Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
My Two Cents:
Let me start with my biggest issue of the movie, how they introduced the demon in the movie. I’m not talking of the opening that gave us a bit of a tease on how vulgar and horror inducing the demon would be, but more how the main and supporting characters “unleashed” it. In the previous films there was always a recording that had the incantation on it and the characters would click it and that is how it was released. This time they decided to do something a bit different. And while it was cringe-worthy both in gore and stupidity, it made no sense to me. It lacked logic and that took me out of the story, if you can call it a story. Again, I apologize for any spoilers ahead but I will try to keep away from any main ones.
The crew finds a voodoo ritual site in the basement of the cabin, complete with bloody cats hung from the ceiling and the demonic inducing book covered in a trash bag and wrapped in barbed wire. Any logical person with a shred of self preservation would treat the book with caution, but of course, they had to use the idiocy of one of the supporting characters to push this movie alone. One of the characters, unwraps the book and starts studying it before he comes to the stellar conclusion that the only way to read is to read the words out loud to understand them. Can you feel the sarcasm? First, reading out loud is rude and secondly, what person over the age of 5 would feel the need to sound out words from a book, especially one that was found in a really creepy way?
At that point I no longer cared about this particular character. In fact, I was rooting for the demon in this particular instance and that is a problem for me. The moment I stop becoming invested in the continual survival of the characters, is the moment I feel it hits a bad turn. Now I have rooted for “bad” guys before without a qualm - Dexter being a prime example of this. But in this instance I don’t think that was the director or screenwriter’s original intention so that was a miss for me. Allow me to set the stage for a beginning that makes a bit more sense and removes this particular instance of character stupidity that would avoid avid audiences from cursing the screen and throwing their popcorn at it in disgust.
If the characters found a recording along with the book in the same state (wrapped in trash bags and barbed wire) and decided to play the recording hoping to glean some information about the gruesome scene before them and hearing the incantation spoken. Now this awakens the demon to an extent but doesn’t cause it to go full on bloody murder yet. They look at each other in confusion as they puzzle over their findings with a small sense of unease which could translate to the audience. They shake their heads and head back up stairs, the “studious and curious male” grabs the book, intending to check to see what it was all about because he just can’t help himself and the others go about their original business. We still get some build up with the characters and the original idiot gets to study the book a bit, without reading anything out loud of course. He treats it with a good balance of caution and curiosity. And this leads back to the main female character getting fed up with everything and rushing out, leaving us off where the movie took us. This, to me, makes a good deal more sense and leaves out a large amount of my frustration with the movie in general.
Now other than that glaring issue, the movie was good. I cringed and looked away in horror and disgust (guess I'm not quite as desensitized as I had thought thank God). The gore was a big out there but not so over the top as to go into the realm of cartoon-land and become a parody of a real horror movie. I wouldn’t say it scared me so much as made me squeamish without making me actually want to throw up, which I count as a plus. It didn’t stay with me days later or make me think back on it with a sense of unease as Jeepers Creepers did. I swear I couldn’t stand hearing that Jeepers Creepers song days after watching that movie without getting chills. But it was good enough that I ended up watching it a few more times since then. The acting wasn’t anything to write home about although it wasn’t horrible, just average in my opinion. The build up in the beginning and setting of the character backstory to try to get us invested in them wasn't that well done, in my opinion, and fell flat. The supporting characters felt more like fodder although I did kind of like the story between the two main characters. It didn't really give us enough of a chance to get as connected to them as I would've liked. I will say the ending was probably my favorite part of the movie with the interaction between the male and female main characters and the demon. There were a few jump scares, even one that made me actually jump as I really hadn’t been expecting it in the way that it was given. Despite my previous rant, I do not deny that this is a good movie and I still enjoyed parts of it so I do recommend that people add this to their list if they are looking for a good horror movie marathon night and give it a 3 stars out of 5.