Evil Dead (2013)

Less a remake and more a re-imagined update, this Evil Dead has a refreshingly serious tone that was lacking in last year’s anticipated Cabin in the Woods. It’s even more serious than the initial Dead film. The latest is dark and dismal. In fact, the character who is most sensitive to the evil lurking in the woods is dealing with hardcore drug withdrawal. Things just got real. Add to that genuine scares, gobs of gore and mutilation and we got a genuine horror movie with a little heart and soul, minus a few small cliches. [rating: $8] –Kenyon

The Cabin in the Woods (2012) Following months of buzz and high expectations, Cabin mostly succeeds in adding fresh life to horror. Not that it’s entirely horror. While making references to classic backwoods horror films (Evil Dead, et al), Cabin is a horror-thriller COMEDY that embraces witty satire. An evil unicorn sticking its horn where it doesn’t belong? That’s rich. Shoot, maybe it’s supposed to be straightforward comedy.

It turns out the big surprise twist is that among the young adults visiting a remote cabin there is a purposely token stoner who proves he’s the most logical, insightful and smart. Plus, he always has weed on him in the form of a joint or in a bong converted from a travel coffee mug.

Cabin in the Woods shows ambition, for sure. And there’s plenty going on to cause suspense, including a slightly overblown apocalyptic scenario. The effects look great, there are surprises and original ideas that build on old ones.

Still, too many questions remain. Why don’t the people underground who manipulate the cabin take this heavy situation more seriously? Why was “Merman” underused? Where can you get one of those coffee mug bongs? Perhaps answers to this fun pro-marijuana film will be answered in a prequel. [rating: $7] –Kenyon

Intruder (1989)

intruder

One of many works created by a combination of Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Scott Spiegel, Intruder has been called the “last great slasher of the 1980s”. This is quite the overstatement, as the movie doesn’t possess any unique qualities and settles as a typical slasher with the usual “twist.” Beware, the twist is spoiled in the trailer! What’s worse is that Campbell is billed as a lead actor, but actually only appears for a couple minutes at the end. Sam and Ted Raimi, at least, play two of the several characters semi-inventively knocked off by an unknown assailant in a supermarket. This string of events occurs late at night after the employees are told that the store is permanently closing. From the start, you know they are all doomed when they split up and go searching for friends. All of Intruder is shot in and outside of a supermarket, although it’s much better than the Gingerdead Man, which shot entirely in a bakery. Sam Raimi uses camera angles which you may recognize from Evil Dead. Though of course, Intruder is no Evil Dead. [rating: $5] –Kenyon