I’ll be honest, I get the backlash. I understand the gripes. I know why people didn’t like the new Hellboy movie. But it doesn’t change the fact that I loved it, even despite some of its shortcomings in the form of some really cheesy writing and questionable dialogue. But I liked it mostly because I like Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn as well.
Oh, some might argue, “How dare you compare Hellboy to the masterpiece that is The Evil Dead?” My question is how can I not? Both movies share the same attitude. A serious and really unfunny threat that is ever so looming, a hero that is a bit of a goof that stumbles from one fight to another with snarky remarks and some questionable special effects. Can Hellboy be considered a B-Movie? Maybe not on a technical point of view, but it sure felt as fun as one.
I think the major fault was the movie didn’t fully embrace itself. The scenes where Hellboy (David Harbour) has a conflict of interest were a nice touch until every thought he had about coexisting with monsters goes out the window when the next action scene (accompanied by a cheesy classic rock song) kicks in and he’s back to popping headshots like there’s no tomorrow. This is where I feel many had an issue. The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to take itself seriously or just wanted to be a ‘fun balls to the wall’ action movie with a ton of relentless gore. Between the dark humour, the gore that was absolutely ridiculous and how the action sequences were more about being cool than anything else, I feel the more serious undertones were misplaced.
Let’s look at Evil Dead 2. It’s a terrible horror movie but a fantastic dark comedy. From slapstick humour and gore to some creative camera work due to a lack of budget, the movie works by not taking itself seriously. Even though the monsters are pretty evil and would be scary in the real world, the movie still manages to make it funny to watch as Ash’s demonic severed hand throws him obscene gestures while he tries to shoot it.
Could you imagine if Hellboy applied the same logic? Instead of trying to be a serious horror-action movie, imagine if it knew what it was and elaborated on all of its good points as being a dark comedy action movie. The groundwork was there, I saw it but that’s all it was.
It’s a shame that the issues behind the scenes took a toll on the movie, maybe without them it could have really been allowed to find its niche. But either way, I enjoyed Hellboy because of the potential I saw. No, it’s not the older Hellboy movies, which I enjoyed. But, I feel the R-18 sticker and slapstick style fits the Hellboy character a lot better.
I’d urge anyone who disagrees with me to watch Evil Dead 2, take it for what it is as being a comedy first and then a horror then watch Hellboy 2019 again with taking my sentiments to heart and tell me what you think.