In the history of horror films it’s hard to see where The Evil Dead movies stacks up. While Sam Raimi and his team crafted solid horror movies with small budgets, they’re nowhere as popular as many other franchises such as Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. However, the trilogy would be referenced and imitated by many filmmakers, leading to its eventual remake.
This time round instead of five 20 something’s tying to spend their spring break in a creepy old cabin, we have four young people trying to help there friend get over her addiction.
The film focuses on the re-building of a relationship between the drug addicted Mia (Jane Levy) and her returning brother David (Shiloh Fernadez).
David along with his quiet girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) hold themselves up in Mia and David’s family cabin so she can detox in “safe” environment.
When they get there they find that someone else used their cabin and they left dead animals and a book bound in skin behind.
This book of course being the Necronomicon or the Book of the Dead.
So what do you do with an old, evil book? Why, read it out loud and not tell anyone about it until the evil demon has already taken a couple of your friends of course. Or so that’s what Eric, our resident genius/hippie does.
While this plot doesn’t differ that much from the original movie, it changes enough to make it interesting for fans of the original film.
However, the set-up for this situation is very ham-handed with the characters checking off clichés from the past movie and others in the genre.
The actors, for the most part, do a good job of fitting into their roles. All of them, that is, with the exception of Elizabeth Blackmore who plays David’s girlfriend. She doesn’t have that many lines in the movie, but the few she has feel wooden and forced.
Despite the good cast, the film could have been written better. There are elements and set pieces that are set-up quite well in the movie most of the characterizations isn’t that great. For example, Eric is just a jerk and there really isn’t a reason given other than he’s mad at David for not hanging out with the group.
The writing is credited to director Fede Alvarez ad Rodo Sayagues, however screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body) was brought in to do a re-write. The film feels like it could of used more of Cody work, as she didn’t even write enough to get a credit.
The film itself looks and flows quite nicely. Director Fede Alvarez keeps the action moving at a good pace, which is more impressive seeing how this is his first feature film. The editing is also tight with this movie only running 91 minutes editor Bryan Shaw made the film not feel to short.
The original film was seen by many to be a landmark in horror films; the remake on the other hand plays it pretty safe. Like most horror films these day’s it’s less about making you jump out of your seat and more about making you look at something horrible like limbs being cut off.
It’s not “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience” as it advertises.
There were a number of people on the Internet speculating on weather this film has any real connections to the original trilogy. While I won’t give anything away, there are elements that appear in this movie that could bring up the idea that these two stories will one day connect.
Overall, Evil Dead is an ok movie. It doesn’t revolutionize the horror genre like the original films did. In fact, it’s pretty close to what modern horror films have evolved into torture porn.
Is it good? Yes.
Is it great? Not really.
Should you see it? If you’re a fan of the original film or just modern films then you’ll get a kick out of it. But if you’re afraid of seeing blood or limbs being pulled off, then maybe stay at home.
Evil Dead was made by Ghost House Pictures and FilmDistrict and Distributed by TriStar Pictures. The film was produced by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert G. Tapert.