By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor
Director Eli Roth was once touted as the next great horror director with his debut film Cabin Fever in 2003. But after a string of mediocre films, he was written off as a one-trick pony.
But his remake of the 1974 exploitation film Death Wish could bring him the fanfare he once had because he’s in rare form with this film.
Roth’s Death Wish stars Bruce Willis as Dr. Paul Kersey, a man living the American Dream as a trauma surgeon in Chicago. He decides to take his family out for lunch to celebrate his daughter graduating high school and being accepted into the college of her dreams. But a chance encounter with a valet driver eavesdropping on a conversation with his brother sends his life in a downward spiral and makes him become a vigilante to right the wrongs of his violated family.
The 1974 Death Wish was brutally similar to an unexpected punch to the face with sexual violence against women, urban stereotypes of minorities and just flat out ultra-violence. Roth knows that type of film wouldn’t fly in today’s society, so it’s genius he makes almost a parody of the original film using technology in clever ways.
It’s almost impossible being a vigilante in this day and age with cameras everywhere and social media, so Roth uses this to show Kersey’s exploits as a vigilante and puts him on public display to be judged by society and the viewer whether his actions are justified.
This movie shows Roth’s growth as a director with great action scenes and excellent pacing. He doesn’t forget his horror movie roots because the gunfights in this film are wicked and gory with practical effects and no computer-generated imagery, which is amazing in this era of film. It harkens back to the 1970s and ‘80s action movie era.
Roth’s Death Wish is a great step back in the right direction for the director. Is the movie perfect? No, but it’s a fun, ruthless ride that should be experienced.