Evil Dead (2013)
Director: Fede Alvarez
Lou Taylor Pucci/Eric
A group of young folks bring junkie Mia (Jane Levy) to a remote cabin in the woods so she can take care of that heroin crisis cold turkey. Problem is who’s going to take care of that demonic possession ailment she eventually develops and spreads about? Paging Dr. Ash? Paging Dr. Ash?!!! The Doctor has left the building???? We’re f*cked!
The original THE EVIL DEAD (1981) means a lot to me as it was the first horror movie I ever saw. I’ll always remember it! I went up to a cabin in the woods (yeah, no shit) with my friend and his mom for a weekend. At night, while my bud’s mom was counting dead sheep, we snuck into the basement and watched the taboo movie, on VHS no less. It scared the Night of the Living Shite out of me. To the point that I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. The film severely marked me back then and it sent me on my horror journey! I never looked back.
So yeah, when an EVIL DEAD remake was first announced my reaction to it was simple and straight from the heart: F-U! Then Diablo “Juno” Cody’s name was bomb dropped as one of the screenwriters! Again... F-U! Then it was said that Ash was going to be a broad… F-U! Afterwards they changed their tune, there would be no Ash at all, which actually worked for me. There’s only one Ash and that’s Bruce Campbell, trying to replace/re-cast him is suicide, pure and simple. But even with that tidbit of good new, I still wanted NOTHING to do with this movie until the Red Band trailer gored the net and got me excited. So did it live up to my high expectations? YOU BET!
The EVIL DEAD 2013 somewhat took a cue from what they did with THE EVIL DEAD II (1987). It told its own story while heavily winking at the original (Yes Sam Raimi’s first car, his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, showed up again here, nice!). So although the set up was déjà vu (kids in cabin – book is read – possession ensues), the picture played its own warped game and wound up coming off as a modern sequel instead of a cash-in remake. And that’s what made it fun to watch for me! It was a new tale set in EVIL DEAD land! From the sly initial premise (having the kids be in the woods to help their friend kick a smack addiction was genius, once she starts having Demon symptoms, they confuse those with withdrawal), to a chain of events that was fairly different than the original hence having me by the balls, to a last act that went buck nuts with the zany ideas and plot turns, this one kept me on my chopped off toes! This update even went as far as defining some elements that were vague in the original trilogy. For example: the possessions here went down because they were transmitted via exchange of bodily fluids (like a Zombie movie) and the WHY behind the book and its shenanigans were expended upon further as well.
So basically, this update on THE EVIL DEAD owed as much to Lamberto Bava’s DEMONS (the blood shed, the way the possessed behaved and how the possession was spread) and THE EXORCIST (the raunchy things that would come out of the demons yappers) than it did to the original THE EVIL DEAD. Visually, Fede Alvarez (who is obviously a huge The Evil Dead fan and connoisseur) did a wonderful job in his feature length directorial debut (he had only directed shorts before). His camera work was less kinetic than Raimi’s but still stylized and heavy on the crazy angles. I personally adored how he would use sudden silence to accentuate creepy moment. The ploy worked on my ass! And purists fear not, the famous Evil Dead demon POV shot was in the house! It didn’t carry the same weight though; they didn’t use the same sound effect behind it which was 50% of the reason as to why it was scary in the original films (in my useless opinion of course). Speaking of fear, I didn’t think that this re-do had enough of it. Sure there were some moments of tension here and there but not as much as I thought there would be. The way I see it, it won’t really frighten hardcore horror fans, but mainstream audiences will be shitting bricks and building a house. What the film did have in spades though was cringe inducing gore!
Kudos for having the FANTASTIC special effects done in camera by way of practical effects (some were created by WETA who worked on Peter Jackson’s 1992 splatter flick Dead Alive). Although there was some random CGI (fire), when it came to the red chunky grub, they kept it honest hence upping the impact of said grisly scenes. The level of depravity that was reached here was esteemed by yours truly! I loved being grossed out by this flick! Respect! Add to all that horror love some decent performances (Jane Levy in particular really brought it, loved her "you have to get me out of here" speech and Shiloh Fernandez was also solid, too bad the script worked against him at times though), efficient circumstantial humor and a sombre score by Roque Banos that hit the H spot and you get a gore-coaster ride that delivered the goods! I didn't want to get off or for it to end!
On the flip-side, ironically enough this update sported some of the same problems the original had. Most of the characters were undeveloped, resulting in some of them exuding the same presence as one of the props (Elizabeth Blackmore's Natalie was the primo example of that). Then there was the glaring dumb ass moves to serve the plot. At least two of them evoked “COME ON!” in my hollow noggin. You believe in black magic and voodoo, you know about it, you see all the WARNINGS written in the book - WHY read it out-loud again? Duh! And what will it take for so and so to finally ACCEPT that Mia is possessed? Shit, open your eyes, whack the dame or get the f*ck out of there pronto! Lastly some of dialogue felt “off” and resulted in some unintentional laughter from yours truly. Nothing too major but yeah...
With that stabbed and carved upwards, I’m the kind of dude that can let go of hick-ups in a film if the ride comes through, and that was the case here. I had a BLAST with this new EVIL DEAD movie and its boo-boos didn’t come close in tarnishing the fun times it gunned my way! All that matters to me! To quote the movie: “Feast on this, motherf*cker!”
I don’t want to spoil the gore gags too much as they are the main reason to see the movie. But yeah, BUCKETS of blood, cut off limbs, self mutilations, nail gun fun… you dig down and dirty gory? You will be well served here!
T & A
It’s a demon party! No time for love Dr. Jones!
EVIL DEAD 2013 met my high expectations! It was visually macabre sweet, sported some tension, fabulous practical makeup effects and INSANE wince inducing gore that may send the casual horror fan out the theater running for mommy. More importantly, the film told its own story and came across as part of the EVIL DEAD franchise instead of reeking of a copy and paste cash grab for peeps that can't take in an old movie. Yeah characterization was on the low jive, dumb moves to serve the plot were on hand and some of the dialogue was flatter than Kristen Stewart’s chest, but overall revisiting the world of EVIL DEAD was a diabolical pleasure for me! Now all we need is for an older Ash to return to the franchise and all will be golden. It would work! Hail to the King baby! Am seeing this one again!
Stay tuned till after the end credits, we get a little surprise.
Look out for a nod to the poster of the original film.
Bruce Campbell was one of the producers.
They used Ellen Sandweiss's voice (Cheryl from the original The Evil Dead) in this one's sound design.
Lily Collins was first cast as Mia but then dropped out for unknown reasons (to me anyways).
The first letters of the main characters names: David, Eric, Mia, Olivia and Natalie, spell out Demon.