Saturday, April 6, 2013

Evil Dead [2013] Review

Evil Dead
In the land of watered down horror movie remakes, Evil Dead Reigns supreme.
Evil Dead fans rejoice. This is the film we have been waiting for years to see. And I am pleased to report that it is every bit as good and in some ways perhaps even better than we dreamed.


The film follows a group of five friends to an isolated cabin in the woods where they find a mysterious Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Upon reading its passages, they accidentally unleash an ancient evil force hellbent on ruling earth and destroying everyone in the process.

Sound familiar? It should. Evil Dead 2013 features an almost identical plot as the original 1981 flick. The only slight change in formula comes from the reason why the characters end up at the cabin.

Evil Dead Poster
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One of the female protagonists is trying to kick a heroin addiction, her friends decided that taking her deep into the woods would be the best place to do so. It works but only if you don't really think about it that much. Clearly all the filmmakers were looking for is a passable alternative to 'five friends go out for a weekend of drinking and parting in the woods' that often plagues this genera of film. A trend that was ironically enough, started by the original Evil Dead flick.

To be perfectly blunt, the weakest portion of the film can be found right here. Both in this setup and the characters that inhabit it. Not much of an attempt is ever really made at explaining who these people are and what kind of motives drive them to be together. Yea, we are know about the drug addiction thing but beyond that not much is told. The two male characters actually don't even seem to get along and for the life of me, I cannot remember why.

I also don't remember a single character name and couldn't even begin to tell you anything about them other than the sort of vague background information that you pick up from time to time. Even then, that information only seems to be given so it can set you up for some horrific scene later on in the film. One character has a medical background, so you can bet good money on something happening with a surgical needle.

The group of people who went to the movie with me all seemed to be struggling with this aspect of t he film as well.  After the movie was finished, characters were referred to in a sort of tongue-in-cheek manor; "That one guy that sort of looked like a poor mans Johnny Depp" ... "The Mark Sanchez looking dude" ... "The possessed chick". Was about the extent of detail that anyone could muster up to describe the cast.

But make no mistakes about it. Evil Dead is not trying to be any sort of character driven drama piece, like the uber popular Walking Dead television series. Evil Dead is a flat out balls to the wall horror film. One that dishes out the blood by the gallons and doesn't let up until the screen is (literally) raining red. Then for good measures throws another twenty gallons at you, just in case it wasn't subtle enough the first time around.

If you cannot quite remember the name of a character, that's alright... just refer to them whatever way makes the most sense to you and move on. The star of this show is not the people in it but the horrible, horrible set of events that they go through.

By comparison films like Hostel, Saw, and Cabin Fever look like Disney flicks. And yet Evil Dead manages to do something that movies like A Serbian Film or Human Centipede could not, be ultraviolent and yet completely entertaining at the same time. Evil Dead is the supreme king of blood and guts in a land dominated by watered down "PG-13" jump-scare horror cinema. It's not just a welcome breath of fresh air, it is a fucking tidal wave of adrenaline this genera so desperately needed.


How this movie achieved an R-Rating I literally have no idea. Never have I seen the sheer amount of blood and guts tossed around on screen with such playful disregard as I have in Evil Dead. And yet its done in a sort of classy way.

Once scene has a character lick a razor blade, split her tongue in half, then vomit an awful black substance directly into another persons mouth. In another we see a character get stabbed half a dozen times right below the eye with a hypodermic needle. And these are some of the films more grounded elements. You'll witness everything from bodily dismemberment and self mutilation, to being buried alive and (possibly) tree rape.

All the while Evil Dead seems to be enjoying itself so much as a film, in the way it completely disregards the traditional 'less is more' approach to film making. Instead replacing it with a 'more is better... so we are going way the fuck over the top' theory allows everything you see on screen, no matter how horrific, to still be completely enjoyable.

In this regard it reminds me of the old grindhouse style films of the 1960s and 1970s, only Evil Dead gets the benefit of an actual budget and modern special effects. Even though the film boasts no CGI, instead opting to go for all practical or in-camera effects work. These physical effects work tremendously well and help to separate this flick from the ultra slick computer generated look we have all grown accustomed to thanks to movies like Avatar and the shit Michael Bay directs.

Evil Dead
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You'll find plenty of callbacks to the original films and most of their iconic scenes, too. Look closely and you'll spot a certain car that Sam Raimi is famous for sticking into all his films. Shotguns and chainsaws are ever present, as well as the infamous tool-shed.

Twice we witness characters who must self mutilate a hand to survive but neither time does it play out exactly how the audience would expect. This truly is Evil Dead, redefined for a new generation of fans.

Stick around past the end credits and you'll find the ultimate piece of fan service done for long-time Evil Dead fans. I won't spoil the surprise but whatever you just thought of, is probably correct.

All in all, in the land of watered down horror movie remakes, Evil Dead reigns supreme. It takes the original concept and pays it proper homage all the while improving up the formula and coming up with its own spin in all the right places.

If you are a horror movie fan you owe it to yourself to spend the eight bucks to see this film up on the big screen. I give Evil Dead a 4 1/2 out of 5.

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