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Original Vs. Remake: The Evil Dead

04.09.2014by: Mike Catalano
We had a bunch of great comments and opinions on our last Original Vs. Remake. The Dawn of the Dead battle actually ended in a tie, yet many could see how that happened and weren't pissed off by it. Frankly, I was surprised, but pleased. Rock on!

Today, we have ourselves another big-time battle between two beloved films that dared to open the Book of the Dead! So, pour yourself (and your soul) a cold one and watch out for those horny branches because we are about to slice and dice our way through Sam Raimi's classic Evil Dead and Fede Alvarez's insane update!

Story
It's a simple, classic tale that really pioneered the whole "horror in the woods" sub-genre. Friends head out to an isolated cabin in the woods for some rest and relaxation only to discover an ancient book that unleashes Hell on Earth. The concept really is genius and doesn't surprise me that it was cooked up by a young Sam Raimi.
In terms of a remake/update, the 2013 version really is quite good. I love how it takes the original's premise and implies a healthy amount of difference to make the remake stand on its own. Having the group convene at the cabin as a means of an intervention for Jane Levy's character was a particular stroke of enlightenment.
Special Effects
Let's take into consideration the fact that the original Evil Dead was made in the very early 80's on a very low budget. Because of this, the amount of splattery carnage that gets thrown on the screen is a work of art. The possessed people effects are creepily on point and the rotting corpses are a brilliant exercise in stop-motion grossness. And when the blood flows, watch the f*ck out!
Clearly, the remake's filmmakers knew if their movie was going to have the slightest chance of being a success, they had to go all out in the effects department. Thankfully, they did. The characters in this flick get put through a lot of shit and their wounds definitely show it! From hacked open gushers to tiny needles stuck in skin, all the practical effects are top notch.
Acting
This is the movie that launched Bruce Campbell's career and he completely owns in it. There is so much crap that gets thrown at him and his reactions are priceless. The rest of the early 80's cast shines as well whether they are possessed or not. But it really is Campbell's show and it is certainly a gift to behold.
I was already a fan of Jane Levy's from the show Suburgatory and had a hunch she would kick ass in the remake. Suffice to say, I was right. Her work as the tortured "Mia" is fantastic. She does sufferer, tormentor, and hero! All the other cabin dwellers do a fine job reacting to the craziness around them.
Intensity
By the time that demon bitch gets thrown into the basement, the shit has bashed the fan to bits. Raimi definitely knows how to ramp up the tension and The Chin truly knows how to sell the "oh no!" factor! The "Evil" comes at people with such a fast, powerful force that you can't help jumping out of your seat.
Okay, I've gotta say that this friggin' remake had me on the edge of my seat. From the very first scene (a nice updated idea, by the way), I was glued without a chance of being subdued. Without being afraid to showcase the harshest of hardcore violence, you're constantly going "there's no f*cking way they're going to show that" and then, she's slicing her friggin' tongue down the center!
Hot Chicks
Okay, I will say that Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly are a fairly fine trio of early 80's cuties. And Ms. Sandweiss does give us a couple of hints of boob when the trees are having their way with her. However, none of the actresses are anything to send a viewer into a tizzy of horniness.
It's hard not to be fond of Miss Jane Levy with that creamy pale skin and dark red locks. I certainly wouldn't mind if she tried to take over my body. She's even supported by the delicious duo of Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore who both look quite tight when drenched in liquid (albeit blood).
Directing
This is Sam Raimi's first major studio directorial effort. And the damn thing is just loaded with brilliant visuals, actions, and reactions. The man took such a simple premise and loaded it with insane performances and circumstances that it became a complete classic. The POV shots of the "evil" would be imitated over and over for years to come, but never matched. This man really knew how to make the woods scary.
Fede Alvarez certainly has an eye for sick visuals and brisk scares. Honestly, I think he was without a doubt the perfect choice to helm this remake. The shocking ride that the movie takes you on would not be possible without him behind the wheel. He's got a knack for visuals, especially within the murky, branchy confines of the woods. And the final act is absolutely brimming with visceral excitement.
Evil Dead ('13)
Well, swallow my soul and call me a bitch! We have ourselves another Remake over an Original! I am so interested in hearing what you, our faithful readers think on this one! Which Evil Dead incarceration deserved the W? What are your reasons? Would things have been different if Evil Dead 2 was in the battle? Fire all them bullets below! And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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