Artsploitation Films: Wither (2012) - Reviewed

Did you know that there's a Swedish-language remake of Sam Raimi's original classic The Evil Dead that predates Fede Alvarez's version? It's called Wither, and if that title and poster alone seem off-putting, I'm pleased to report that there are plenty of welcome differences and changes to keep it sufficiently entertaining.

Wither is much closer in tone and darkness to its following remake counterpart, but anyone who knows the first thing about horror movies will likely already have a good feel for exactly what they're in for. It begins from a different perspective, offering a better insight on the backstory and origins of the evil lurking under the floorboards.

The monster this time finds itself deeply rooted in Swedish folklore: Vittra (also the film's original Swedish title) is an ancient creature that is believed to have predated any kind of Christian beliefs in the Scandinavian region. It lives underground, living its life relatively peacefully if unmolested. Should it be disturbed or enraged, however, one may find life very difficult- even dangerous. This folklore isn't particularly fleshed out in Wither or explained, but it certainly makes sense when compared to the context of the film.

Wither is a relatively low-budget horror effort- which is to be expected, considering the source material it's adapting. To that end, it's a faithful remake- albeit not one directly sanctioned by Raimi himself. Perhaps it's not as memorable or effective as other horror remakes out there, but that doesn't stop it from being a bloody good time. Great thrills and chills can be had here, and it's a pleasantly surprising horror fare worthy of a peek under its rusty, oft ignored hood.

-Wes Ball