early said...

The Others is a good call, too. Thanks for the input.

Fake Shemp said...

I wholeheartedly agree that Oz is AoD, still I enjoyed it and it had the old school feel of early Raimi, and James Franco is adorable, which helps.

Brandon Early said...

Yeah, James Franco is adorable - but James Franco thinks he's adorable, too. He leans a little too much on that "Ain't I adorable" shit-eating grin. lol I thought he would be the weakest link in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, though, and he was actually quite good. I'm just jealous . . . ;)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

thank you for the help on the hba, i [sadly never enjoyed evil dead (org)] and it was only into the second film that i learned to appreciate the madness of the first. as for the remake/do... it will be seen, but you did give it a nice write up and my wife and mother had seen "oz" they had mixed feelings on it, but once again if it has "aod" overtones... i am in!

Fake Shemp said...

Hehe Franco is so adorable that knowing he's adorable makes him even more so. Found him perfect for the Ash-esque role in Oz.