A Remake Better Than Most - May Contain Spoilers
15 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'm one of those moviegoers who has the opinion that, 1) the book is always better than the movie and, 2) the original is better than the remake. Having said that, of ANY remake I've seen, this was is best at recapturing the suspense and pure violence of the original, and maybe in some ways better (given the improved budget).

First I will say what is good about this movie. The suspense and violence is unrelentless. The original did a great job of not only using gore/violence, but pure suspense (a lone trailer in the middle of a pitch-black desert surrounded by an enemy that is unknown and unseen). The remake re-captures that well, unlike many that just up the gore factor with no heed to suspense. Second, the violence, when it does occur (and oh, it does!) is chilling. This movie makes the remake of "TCM" look like a romantic comedy. Additionally and perhaps paradoxically, the movie also takes time to "mourn" the victims, showing the emotional impact of their demise on their family. So there is a real human element there, which makes one care...somewhat. Last, this movie uses it's increased budget and special-effects abilities smartly, creating a very plausible landscape and setting for the violence. The portrayal of a insane and mutated "family" living in an old prop-town (used as a prop for testing the effects of nuclear explosions) is very haunting.

Having said all that, this movie does suffer a bit. First off, since most of these movies seem to cater to the younger crowd, we have your uber-annoying pair of teenage jerkholes (the son and daughter). The teenage boy is ESPECIALLY annoying and I prayed every minute for his death. His death SHOULD have come very quickly, due to his stupidity and to the situation he got himself into early on which, given the entire premise of the film, should have guaranteed his corpse status. Again, it seems horror films do a poorer-than-most job at creating characters you WANT to see live. Also, there are the usual incredible holes in the story. How a cell-phone salesman who looks like he's never seen a bike or weight-set in his life ends up single-handedly killing nearly the entire clan - including besting a 300 lb. insanely violent giant of a mutant in hand-to-hand combat - is impossible to imagine. How the boy and girl, who are the most inept, incompetent and weakest characters in the entire film, turn into a pair of virtual McGuyvers and best their foes, is equally incredible.

But oh well. Take it for what it's worth and if you're a horror fan, even of the original, you won't be too disappointed. As horror films go, the best in quite a while.
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