It’s hard out here for a possessed demon, man. You have to take scalding hot showers, you uncontrollably piss you pants, but on the upside – you apparently can be a pretty good shot with a nail gun! With all this demon talk going on, chances are I can only be talking about one movie: Evil Dead. Yes Fede Alvarez’s feature directorial debut film is a remake of the 1981 Sam Raimi lensed cult classic, The Evil Dead. So does the potentially unnecessary remake do the original justice and maybe even improve on it? Or is it just another in a long line of horror remakes that missed the mark and should have been left in the cellar? Step inside and find out….
Now I’m not gonna bore you with the general plot of the movie, because it’s honestly pretty boring. In short: Mia (Jane Levy) likes to ride the white horse (heroin) and her friends and overdramatic brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) are desperate to get her off the smack for good. Best way to do that of course is to take Mia out to a creepy old cabin in the woods with an equally creepy cellar complete with hanging dead animals and the Book Of The Dead. Well, of course someone has to read from the book and that someone is Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), and because of that, hell is literally unleashed! It’s at that point in the film where Evil Dead really shines and you will most likely have your mouth open in shock at some of the things you’ll see onscreen. Just don’t leave it open too long because something might fly in there.
Let’s talk about the good stuff first. Where do I even begin with the effects and carnage that are in this movie? This is what you’re paying to see, and if you’re disappointed with that aspect, then I truly feel sorry for you. Had I not watched the previously released red band trailers for the movie, I would have been even more shocked, and I’m pretty bummed that I was somewhat desensitized to some of what was going on. Lesson learned on my part. The whole movie had that 80’s horror vibe going for it and I give all those involved big kudos for that because I’m sure it’s what they were going for. Sure it was much more polished than the original, but I didn’t mind that at all.
Now I don’t want to give anything away, but the red stuff flows mightily (in mostly practical form – yay!) and it delivers more than it’s fair share of “Holy Sh*t” moments. A lot of dismemberments (some self inflicted), stabbings, eye pokings, and an extremely inventive, crowd pleasing chainsaw kill towards the end. If you can get past the bad dialogue and wooden characters, the effects and shock scenes are worth seeing on the big screen and definitely worth seeing with a crowd. Sit back and marvel at what got passed off as an ‘R’ rating.
To touch on the bad for a minute, the previously mentioned bad dialogue takes the cake. Now, to be fair, the original 1981 Evil Dead had some terrible 80’s dialogue in it. But it seemed extra terrible here, and what’s even more surprising is that this finished script was apparently after Diablo Cody came aboard to rework it. It’s not even that the actors were that bad in my opinion (which consisted of of a bunch of newcomers and no names btw), it’s the fact that the words they were given to say were just so uninteresting that it made their characters uninteresting as well. I honestly didn’t care about them. What I did care about was what nasty way they were going to die.
After the effective opening sequence, I was literally looking at my watch waiting to see when 20 minutes was up because I knew that was around the time everything was going to kick in. The brother/sister relationship between Mia and David was not all that believable to me and I really didn’t have much compassion for either of them when the shit really hit the fan. Because there is no Ash in the movie, they both end up wearing the “hero” badge throughout the 90 minute runtime. Mia showed the most promise with her acting skills, and (slight spoiler alert) it is nice to know that she’ll be on board going forward with the sure to be greenlit sequels.
When I walked out of the theatre, I admit that I had a little smile on my face because I honestly felt like I was a teenager again. I applaud Fede Alvarez and think he has a bright future, especially with the horror genre, because Evil Dead looked absolutely fantastic. Everything popped off the screen, and I loved the little nods to the original (the classic Oldsmobile, the severed middle finger in the Book Of The Dead, the tree raping). I also loved that this wasn’t a shot for shot remake as it really was it’s own movie in the end. Not sure if it completely lived up to the hype I had in my head (I’m not sure it honestly could), but this new Evil Dead more than satisfied my horror thirst and I’m looking forward to seeing what the sequels will hold. I hope they stick with the more serious/scary tone because I don’t think I’m ready to see the Mia character doing a Three Stooges schtick. Now get off your asses and get to the theatres people and support that real ‘R’ rated horror! Looks like a lot of you did this past weekend because Evil Dead was number one with $26 million! Groovy…..