Director Sonny Laguna, and Tommy Wiklund’s “Wither” is about as close as you’re going to get to a foreign remake of “Evil Dead.” The one aspect that redeems the film is that “Wither” has such admirable technical prowess, excellent direction, and top notch acting behind it, you forgive it being an obvious ode to Sam Raimi’s original cabin in the woods horror film. “Wither” has that indie gloss, while also being a very well orchestrated horror splatter film about demons, and one man’s sheer demented quest to survive through the night.
Patrik Almkvist plays Albin, a young man who is preparing for a getaway with his wife Ida. After a vicious prologue signaling events to come, Albin prepares for the getaway by meeting his father, who’d just purchased an abandoned cabin out in the middle of the woods. Despite some reservations about it being desolate, and some roads being hard to find, Albin and wife Ida retreat to the cabin, along with a group of their friends and Ida’s brother Simon, prepared to drink and celebrate. During an attempted prank, their friend Marie breaks in to the house and discovers an underground tunnel where she’s the victim of a face to face confrontation that leaves her shaken to her core. Despite the party going off without a hitch, Marie falls ill and re-emerges as a blood spewing demon, prompting a chaotic fight for survival among the group.
To make matters worse, a local hunter who witnessed the true carnage of the demon is intent on murdering Marie before she spreads her infection to everyone else. “Wither” definitely doesn’t try to pad the narrative, nor does it try to cover the fact that it’s another cabin in the woods horror picture. Truthfully, it embraces the tropes of the sub-genre, while delivering its own brand of demonic horror that’s very effective in many instances. The direction really works in favor of the haunting demonic make up that doesn’t really alter the features of its hosts features, save for a grimy exterior that make them look as if they’re regurgitating their own bodily fluids.
There’s not a lot of explanation as to what the demonic presence is, and how far it can reach, but that only adds to the horror as the demons remain unpredictable and incredible surreal villains. “Wither” works on a small budget, and uses every chance to use its resources wisely with excellent special effects, and a setting that feels more and more nightmarish the further the narrative progresses. “Wither” may get slack for being a completely shameless take on Sam Raimi’s horror classic, but I admired it for taking the premise and injecting its own flavor. It also helps that every aspect of production is stellar including direction, editing, and the performances. “Wither” is definitely a must watch for fans that are hungry for classic cabin in the woods demon carnage.