The 2013 SXSW Film Festival is officially underway in Austin, Texas, and Friday night saw the premiere of two big films moviegoers will definitely be interested in hearing more about. One of the oddest yet rewarding double-bills you'll see at a film festival this year, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone kicked things off with plenty of amusing over-the-top magician-related humor, and then handed the big-screen baton to the mega-gory Evil Dead, which may go down as one of the best of a recent string of '80s horror remakes.
We collected some word-of-mouth on both films, and you can scope out what our favorite movie critics have to say about each one below.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (in theaters March 15)
"We don’t go to magic shows expecting to feel emotionally connected to the performers. We go to be entertained, and by that measure, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a delightful bit of hocus pocus." -- Matt Goldberg, Collider
"The laughs in Wonderstone may be intermittent, but when they land, they’re large." -- Sean O'Connell, CinemaBlend
"Comebacks are as easy as pulling rabbits from a hat in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a showbiz tale that's enjoyable but as familiar as the old-school routines its magician heroes dish out." - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has a couple big laughs, a few small laughs, and a whole lot of going through the Hollywood mainstream comedy motions. As a movie, it’s a mess; in select moments, it’s occasionally hilarious. It’s probably best appreciated as a playlist of highlight clips on YouTube." -- Matt Singer, Screencrush
Evil Dead (in theaters April 5)
"Alvarez's film is going to smash its juicy head in with a toilet lid and you may not be able to handle it. We're kind of amazed the MPAA's censor-happy members let it get by." -- Peter Hall, Movies.com
"Evil Dead veers between being a tweaked but faithful remake of elements of Raimi’s first two movies — like a greatest hits record that is also a collection of covers — and its own original film." -- Russ Fischer, /Film
"Fortunately for all involved, the creators of the new Evil Dead are more than willing to earn their own stripes with the horror fans, and the result is a fast-paced, gut-punch, splatter-fest of a remake that will almost certainly please the old fans, probably entice a bunch of new ones, and thoroughly disgust anyone who happens to think that Evil Dead is some sort of low-key supernatural thriller." -- Scott Weinberg, FearNet
"All in all, Evil Dead may have been a perfect first night film for SXSW. It played to a capacity audience, it got a huge, huge response from the crowd, and it manages to contain indie films, mainstream hits, and the original in its DNA somehow." -- Drew McWeeney, Hitfix