off beat pop cultural affairs, art, plus other nonsense
The original Evil Dead was released in October of ‘81 it was modestly budgeted, but it was The Little Engine That Could of horror movies, and with a budget of just over a quarter million dollars the flick grossed a decent 2.4 million in the U.S. Since its release in ‘81 the film has become something of a genre rite of passage for budding horror aficionados. No true horror fan can call their self such without having watched this gory ferocious little movie. Now, here we are in 2013 three decades later and Evil Dead has decided to rise again, not unlike the characters in its many films. So, is this modern re-telling a worthy addition to the Evil Dead canon, or is it a boring retread to the old cabin in the woods?
Okay, let’s do this, let’s pretend for the rest of the review that this film is not a re-imagining/remake of a celebrated cult classic…..are we good, is your brain bleached of every single Evil Dead memory that resides in your head? I can wait…. good, so let’s proceed as happy amnesiacs in fields full of dandy lions and sunflowers. Evil Dead is a grim, creepy, gory, dark film all on its own right. From the moment the film starts there is a constant sense of dread and foreboding, as we are introduced to the demonic entities in a dramatic fashion. As the characters arrive at the old cabin there is a heavy emotional back drop as to why everyone is there; I will not ruin it for you as the plot it part of the reason I found the movie more enjoyable and grueling. The central plot point keeps you heavily invested in the characters even though some of them might come off as overbearing, sheepish, and seemingly stand offish. It also gives gravity and meaning to the particular ways the demons pick out their victims, let’s just say the characters are possessed in a logical manner, particularly the first person who was possessed.
There seems to have been a consensus reached after the film Cabin in the Woods came out that certain stupid actions would no longer be tolerated in horror films. And for the most part Evil Dead seemed to take note of this, because every time a seemingly stupid thing had to be done there was a particular emotional reason behind it; whether a character’s life was in jeopardy or another character felt guilty about past wrongdoings.I can honestly there was never an instance where somebody heard a creepy noise and went looking for the cause of it. So, look elsewhere for your typical, dumb, stock, horror movie characters.
The story was executed well enough and gives a good enough reason for the characters to be there outside of wicked sex parties and copious drug usage; although there remain some questions about the origins of the book and the demons, but if this becomes a franchise those questions will surely get answered somewhere down the line. The camera work was fantastic especially the chilling frantic P.O.V shots, as well as remaining faithful to the tone of the film via the gloomy aesthetics. A fair caveat you should expect a film that is dark in a figurative and literal sense as well; fret not blind ones as this film is tastefully dark, and “not cave dweller I can’t see a thing” dark. The sound effects were top-notch and chilling; from the carving of flesh to the inhuman bone cracking and demonically distorted voices, you’ll have plenty to jump around about long after the film is over. The acting was above average, especially for a horror flick. Oh, and for my gorehounds out there I am going to quote another horror film in regards to the on-screen carnage, “Oh yes, there will be blood.”
My one major criticism for the film would have to be the fact that it remains firmly in the creepy territory throughout; the one major criticism is that it never truly becomes a genuine fear inducing film. There were jump scares throughout and some truly unsettling moments, but to call it scary it just never gets there. The reason being of course requires me to highlight a modern horror film that managed to unsettle me: Sinister. The reason Sinister was effective can be summed up in one word, which is, mystery. The demon in that film does not show up until half way through, and it is through the unraveling of the mystery that the horror becomes more apparent and potent. Whereas from the get go in Evil Dead we are introduced to these eerie antagonists, and from then on it is a nonstop thrill ride to hell. However, some would argue (myself included) that structurally it would have been difficult for Evil Dead to take the more subtle mysterious route ,as the demons and the blood are the main drawing points for the audience and without those Evil Dead becomes another generic supernatural horror film. So take from that what you will as far as the negatives go.
Overall, the flick was a flipping blast. Fans of the original will NOT be disappointed, and new comers will have a reason to check out the original flicks, at least for comparison purposes. The film is faithful in a sense there are demons and there is an evil book, but other than that I think Evil Dead does a rather good job of standing on its own two feet. I will leave you with an analogy; the original Evil Dead is to the new Evil Dead what The Thing from Another World is to The Thing (the 1980’s version not that horrid prequel made in 2011). Bigger, meaner, bloodier, and scarier; go see it at night, and bring a rain coat because this one gets messy.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Hello familiar stranger! Thanks for reading. Now, as you may know this summer seems to have plenty of awesome looking movies coming out so be sure to check back for my bi monthly movie reviews and keep an eye out for The Torture Sessions volume 1-Birdemic: Shock and Terror coming out this weekend, and surely you know the drill by now follow me on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to the blog right here on this site!! Post post script the Carrie remake looks terrible!!