When The Evil Dead came out in 1981 not only did Sam Raimi’s masterpiece become one of the biggest horror movies of all time but it revolutionised the perfect combination between horror and comedy. This year, The Evil Dead remake came bounding to our screens this year and, well, predictably it didn’t hit the mark. While it made waves with the brutality and the special effects, it did what every remake horror movie did and stripped away the humour, making it cold and stark. Enter Sweden with their homage to The Evil Dead, managing to keep everything exactly how a remake should be with Wither.
Wither is about couple Albin and Ida whose parents offer them an abandoned house in the woods for a weekend retreat (naturally.) Jumping at the idea to spend time in a derelict building away from civilisation with friends, having sex and drugs, Albin and Ida band together a group of stereotypes. When a practical joke goes wrong and one their friends stupidly goes into the basement, she releases a demonic presence. As the spirit makes its way through the group, turning the friends into crazy dead demons or bloody mush, it is up to Albin and Ida to survive and send the demon back to hell.
The beginning of Wither is long. Long because the sense of being here all before is incredible. There is awkward plot preposition over a tedious dinner, there is a dialogue so stale and unfitting and predictable that it feels a bit uncomfortable. The shots are so dramatic and unneccesarily behind trees, leaves and whatever will look good with the composition. And when the horror kicks in, despite the extra blood and gore with updated special effects, Wither seems to take itself far too seriously for this to all fit in. Filled with over the top stereotypes and a yarn so over spun, it just didn’t sit right . By the time the old man came in with the terrifying back story and the yawn inducing folklore story, it all seemed to jut out like a torn off upper lip.
And then it clicks. It hits you what Wither is trying to do. It is emulating The Evil Dead spot on. The bad parts, they are meant to be in their; it is an intensely good satire. Because less than half an hour in, the whole affair becomes ridiculous, joke filled and slapstick as well as genuine moments to make you jump. It is a perfect slice of humour and horror and is a celebration of everything that made the Raimi classic brilliant. Albin is even a Bruce Campbell adaptation, with the blue shirt, the floppy hair, the crazy eyes and the gaffer tape around his arm. This is everything you want from a one off movie and it sits happily on the spectrum of horror, giving lashes of disgusting body juices.
If you, like I nearly did, switch off and believe that you are above all this clap trap, then there is a great chance that you won’t enjoy this movie. However, if you like the trashy, the obvious and the gore than Wither is just the movie for you. It will make you chuckle, make you jump and it is about all highly enjoyable. So stop over thinking and watch this beauty of a homage, wither you are too cool or not..
Ok, my bad.