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Evil Dead (2013)

evil_dead_2013_by_myrmorko-d5j4g87Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.

Being a horror fan often means you are part of a select crowd. We’ve all started off the same way; we watched ‘the classics’ like Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th and many more.
But then there’s this moment when you realize that the well is drying up.

You start to look for good horror on the internet, in books, and sooner rather than later you come across cult classics such as ‘The Evil Dead’.
Like I said, being a horror fan means you’re part of a select group of people. We know that most people don’t tend to like horrormovies that much, let alone the ones that branch off from what people think is horror.

It’s because of that fact that some movies are cherished beyond belief and the original ‘Evil Dead’ sure is one of them. Shot on a low budget by Sam Raimi (who later went on to direct such hits as ‘Spider-Man) and with the iconic Bruce Campbell as Ash, Evil Dead quickly became a huge hit amongst horrorfans.
So when it was announced in late 2011 that the movie would be remade, the internet cried foul.
The fact that Raimi (along with Campbell as the producers of this flick) chose Fede Alvarez to be the director didn’t help. A first-time movie director, Alvarez didn’t have what you call a head start.

It wasn’t until the red band trailer hit us late 2012 that a lot of nay sayers got a sign that Alvarez was doing a pretty good job. With his professed hatred against CGI and with a boatload of gore in that aforementioned trailer, we all sat eagerly waiting to see the finished product.

‘Evil Dead’ uses the same basic ingredients as the original.
That means we get 5 people in a remote cabin in the woods that find a book of the dead, which unleashes hell on them. Younger horrorfans might watch this and have that aha! moment if they’ve seen the rather funny ‘Cabin in the woods’ last year, because guess what kids? What did you think that title and cabin referenced in the first place!

This time around we get our main lead Mia, she is a recovering drug addict who is forced by her friends to go cold turkey at the cabin that her family owns.
Her brother shows up after a relatively long time away from her to help get her clean.
It’s not shortly thereafter that the dog they brought (called grandpa <- I giggled) starts sniffing and scratching on the floor and the group finds a cellar hidden under the cabin.
A book covered in a garbagebag and locked with barbed wire gets the attention of Eric so he decides to take it upstairs and open it. Basically, from that moment onwards, as Eric slowly uncovers the book and utters the phrases he shouldn’t, Evil gets unleashed and the movie becomes a non stop rollercoaster.
evil-dead-jessica-lucas1After seeing the trailer I was anticipating the fact that I might have seen all the big scares and reveals and yes, to some point I did, what’s fun though is that because the MCAA board in America deemed the movie to gory they had to change the rating from NC17 to R. This means that some footage got replaced and many things from the trailer will be edited back in for the impending Bluray release.

The movie is still relentless in its horror though. I’ve seen a lot of horror and I do mean a lot, and while gore doesn’t necessarily mean that the movie is good, I doubt any real horrorfan would be bored by the total batshit crazyness that is going on in front of their eyes. From puking blood to several heavy self mutilation scenes, it really does manage to make you go wtf for several times in a row.

Watching it in a theatre can make it a better experience as well.
Part of the reasonining as to why I am reviewing this so late on is because I was hesitant to go to the cinema and have the movie ruined by people yelling or laughing at stuff that’s meant to be dead serious. But either I was lucky or, and I think this is the actual reason, the movie just doesn’t give you the time to laugh. Nervous laughter was heard here and there but the movie immediately tightens the grip after loosening it for a second.

As far as the comparisons to the original go, there are some clever nods and winks at us fans. Such as the deer head, the deck of cards, the old car which Mia is first seen sitting on, the tape playing at the credits, the after credits scene and several others.

I also should add that Mia (played by Jane Levy) is definitely one of the highlights of the movie.evil-dead-picture01
She screams, pukes, bites, whistles, sings, stabs..man, I really think she has done a terrific job bringing the character to life. On top of that, the supporting cast does a decent job too.
Come to think of it; clever viewers who line up the names of the group of friends, David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, Natalie will know that their names aren’t a coincidence either.

With a movie like this there always are a few moments that’ll make you roll your eyes for the sheer stupidity of the characters, but by making Mia a recovering drug addict a lot of the pitfalls are covered.
They are adamant to making Mia kick the habit and when she starts seeing things, well..wouldn’t you think it’d be in her imagination?

So when you add it all up, is Evil Dead a good remake?
No, it’s not so much a remake as it is a reboot, and with its tone shifted from tongue in cheek humor in the original to relentless horror in the reboot, you can’t help but wonder how the inevitable (and already mentioned) sequel to this will top it.
It’s a miracle that it even made it to theaters with an R rating when you see the stuff they pull off.
With a 7.0 on IMDb, which in itself is remarkable since horror movies are always dealt with low grades, it seems that the crowd wants more of this as well.

Great practical effects, plenty of hommages and love for the original, great performances by the cast and especially Jane Levy, gore gore and ow did I mention gore?
Horrorfans should rejoice, this is definitely one of the highlights of this year in horror.

9/10 stars!

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Evil Dead (2013)

  1. “Relentless Horror” Hmm…I am so there. Good write up as usual, Paul. A 9 out of 10? Wow. You were impressed I see. Good to see you back, man!

    Posted by Victor De Leon | May 19, 2013, 19:11

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