Last year, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ took to pieces the whole idea of the ‘video nasty’, exposing its glistening innards. Now this reboot of Sam Raimi’s landmark 1981 horror exhumes its disembowelled corpse. Yet despite much old-school splatter, it’s seldom frightening and oddly unfunny. The only hint of the original’s cartoonish sado-slapstick lies in sly glimpses of the implements (nail-gun, chainsaw) that will later pierce, puncture and tear flesh and bone.
Of the friends who meet up in a forest cabin, first to be possessed is heroin-addicted Mia (Jane Levy), who transforms into a demon. Caught up in a maelstrom of gruesome horror, her brother (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend and two of Mia’s friends turn on each other as they battle to stay alive. Director Fede Alvarez avoids CGI and gleefully stages scenes of gore. The most grim moments are those of self-mutilation: a tongue sliced in two and an arm severed with an electric carving knife.