So, last night I was psyched when I found the 2012 remake of Red Dawn on Kick Ass Torrents. The original is a wonderful little B movie violence flick, so I settled in to have a good brain candy time.
And, then, I couldn't finish it, because it was so bad. And, I say this as someone who thinks "Silent Night Deadly Night 4" and "Jason In Space" are masterpieces.
The problem is that they don't ground the film in any emotional triggers at all. And, a B movie violence flick has to be grounded in emotional triggers or they don't work.
All those movies with giant ants, spiders and Godzilla in the 50s? They worked because society was scared of nuclear energy.
Early zombie movies and Invasion of the Body Snatchers? They worked because of a fear of communism. (Later zombie films played on different contemporary fears. Dawn Of The Dead, works because of the fear of consumerism at that time, for example.)
Slasher films? Teens are both fascinated with and terrified of sex. They totally play in those fears.
The Saw Franchise? We live in a political climate that presents a whole set of absolute moral choices between right wing and left wing politics. Jigsaw himself becomes the personification of those absolute morality choices.
And the original Red Dawn worked because people were terrified at the time of the possibility of a way between the US and the USSR.
There's where the new Red Dawn fails. Nobody is worried about North Korea invading America. We might be somewhat scared of them nuking a city or two, but North Korea is not some weird boogeyman in our collective mind. And, they don't have anywhere near enough population to have enough soldiers to successful invade. So it doesn't push any triggers at all.
To make Red Dawn work today you'd have to find a very large country with a very large radical Muslim population to invade us - because Sharia law and stuff is something that people are just as irrationally terrified of as they used to be of communism and nukes.
But, North Korea? Nobody gives enough of a damn.
B movie fail.