All of that said, as the movie started, I told myself to just sit back and enjoy and try not to compare it to the original. I managed this for most of the movie, but may break that rule a bit here. The movie starts off fast, with a sequence explaining, to some degree, the evil in the woods. We're then introduced to our group of cabin-goers, mercifully with different names than in the original (I'm not sure my brain would have been able to process somebody else being called Ash). This time, the group has gathered at the cabin to help Mia (newcomer Jane Levy) kick a drug addiction. She's the first to start noticing strange things happening, but for a good bit of the movie, her friends dismiss it as her going crazy as a result of drug withdrawal--I thought that was a good touch. The movie is similar to the original in that The Book of the Dead is the source of all hell breaking loose, and wow, does it ever!
The filmmakers here knew when to make the scene realistic, and when to make it absolutely absurd, much like in the original. Another thing I really loved about this movie is the lack of CGI. Practically all the special effects were done the old fashioned way instead of relying on the crutch of computer assistance--nice touch. Even the acting was somewhat decent in this film.
Of course, with all things positive, there are negatives here and there. I didn't like the way they demonized Mia. They gave her the stereotypical "evil" contacts (look more like dinosaur eyes than anything) and the equally stereotypical, gravelling deep voice. FAR creepier was how the original film did what was essentially Mia's counterpart, Linda, with the white contacts, the evil doll makeup, and the creepy, childish voice and giggles. Still, it wasn't something that couldn't be overlooked.
The movie rolled along, and for the first 70 or 75 minutes, I was pretty much loving every second of it--then came the final ten or fifteen minutes. Pretty much from the time the lightning strikes (that's all I will say, as I don't want to give spoilers) until the end, the film takes a sharp left turn and falls apart completely. Plot holes starts popping up like dandelions in the summer. The excessive use of blood in the final scene is cool, but other than that, I sat there wondering "Why...why...why".
I was prepared to walk out of thee theatre and proclaim this the best horror film I had seen in years, and until that fateful scene near the end, it probably was. However, the end is so bad it fell two points on my scale. Shame.
On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8
Special note: Stay seated through the credits. There's something groovy afterwards.