Evil Dead Remake Review

Dead Air

evil-dead-poster-hi-resI can’t help but wonder what Fede Alverez was thinking when he got the call to do evil dead. Not just any evil dead; a remake. A parallel continuity or continuation or a rebirth, or however their spinning it is arguable. What is not arguable is that evil dead is a franchise coveted by horror fans. Yes, their have been bigger franchises that made more money and spawned more sequels and been far more critically acclaimed but one important thing to remember is evil dead is one of those franchises that hasn’t been touched in film since the early 90’s. There have been comics, games, and people tattooing that shit on their fucking bodies but no features. It has (putting it mildly) a ravenously loyal fanbase and starred an actor that is one of the biggest if not the biggest cult icon of modern times, Bruce Campbell. So when Fede Alverez got that call that told him that for his first big studio movie he was doing is evil dead, and that it would be a remake and it wouldn’t have Bruce Campbell I’m sure he realized if not then but soon that he was going to have to do better than any horror remake in the last 10 years.

A group of young friends gather together in an old cabin that belonged to the siblings Mia (Jane Levy) and David (Shiloh Fernandez) The idea is to help Mia get off drugs. So while her friends try to detox her ( and spit out some awkward exposition dialogue) they discover a bloody mess in the basement of the cabin along with a mysterious book. Not content to leave well enough alone the words are spoken and what follows is a bloodbath to end all bloodbaths. Or maybe a blood shower?

The strongest points of this movie are the dedication spent to the gore effects. Even though they do use a lot of CGI in some shots it’s not too distracting and seems to be melded well with practical effects. A lot of the damage the characters take is absolutely unreal. In particular, the character of Eric played by Lou Taylor Pucci, that guy just takes a beating throughout the entire film.

There are countless moments throughout the movie that are nods back to the original trilogy. Be it camera angles, lines of dialogue or the pacing of the film but at the same time it isn’t an hour and thirty minute inside joke that new comers to the series will be left out of.

There is a fine balancing act that Alverez performs by doing justice to the franchise but also making it his own. The third act is entirely new and feels unique and fresh, while the first two acts seem like a glowing tribute to the source material.

A few things I didn’t like was the stiff dialogue between a lot of the characters. Beyond the previously mentioned exposition scenes there is a point in the movie where I just don’t feel like these characters are really freaked out enough. It might have been a way to further desensitize the violence for the audience but I think it’s more of a case of the movie relying too much on its namesake and special effects while its actors are generic. Nobody stands out, and in a lot of cases aren’t even given much of a chance to. This is about the point where I was missing Bruce Campbell. His character of Ash stole the show and he as an actor oozed charisma that made the series what it was. It’s not as though anyone did a bad job it’s just that I felt nobody elevated the movie by being in it.
Another thing which was probably the biggest sin was showing what was chasing Levy’s character. They played tribute to the classic and extremely distinct POV chase scenes that dotted the original franchise but instead of leaving it to your imagination they decided we needed to see it. Also, every time somebody did something weird (weird means violent and gross) they felt the need to show us a page in the book that related to what was happening. It seemed unnecessary and I felt that it took away from those scenes. Then again I love when things aren’t explained.

It’s an insanely bold move of the studios to back a movie and push its production while at the same time taking their strongest muscles (Rami and Campbell) and regulating them to producers. (One with an extremely uneventful cameo after the credits.)

As I’ve said many times; remakes, sequels and prequels have been around for awhile but the internet hasn’t. These days it takes about two minutes to find someone online and send them a message, or publicly bash them or their product. The things I read coming from fans of the original while this movie was being made was ridiculous enough but I honestly believe they did something evil dead fans and the mainstream will be happy with.

This is easily the best horror remake (rebirth/sequel/whatever) I’ve ever seen but I can’t help but wonder how amazing if would be if Bruce had returned to play Ash. Given the early buzz that this movie will well exceed its modest budget I guess we only need wait for the inevitable Evil Dead 2

3.5 / 5 stars     


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      1. Lonnie Hill (@javatyger) April 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

        It was a great movie, no question there, a remake I actually enjoyed. But my biggest gripe is creepy Mia doesn’t do the creepy one liner from the commericals, ‘we’re going to get you’ when looking at everyone. Big let down.

        • Dead Air April 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

          Oh I had forgotten about that! Good catch!

      2. Sam Hain April 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

        I read somewhere that there was no CGI used in the movie. I guess I read it wrong.

        • Dead Air April 7, 2013 at 12:08 am

          It’s possible. They did use a lot of practical stuff along with makeup, and some assisted practical with CGI. However There were things like missing limbs, blown off heads and the like that were definitely full on digital effects. I give the movie big ups for doing as much practical as they did.

      3. Ash April 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        Just watched Evil Dead last night as we had to wait two weeks longer in the UK for its release which was a complete ball ache. I loved it but agree with your comments on the shite dialogue. Probably the most brutal film I’ve ever seen at the cinema. The horror was handled expertly well but yes, most of the actors where cardboard, the brother in particular. I thought Eric was the most believable in his reactions. They are my gripes, but overall it was nuts. It wasn’t scary as such more exhilarating with intense brutality. I felt like I was holding my breath at times. it was carnage but was done with real conviction unlike some gore films. You could see they put a lot into it and to know that there wasn’t any CGI is quite simply amazing and better for it. As always these days, with horror especially although not exclusively, a lot of the best bits are in the trailer which means the film loses its impact when these scenes reappear, but there were still some very memorable scenes that weren’t in the trailer which had more of a lasting effect “David… What’s wrong with my face?” :)

      4. Ash April 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        Oh, and also… I don’t get the end at all (spoiler alert!!!!!)
        Why did it rain blood and the evil rise? We were told that would happen after 5 souls were taken… 5 were not taken, what gives? Would someone kindly explain please?

        • MaximeFrance May 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

          Of course 5 souls were taken. Have you missed the moment when Mia is actually dead? She is then brought back to life by her brother, but still. And the rain starts pouring after the house with the two last guys inside burns on fire… so… 5.

        • Ash May 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm

          Ah, but the brother kills himself, he was never ‘taken’ he took his own life. Besides, Mia’s soul wasn’t taken if she is back alive again. It didn’t make sense, and why wasn’t her tongue cut in two? … but hey, I’m not bothered as I enjoyed it all the same.

        • MaximeFrance May 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm

          He is dead, that’s’ just what they need apparently… Lol. It is a horror movie, we shouldn’t be expecting perfection… Or maybe we have to cound the dog? Do Dogs have soul? That is an other debate and waaaay to deep I guess. As for the tong, she has no bruises either, so i guess her body just came back the way it was… The magic of continuity!

        • Ash May 24, 2013 at 5:45 am

          I agree with you maximefrance as horror films don’t have to be logical from the outset, but i do however think its sloppy work if a horror film can’t stick to the confines of their own logic.

      5. MaximeFrance May 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm

        If only people could stop comparing remakes to the originals… OK obviously we are going to compare, but coming to a review, you should take a movie for its own product. This Evil Dead may have flaws, like, a bunch of, but still, you have to see how great the effects are, how fantastic the tension of the first 30 minutes is, and finally, how awesome the final chainsaw kill is !! We never saw that, it’s amaizing. It was not pmerfect but a 4 out of 5 is deserved.