Swedish horror inspired by Evil Dead.

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Wither or Vittra (original title) is a Swedish horror film reminiscent of the Evil Dead series. It is more akin to the Evil Dead remake than the darkly comedic original Sam Raimi masterpiece. What is a bummer is that I lost my notes for this film, and hadn’t bothered to write a review for about a week after seeing it. While this makes the review a bit more difficult, it also serves as a perfect analogy for how forgettable this film is.

Young couple Ida and Albin are going to stay at an old cabin that Albin’s father found. The cabin has been abandoned for years, and for some reason this sounds like a perfect weekend getaway. In reality, I do know some folks who love the whole cabin-in-the-woods retreat, and there is usually some heavy-duty cleaning the first day there. Yet, a five-year absence would indicate a severely decrepit structure. I might be harping here, but the whole reasoning behind visiting some cabin that the family doesn’t even own pushed my suspension of disbelief before the film truly began.

Ida and Albin bring several of their friends alone. Most of them are fairly forgettable, and most of them aren’t very likable. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. All the characters fit more or less into the horny teenager mentality—despite the fact that they all looked significantly older. The film takes a long time to get to the horror, and I think that this was done to let us get to know the characters a bit more. While this is perhaps a smart move, in this movie it just lets us see how shitty these people are.

Anyway, I know we don’t watch these movies for the characters, right? Besides, we all know the cast is going to thin out pretty quick once the horror-show begins. An ancient evil rests in the cabin’s cellar (it is a little more complex than that) and it infects one of our youths. Once one person is infected the curse can spread quite easily—bites, scratches, fluids, etc. etc. The story follows the same beats as Evil Dead, if you have seen that movie you have seen this one.

The gore is quite spectacular, and that is probably the biggest appeal of the film. Gorehounds will love the effects, and some of them are brutal. The creature designs are also great. The makeup and splatter departments did a fantastic job. The problem is the stiff and stupid way that the characters act. They all just stare at the monsters, the monsters stare and them, then they attack, and stare some more. Any suspense or horror is sucked out of the scenes with this odd stiffness.

At the end of the day, you have seen this movie before. If you love the subgenre, then this is worth a watch. I think in some ways it is better than the Evil Dead remake, but it still has numerous problems of its own. Honestly, I had to lean on IMDB and wikis more for this review than any other film I have reviewed—it simply isn’t very memorable. 4.5/10

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