Evil Dead Review
Honestly, I can't figure out what she's screaming about...
I am a fan of the horror genre. I believe there is a lot one can do with the genre if a creative idea and good writing surround that idea. As horror has proven time and time again, a film crew does not need an Oscar worthy script or even A-list actors. The only rule in horror is how well can you scare or thrill the audience. Because lets face it, some horror movies really try proactively to scare the crap out of you. While others throw thrilling jabs at your gut.
The original "Evil Dead" franchise began 1981 and revolved around Ashley J "Ash" Williams (brought to delightful life by the great Bruce Campbell.) and his misfortunes with the "Necronomicon Ex-Mortis" a book which summons demons. "Evil Dead" went on to spawn two more movies, as well as comics and video games. The series was defined by its silly yet gruesome situation and excess of blood. Sadly, Bruce Campbell's career never went off like I believe it should have.
From roughly 2002 to today, horror remakes are at an all-time high. "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "The Hills Have Eyes," "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," "The Omen," and many more to name got revamped in just under 10 years. Unfortunately, most of these remakes do absolutely nothing besides go through the original movie and remake the scenes with murky overcast. It basically seems like the directors of these reboot franchises thought "hey, remember that scene from the original!!!" Nothing revitalizes the remade movies, nothing is made better or more efficient. When I think of a remake, I think perhaps the filmmakers would like to strengthen the good of the original movie and work on the things that didn't work in the original movie. But I suppose that's not how Hollywood thinks. Remakes (especially horror remakes) are just shot-for-shot remade scenes that tell the same exact story.
I can definitely say this about the 2013 "Evil Dead," it sure keeps the original film's spirit. This is probably the most gory R-rated movie made in the last 20 years. But as I stated above, Evil Dead is all about excess, so it fits the bill perfectly. The spirit of the original film is alive and well in the remake, so at least that is a positive. The 2013 film also features alot of Sam Raimi's (The man who created the original Evil Dead franchise) crazy camera tricks. The film features a wicked sense of humor which was present in the original trilogy. For the most part, everything is in place.
The actors include Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Louie Taylor Pucci, and Jessica Lucas. I can't tell you much at all about the cast, except Lucas had a decent size role in the 2008 film "Cloverfield." The cast does just fine. I mean were you expecting Academy Award material in a horror movie? There is a reason why Anthony Hopkins is the only actor so far to gain a Oscar for a horror film. One doesn't need much talent to run around, screaming, making stupid decisions and going "huh?"
Honestly, the 2013 Evil Dead movie does absolutely nothing except tread water. The most clever thing the movie does is create a acrostic spelling DEMON. (the main cast names are David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natialie...get it?) There is also no As....well nevermind. Every scene that was memorable in the first Evil Dead is redone here. Nothing new and reinvigorating is included in this update, its just more of the same.
I get that Hollywood may be trying to reach out to a new generation of horror fans. But those horror fans are just going to leave the theater, go home, look up the original, watch the original and think its a much better movie overall. I know because I have done that a number of times. If a filmmaker wants to remake something, they better have something new and innovative to say, otherwise it is just more of the same. And 2013 "Evil Dead" really suffers from that.
There is a scene though, right at the end of the credits, which made my heart sore. I don't want to give it away, but if Hollywood is thinking of making an updated trilogy, they may redeem themselves a little bit as the trilogy goes on. For right now though, they have the essence right, the make up, props, and special effects are all great. Even the acting is overall passable. There just really isn't anything new going on, it almost feel like they new how good the original Evil Dead was, so they didn't even want to try to make the remake better.
FINAL GRADE: B-