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August 13, 2013


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Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wicklund - 2012
Artsploitation Films Region 1 DVD

Is it acceptable to punch a woman in the face? Does it matter how hard? I guess the rules of etiquette and general good manners are immediately dropped when the woman in question is a ravenous zombie. And maybe the guys who made Wither aren't necessarily misogynists, but it seems to me that the women in this film get the worst of it - decapitation, a large screw through the head, brains bashed in with a rock, or the indignity of getting slammed in the kisser with a shovel and getting buried alive.

Maybe I'm just disappointed that a movie that features four reasonable attractive young Swedish babes is totally lacking in nudity, gratuitous or otherwise. There is blood and guts. Lots of blood and guts. Actually, I was kind of glad when the girl with the lip ring had her upper lip bitten off. Not that it improved her looks, but I Just don't find lip rings all that attractive. I found that lip ring to be almost as annoying as that New York Yankees baseball hat worn by one of the guys, neither forward nor backwards, but at a tilt to the side. These are kids who are nowhere near as hip as they think they are. Turning into flesh eating zombies who kill each other was the best thing that could happen to these young men and women, although I did feel some affection for the tall blonde.

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I'm not a fan of these "cabin in the woods" movies, and that includes Cabin in the Woods, although I can appreciate the Lovecraftian spin attempted there. For myself, there's Evil Dead II, and then there's everything else. I just can't suspend disbelief in a genre that is predicated on people being stupid. That includes having a weekend party at an abandoned house in a remote woods, or going into the basement alone in said house. The main couple of this film, when faced with the choice of running for their lives on a dark, rainy night, through the woods, or staying dry inside the house with their friend who is planning to make at least one of them his midnight snack, choose to stay indoors.

Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wicklund have gone on record to proclaim their love for Sam Raimi's first Evil Dead. There's a visual tribute to Raimi in the form of shots of gun blasts through the head or other body parts, the camera peering through those gaping holes. Laguna and Wicklund should be credited for not making the story unnecessarily elaborate or self-referential. Wither is the kind of film best appreciated by genre fans, and I have no problem with that. I'm just a guy who likes having different kinds of films thrown my way, keep tabs on different kinds of films and filmmakers. One of the seemingly ingrained cliches of the genre is reversed - the characters are in cell phone range. Having a working cell phone doesn't seem to improve anyone's chances for survival as the undead are a persistent lot, and it's hard to resist being a zombie's happy meal when those voracious creatures used to be your best friends.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 13, 2013 06:21 AM