By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist July 10, 2013 at 1:40PM
When the “Evil Dead” remake was first announced, everyone assumed the worst. Horror fans had already suffered through atrocious reboots of “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” “Friday The 13th” and “Halloween” and now they were coming for Sam Raimi’s indie-splatter classic? No fucking way. But then we found out this new version would be produced by the original trio (Raimi, Tapert and Campbell) who had handpicked the director (Fede Alvarez, responsible for an inventive little short “Panic Attack”), who promised all practical fx and cut a trailer which looked really goddamned good. So believe me that I was really hoping for the best. Despite my lifelong affinity for the original trilogy of films, I thought maybe this new version could join “Dawn Of The Dead” (2004) and “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006) as a slick but effective update that could still stand on its own. Regrettably that was not the case. Despite the sign-off from the originators of the franchise, “Evil Dead” (2013) belongs in the pile of crap with most of Platinum Dunes’ output. Not only does the new version fail to capture the spirit of the original, it fails as a horror film, period (the fact that it wears the name “Evil Dead” only makes this failure more offensive). The film wants to punish the audience though it fails to understand even the basics of how a horror film works— tension and release, anticipation and delivery— instead Alvarez throws countless gallons of blood at the screen mistaking carnage for creativity. Limbs are hacked off and arteries gush like sprinklers, but never with any consequence and never to anyone we care (or know anything) about. If you’re going to make your characters this bland, you had better be in on the joke: make sure your film is scary or funny or original or something other than just violent. The 1981 original utilized many of the tricks and trademarks that can still be found in Raimi’s much larger-budgeted films today. In the new version, Alvarez pays lip service to these iconic elements, but fails to add anything memorable of his own. Rarely has a film this gory been this boring. - Cory Everett
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"
2013 has largely been defined by its number of high concept studio comedies that are absolutely awful— things like "The Internship" and "Identity Thief" (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the bafflingly accepted "The Heat"). But the absolute worst in the bunch was "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," a I'd-rather-be-having-elective-oral-surgery bore that somehow also had the distinction of opening the South by Southwest Film Festival this year. How the fuck did that happen? Ostensibly the tale of embittered, hacky Las Vegas magicians (played by Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey), the movie is so floundering and unfunny that you wonder how the premise could be stretched to fill a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, let alone a movie that stretches to a mind-bending running time of 100 minutes. Everything about the movie feels antiquated to the point of being covered in thick layers of chalky dust. Why would anyone build a comedy around making fun of magicians in the year 2013? Are they really a relevant target these days? And this says nothing of the performances, so knowingly arch that they practically come with their own set of quotation marks. What's even more depressing is that "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," like fellow nominee "Violet & Daisy," features one of the last performances by the late, great James Gandolfini. There's some comfort that I can take, at least, knowing that so few people will ever see this rhinestone-encrusted piece of garbage, a comedy so utterly humorless and grimly imagined that you have a hard time understanding how it got through the slings and arrows of the studio development process, let alone made it to theaters (and somehow opened one of the more prestigious U.S. film festivals). There might be nothing up the sleeve of "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," but there's nothing in its brain either. - Drew Taylor
Well? That’s all we got. Buyer beware of all these films and try to be civil to Erik if you can. Thoughts? "A Good Day To Die Hard" obviously being so bad, no one had the heart to bother to beat up on a special-needs child of a movie. Which one of us do you believe is insane? Who’s on point? What are your least favorite films of the year? Discuss below.