Tag: 2013

Evil Dead, 2013

The difference between the original Evil Dead and the remake is astonishing. Gone from the remake is the slapstick comedy and goofy special effects that were so essential to Sam Raimi‘s early work; in their place are the special effects of a big budget horror film and a seriously creepy plot.

David (Shiloh Fernandez), his drug addicted sister Mia (Jane Levy) and their friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) take a trip to an isolated cabin to help, as a group, get Mia free from her addiction and fully detoxed. During their time in the cabin they discover a trap door that leads to a very basic cellar, one filled with objects associated with witchcraft and a copy of what is later found to be the Book of the Dead.

Eric reads the Book of the Dead without understanding what it does and ends up summoning an evil force to the cabin. All attempts to flee are unsuccessful, leaving the friends trapped, left to confront the evil force which has taken control of Mia.

Director Fede Alvarez removes the campy features of the original Raimi version of Evil Dead and in its place adds a nicely acted horror movie filled with attention-grabbing special effects, while still leaving small homages to Raimi’s Evil Dead. The movie is creepy, well-crafted, and an effective, if not terribly original combination of the original version and Alvarez’s updated version. While it may not be the most original horror film (even of 2013) it’s watchable and will entertain viewers regardless of  its flaws.

Trance, 2013

Trance by Danny Boyle is a remarkable film with few flaws, it contains a mind-bending series of twists that leave the viewer guessing throughout, guesses that are only answered in the final scene.  James McAvoy stars as Simon, an auctioneer in London, that is robbed by a gang lead by Franck (Vincent Cassel), secretly aided from inside the auction house by Simon. It later emerges that for reasons unknown to him Simon has removed the stolen painting and forgotten where it is hidden.

Franck’s gang decides to try hypnotherapy to aid Simon’s memory using a therapist named Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) and from there the movie quickly picks up momentum. Boyle’s usual visual appeal is present, especially during the sequences taking place only in peoples’ minds. The effects are so effective they are nearly unnoticeable by the viewer, which is always a good sign.

Throughout her sessions with Simon, Elizabeth probes his mind and a series of memories best described as Inception-esque is uncovered with many levels that are, at first confusing, but simultaneously thrilling and enticing. The frequent sessions and resulting exploration of the memories cover many levels, leaving viewers guessing about the root the memories and thus, the truth of the matter about the painting and Simon himself.

McAvoy, Dawson, and Cassel are phenomenal in their roles and the supporting actors leave nothing to be desired. The movie only suffers when compared with Inception and from some subtle pacing problems in the middle – aside from that, it is a delightful, action-filled romp through the memories and minds of the characters, leading to a fantastic conclusion, – one which perfectly resolves the film by the time the credits roll. Trance can be recommended in the strongest possible terms for virtually any audience.