If you have seen my list of most anticipated movies of 2013, you’d have noticed Evil Dead. Normally I detest remakes, especially for movies that I hold close to my heart. Remake the bad movies please and stay away from iconic films. Admittedly the first Evil Dead movie is pretty low-budget and doesn’t match the tone of its sequels. I’m sure most people would even avoid it, due to how shoddy it looks. Even its director knew the movie had its issues and sought to remedy them by retelling the story in Evil Dead 2. Credit must be given, as Evil Dead began Sam Raimi’s career and made Bruce Campbell the cult fan favorite he is today.
Now we have an updated look at Evil Dead. This time it’s directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Raimi and Campbell. To ease fans’ concerns (when are fanboys not concerned?), Bruce Campbell had to publicly give it his personal stamp of approval. That eased many concerns, but I had no desire to see anyone but Ash survive the constant onslaught from the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead).
This movie takes a different path to get to the same place. Its has a very 1980’s garden variety cabin in the woods setup. Five friends arrive at a cabin for a weekend retreat to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her drug addiction. The only characters you need to know are Mia, her estranged older brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), and their hipster friend, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci). The other two female characters are very expendable, as you’ll find out.
In typical horror movie fashion, the kids go exploring where they shouldn’t and find the book of the dead. One of the geniuses in the group decides to speak the words that a previous victim explicitly wrote should never be said aloud.
Seriously people, remember the rules! If you find a dusty artifact, don’t mess with it! Especially if it’s bound in human skin and is written in blood.
Of course the movie starts to get good as soon as hell is unleashed on these unwitting kids. To make matters worse, the only one who knows what is going on is Mia and no one believes her about “the trees” because she is suffering through a delusional withdrawal.
One by one, each person becomes a demon, but not without mangling themselves first. I’ll just say this, if you don’t have a strong stomach, do not see this movie. It is disturbing at how much blood and gore they got away with here. On the other hand, horror movie fans will not be let down. Even those who are sick and twisted cannot help but cringe at some of the self-induced injuries. Remember the ridiculous amount of blood showers in the original movie? (And of course, Ash would just wipe his face and be completely clean) That silliness was replaced with extremely realistic gore.
This movie proves how much better physical effects look over CG effects created by some former Syfy employee on his lunch break. Everything in this movie feels real and grimy. It’s obvious the filmmakers are trying to create a different view of what Evil Dead represents by going for (what the original was trying to do as well) a full-on horror flick with zero comedy.
Jane Levy is fantastic and fleshes (wrong word choice?) out the little sister character that was overshadowed in the original. Her brother, the hero for much of the movie, is emotionless and the entire time I was hoping he was not supposed to be the second coming of Ash.
Here’s what you should expect with the Evil Dead remake – A standard variation on every 80’s horror movie that you’d see without your parents’ permission, but it uses its budget very, very well.
I clapped more than a few times at easter eggs and love letters to the original series, but could not bring myself to love this movie. Then the last 15 minutes happened. It finally goes into full Evil Dead mode and doesn’t hold back. There were so many great moments here that I could not help but smile and appreciate the iconic money shots of this new series (And yes, this will have sequels). The ending really sold me on the entire movie.
If you’ve been craving a horror movie that is nearly everything it promises to be (it’s not the “Scariest Movie of All Time”) then go see Evil Dead. If you care for your inner Jiminy Cricket and want your soul to stay intact, then it’s best you don’t even watch Evil Dead’s trailers.
There is a rumor that Sam Raimi is working on Army of Darkness 2 and these two series will link together in an Avengers-style crossover. It’s a nice dream, but highly unlikely.