Weekend Movie Review: The Evil Dead (2013)
When it comes to cult movies, Evil Dead is as big as they come. From its shoe string budget and the filming process of making the movie (more entertaining than the movie itself), to its fantastic sequels Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn and the always incredible Army of Darkness it’s a very beloved movie. So naturally when the remake was announced, I was quick to write it off. I’m a firm believer in the “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” rule and even though an Evil Dead remake with a decent budget made sense, I still wasn’t sold as I’ve had remakes that made sense let me down before (Clash of the Titans). Above all, I was ready to light some torches if they even dared to have the character of Ash recast (Bruce Campbell is the ONLY person that should ever play Ash if you ever ask me). I even felt conflicted not wanting to see it when it was revealed that both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were producers. However, the real push for me to want to see it was when early screenings revealed that there would be no Ash in the movie and that the film follows a different set of characters to that wonderfully spooky cabin in the woods. Plus it was getting great reviews coming out of SXSW.
Having seen it now; I can honestly say that this was a pretty good entry in the Evil Dead series. I say “entry” rather than “remake” because I think that the best approach to view this movie is to see it as a fourth entry into the series rather than a remake. There are definitely some throwbacks to the original film such as a scene showing the rotting/weathered “The Classic” (aka Sam Raimi’s car from all the Evil Dead films….and nearly every Raimi film including The Quick and The Dead, where it was allegedly disguised as a stagecoach). So there are a few nods to the original movie for the fans as well as some bloody new treats.
I will not spoil any of the movie for you guys, but it does follow a lot of the formula from before: 5 people go to the cabin in the woods, they find the Necronomicon Ex Mortis (which got a bit of a face-less facelift), some dumbass reads from it and awakens “The Evil” and then we have a nice gory demon possession/deadite bloodbath for the rest of the movie!
The new gang consists of recovering drug addict Mia, her brother David, his girlfriend Natalie, and their mutual friends Eric and Olivia as well as the sibling’s dog Grandpa (dumbest dog name ever!). Like the Ash and Friends gang of the 80s with the original movie, their weekend goes to shit when someone (Eric in this case) reads that damned book. However, although this new group gave us a good 90 or so minutes of thrills; I liked the Ash and Friends entourage more. This new entry tried to stand on it’s own by going all out for shocks and gore. I actually read somewhere, where they used some insane number of gallons of fake blood, but it wasn’t really the cartoony blood of the other Evil Dead films but rather in a more realistic gore approach. However, while going for shocks and gore, they left a really important element of the Evil Dead series out: the humor! Granted that the first Evil Dead was a sincere horror film and the later entries had more of the slapstick humor, it still contained some bits of humor to keep the balance. This one, the humor was scarce at best save for a reference quote of sorts towards the end and some unintentional humor during an especially gory bit in the basement (you know, the one that contained Henrietta in Evil Dead 2). Some reviews go as far as to say that the gore is too much in this film, but it’s honestly not any worse than watching a compilation of all the zombie kills from The Walking Dead, so it’s not THAT bad. With that said, it doesn’t get a full moral pass from me as I was a bit uncomfortable with the alluded to animal sacrifices in the pre-credits open (thankfully not shown on-screen); which disturbs me far, far more than brutal scenes involving dismembered body parts. With those exceptions, it was still a very solid entry into the Evil Dead series. There’s a few treats for fans, as well as, some gory treats for fans of bloody films/shows such as Saw and The Walking Dead. Evil Dead is a series that I really love, and hosting a movie night screening of Army of Darkness in college led to me meeting my future wife and we even had people sign a poster of the movie at our wedding…. Needless to say, I have a major fanboy protection of the series, but this new entry has earned it’s place in the series as well as my respect.
Overall, I’d say if you like the original movie or its sequels, it’s definitely a can’t miss film so go see it AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, STAY AFTER THE END CREDITS!!!!