Synopsis: Wither is a bloody, scary tale of demonic possession. A group of naive young people come to find that their carefree weekend in an isolated country house goes off the hinges when one of them accidentally unleashes a mysterious and murderous creature trapped in the basement. As the demon begins to attack the couples, the blood-dredged body count mounts and with it, more creatures out for a taste of human flesh. The dazed young men and women soon mount their own desperate counter-attack.
Release Date: August 20, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller
There are two schools of thought about the new The Evil Dead reboot. Obviously, it’s split between those who like it and those who don’t, but it goes much deeper than that. Fans of the original film find the remake completely devoid of the humor, both intentional and unintentional, that ran so rampant through the 1981 classic, while those who support the 2013 version embrace the brutality and outright terror-inducing direction that was taken. Luckily, there is a middle ground between the two schools, but only if the viewer is willing to read English subtitles in a Swedish film.
Wither is the story of Albin (Patrik Almkvist) and Ida (Lisa Henni), a couple who are planning a little getaway to the woods with a group of their friends. Albin’s father tells them about an abandoned house that would be a perfect destination, completely remote and isolated from civilization. Albin and Ida love the idea, so they gather their friends and head for the cabin. When they arrive at the house, they find it locked up tight and are forced to break in. In an effort to scare the others, one of the girls named Marie (Jessica Blomkvist) slips in through a window. She looks for a place in to hide in the basement, but instead finds a mysterious force that possesses her. By the time the others pick the lock and gain entry, Marie is already inside, but is changed. Throughout the night, whatever has taken control of Marie works its way through the rest of the group, one by one. A hunter named Gunnar (Johannes Brost) shows up, seeming to know a lot about the demon from the cellar. Albin, Ida, and Gunnar brace themselves for battle with the dark forces, hoping to save themselves and as many of their friends as they can.
Conceived of and made in Sweden, Wither is the brainchild of three men: Sonny Laguna, David Liljeblad, and Tommy Wiklund. The film is directed by Laguna and Wiklund, produced by Liljeblad and Wiklund, and written by all three. Tommy Wiklund serves as director of photography, as well as handling the creature effects. The practical effects have been designed by Liljeblad and the digital effects were done by Laguna. The methodology and team ethic that is on display in Wither is very reminiscent of the exploits of Sam Raimi and company during the making of the original The Evil Dead. Everyone, including the actors, seems to have multiple tasks on set and the company takes its common goal to heart. There is an us-against-them mentality to Wither that goes beyond the screen.
Speaking of The Evil Dead, Wither is completely derivative of the 1981 classic, and makes no apologies or excuses for it. While it lacks the campiness and corniness of the original film, it does not have the cringe-worthy brutality of the 2013 remake, either; Wither‘s execution falls somewhere between the two. In a horror climate where cabin-in-the-woods films are standard fare, Wither comes off as a tribute to the archetype. There’s not much new in Wither, but innovation is not the point behind the film. It’s a love-letter to teenager-in-the-woods movies and a throwback to eighties splatter flicks. The sooner the fact that Wither is a loving knock-off is understood, the sooner the viewer can sit back and enjoy the carnage.
Keeping in the spirit of Evil Dead, the special effects in Wither are classic splatter effects, all practical and soaked in blood and guts. Read that part again: soaked in blood and guts. There are buckets of blood in Wither, so much so that the viewer can almost feel the wet warmth ooze off of the screen. As plentiful as it is, the blood is not used to hide the lack of imagination behind the effects. As dated as they seem (and remember, the film is a throwback to classic horror films of the eighties), the latex and corn syrup effects look great, and are a treat for viewers who may be sick to death of CGI blood splatter patterns.
Just because Wither seems familiar doesn’t mean that the viewer knows exactly what’s coming. There are still plenty of scares in the film, provided by both quick shocks and slow-burn suspense. There’s also a lion’s share of gore, but blood and guts are rarely startling anymore. The demons in Wither are very much like the demons in The Evil Dead, so the fear that is inspired by them is similar as well. The isolation and remoteness of the cabin adds to the tension, and the inability of the heroes to escape their attackers sets the film up for more scares. Again, there is little new ground broken in Wither, but if fans can stop being too cool for ninety minutes, they just might find themselves jumping out of their seat a few times.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Sonny Laguna
- Screenwriter(s): Sonny LagunaDavid LiljebladTommy Wiklund
- Cast: Patrik Almkvist (Albin)Patrick Saxe (Simon)Lisa Henni (Ida) Amanda Renberg (Linnea)
- Cinematographer: Tommy Wiklund
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Samir El Alaoui
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: Sweden