Universal Studios

Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt

Four Stars

I guess it’s pretty widely known that Universal Studios holds the rights to many of the classic horror movies.   They’ve been sitting back in the vault for years, to be pulled out once a year for a special  “Midnight Halloween Horror Fest” at the neighborhood discount cinema or to fill up AMC’s schedule for October.  They provide interesting side notes on the tram tour at Universal Studios.   “This is the courtyard where Boris Karloff carried the little girl into the town…….”    But what if Universal tried to redo some of these?  Universal could dust them off, update them with today’s technology and what would they have?

Well, lovers of classic cinema will scream foul, and lovers of Jigsaw in Saw or Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre will say its old fashioned and corny, but guess what?  I enjoyed it.

The old movies are hard to sit through.  Parts are really slow and boring, and the sound is scratch and rough.  But they had a certain flair for scaring your socks off without showing you much.  Everything was in your head which was much scarier than the blood and gore of today.
This remake is in between.   It has all the mood and creepiness of the original, but with modern technology and beautiful eerie scenery, it really cuts it.  It’s got plenty of gore and violence, but there are moments when things happen so fast, you can’t see it, but you know something awful happened by the parts left behind.   There are some really scary parts.

Anthony Hopkins is a real master of creepy roles, and as a really bad guy, he’s spot on.  Emily Blunt doesn’t have a large part, but she’s very important to the storyline, and provides some real beauty in a world of dark, damp, misty, despair.

Benicio Del Toro is a fine actor, but not so well known and over exposed that it takes away from the believability.  All in all, it was a fine homage to the original, and a great rental.  I’m a fan of Horror films, and I was glad to see this one redone with a great deal of respect to the original work (both book and movie).

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