Evil Dead (2013)

Evil DeadIn an attempt to wean Mia (Jane Levy) off of drugs, brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) and best friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) retreat to the family’s old log cabin for the duration of her treatment. A strange smell leads them into the buildings basement, where they discover a shotgun, the hanging corpses of several dead cats and a book wrapped in human skin. When curiosity gets the better of him and school teacher Eric reads one of its many inscriptions, an ancient evil is unleashed which latches onto Mia and endangers the lives of everyone in the group.

Is it possible for a remake to improve upon the original? Of course; anythings possible. And yet, with each new greenlight, the very idea is met with shock and indignation, no matter how meritless the first movie may have been. While Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is held by many to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made, to those unable to watch it at a drive-in cinema or liberate a banned copy of the “video nasty” from the censors, The Evil Dead is probably going to disappoint. Its effects have dated, the acclaimed black comedy is laughable rather than funny, and — thanks to the subsequent franchise — you have a pretty good idea of who will live and who will die.

Endorsed by Raimi and his star-turned-icon Bruce Campbell, a remake eventually overcame the fans furore and entered production under the direction of Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez. Described as falling somewhere between a reboot and a canonical continuation, the film takes place thirty years after the original — you can even see the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 from the first film parked next to the cabin as the new generation arrive — and is intended as the first instalment in a new trilogy that (box office pending) will one day be tied into Raimi’s own. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

While the film does drop the slap-stick and surrealism of Raimi’s tenure, Alvarez is careful to continue another of the original trilogy’s noble traditions. Shot on a relatively small budget and utilising practical effects over CGI, this new incarnation ups the unpleasantness and grue in what amounts to one of the goriest movies of recent memory. Without the comedic element to undermine the scares, the director is able to build greater tension and hold audiences on the end of their seats much longer than before. That it all looks so much more sleek and up-to-date is just an added bonus, even though there will inevitably be some who miss the scrappy “charm” of the earlier films.

It’s not only The Evil Dead from which Alvarez escapes negative comparison, either; this latest instalment in the Evil Dead franchise also appears to have heeded the lessons of Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods. Evil is no longer just the concern of virgins, jocks and stoners, doomed to atone for their supposed sins, but of regular people too. While not quite as charismatic as Campbell, the cast still do a fair job with the material — Fernandez and Levy leading the pack as brother and sister team David and Mia. Levy in particular impresses, both as damaged addict and mouthpiece of the resident evil.

Proof that not all remakes are needless or necessarily inferior to the original, Evil Dead is a devilishly dark and deranged horror movie that plays to both faithful fans (there’s an end credits sequence that you probably shouldn’t miss) and modern mainsteam audiences alike. For now at least, his evil isn’t dead just yet.

4-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Evil Dead (2013)

  1. Pingback: April 2013 – You’re all going to die tonight | popcornaddict

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