Evil Dead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Evil Dead Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 22, 2013
Quite possibly the goriest film ever made by a Hollywood studio, Evil Dead is a new Horror classic, a film that accomplishes the nearly impossible task of staying true to the original's roots while standing firmly on its own.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2014
I was a big fan of the original. This was a half decent attempt at doing the original justice, I guess. Worth a look, but if you go into this expecting the imagination and ingenuity of the Sam Raimi trilogy, and the goofball charm of Bruce Campbell, you will walk away disappointed. I was...
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2013
Well, the practical gore effects are well-done, but that's about the only praise that can offered to this unnecessary retread of Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic. Lacks the trashy gothic atmosphere, creatively intense cinematography, dark humor, or unpredictable nature of the original (so many scenes and scenarios are recycled that it feels like at times I'm watching an Evil Dead clip-show than a stand alone flick). What was once wicked fun has now been reduced to a joyless exercise in torture porn with bland characters. Pointless and forgettable, this 2013 remake of a classic is all guts and no glory.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2013
A reboot of the very original Evil Dead film which was rebooted once already with 'Evil Dead II', so this is the second reboot. Major changes are afoot this time round as the comedy is out, kicked to the curb, Bruce Campbell's 'Ash' is also out, Raimi is replaced and of course the plot has been tinkered with slightly.

Apart from a few changes here and there the plot is basically the same. Group of young adults stay in a broken down old cabin in the depth of some creepy woods. One accidentally unleashes the evil demons that dwell within the woods and they are drawn into a bloody game of staying alive. Question is which character will be the new hero? or will there be one at all?.

So the big change here is of course the direction for the film as a whole, no more daft effects, no more goofy moments of schlock, no more slapstick...its all very serious. Does this change please a fan like me? well yes and no. I adored the comedy aspect of the original errr...sequels, horror comedy is a fantastic genre that seems to work so well. When I found out this aspect would be taken away I was disappointed and worried, Evil Dead is horror comedy much like 'An American Werewolf in London'. I won't beat around the bush, this film does work in a serious manner, and I was surprised truth be told. That said I'm not sure I liked it outright.

Thing is why do this? the original films are classic and I'm sure another sequel would have been terrific and much anticipated. Now we know they are doing 'Army of Darkness 2' (aka Evil Dead 4) so again I must ask, why do this?. The serious switch does work but it does come across as unoriginal in terms of visuals...and yes I know you must expect that with a remake. What I mean is the glossy, slick, shiny, sharp visuals just don't fit this franchise in my view. The gore effects are excellent and do enhance the film no doubt but it just looked like many other previous big name reboots (you know the ones). That is what set the franchise apart, the shoddy tacky visuals, without them it loses its appeal somewhat and just falls in line with every other gore/torture porn horror flick.

A good example would be at the start when the group enters the cabin and discovers the basement full of hanging dead animals. This whole intro sequence just felt like a complete rip off from various films like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', the sequence just made me think I've seen this before, I've been here before, why is this in here?.

I know this debate is kinda old now but it is an important issue as a fan and I just can't ignore it. So yes the serious real horror approach is solid, but its not Evil Dead for me, it didn't feel right. On the whole the film does look good and it is recognisable, as said the gore effects are very good, but why lose that classic Raimi demonic look?. The new CGI (?) eyes on the possessed characters looked awful, like something outta 'Lord of the Rings', it wasn't anywhere near as eerie as the all white eyes previously.

I also thought there were a bit too many self mutilations going on, I don't think the possessed really needed to do that, it felt cheap, easy shock tactics. I much preferred the full mask type look in the previous films where characters tended to look more like mutant witches. There were some really nice moments of looming dread though, some moments where you really did wonder how on earth the living characters would get outta this pickle. Some of the undead attacks were nasty, the syringe attack was a particularly wincing little sequence as was the nail gun sequence. I gotta admit I was never really sure which of the characters (if any) would make it to the end and be our new Ash...or equivalent of sorts (although I did suspect a gender change naturally).

Some things didn't add up to me either. It is said you can free someone from possession by killing them, this tends to indicate that a dead body can't be possessed or simply isn't for whatever reason. Yet one dead character is possessed which felt like a contradiction. This leads me to the fact they bury one character 'alive' (or while possessed) to 'kill' her so the demon leaves her body. But these possessed bodies seem pretty invincible when a demon inhabits them, bullets, knives, boiling water etc...doesn't stop them, so why would simply burying them do it?. Lastly, the small sequence where the last male character has his little A-Team moment and builds a defibrillator from odd bits and bobs hanging around to revive a dead character. Yeah its possible I'm sure and he could have the medical knowledge but it just seemed a bit too far at the time. Of all the madness and gore splattering going on that was one moment that just felt too silly to me.

I can't leave it at that though, the ending was an anti climax in my opinion. I read about the chainsaw ending and how it was suppose to be an awesome rock show of body chopping and blood. So as we loomed up to it I was thinking lots of demons popping up for a good chainsaw battle, a huge alpha demon?, maybe going down the crazy ass classic route a bit just for the crossover possibilities...no. The finale was average at best, the big 'Abomination' was a damp squib and was easily dispatched with the whirring chainsaw of death.

So its very 50/50 for me, I liked the new approach, it is a good film, but it just didn't really feel like Evil Dead to me. I knew what to expect and I knew there would be modern day cliches and idea ripping (as usual) and I got exactly that. A good horror film in its own right, one of the better remakes for sure, but its not The Evil Dead even though I knew it wasn't meant to be exactly the same, its still hard to accept it with the same title.

They don't half go overboard with the hand chopping though. I know its obviously a homage to the sequels but sheesh! take it easy guys, no need to cram the fact down our throats, we get it.

Stay to the very end of the credits for a kick ass surprise.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2013
Five kids go to a cabin in the woods, read incantations from an evil tome lying around in the basement, get possessed, and start killing each other. The best thing that can be said for this technically adept but utterly unnecessary remake is that is achieves the minimum level of quality necessary to avoid embarrassing the EVIL DEAD franchise.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2013
A post-credits cameo from Bruce Campbell can't salvage this flaccid remake of Sam Raimi's landmark film. Ever since 'Cabin in the Woods' lampooned the horror genre with a rapier wit, the cliche of oblivious-young-people-reciting-incantations feels like a retroactive step backwards for the evil-possession category. Even for a midnight-cult movie, the characters have undergone a frontal lobotomy when they elect to reside in the cabin when they could've detoxed Mia in the heavily populated city. Of course, rather than stratifying the ante on terror, newcomer Fede Alvarez heightens the exaggerated gore to sickeningly ludicrous levels without an ironic sense of humor (a nail gun scene and needle-piercing attack are the repulsively gross-out standouts). The tree-rape is merely a grim reproduction of the predecessor's campy scene. The introduction of a makeshift defibrillator really stretches one's suspension-of-disbelief. Soulless is probably the best word to describe this incarnation of 'Evil Dead' and the low-budget charm of the 1981 paragon has been substituted with inane character actions and disgustingly preposterous buckets of viscera.
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2013
The amount of gore in this film, and its style of delivery, made me feel like I was watching some late 70's B-movie...which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The first thirty minutes were incredibly boring, but it got better.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2013
Itâ??s been over 30 years since director Sam Raimi gave us his cult horror classic â??The Evil Deadâ?? in 1981. Now, like most other films of the genre, we are given the unavoidable remake. Raimi is on-hand again, with producing duties, but the same can said of most remakes, in that they neednâ??t have bothered in the first place.
In order to kick her heroine habit, Mia (Jane Levy) and a few friends head to a remote cabin away from society and any temptations. Itâ??s here, that they stumble upon some strange goings on in the cellar and find the Book of the Dead, which once opened, releases a demon intent on possessing them all.
The difference between this and the stylishly imaginative original, is that Raimiâ??s was shot on a shoestring budget by a bunch of college students, intent on experimenting and pushing boundaries. This, on the other hand, throws in the bucks and itâ??s use of gratuitous gore simply doesnâ??t have the same impact or originality of itâ??s tongue-in-cheek predecessor. The approach that debutant director Alvarez takes is the filmâ??s biggest issue: it has an innate inability to laugh at itself. Itâ??s far too serious and as a result has to be judged on that. Itâ??s one of those horrors were you know not to expect logic, reasoning or any form of a sensible decision by itâ??s characters. Theyâ??re merely there as fodder for some soul devouring evil entity. It is what it is, and thatâ??s fine, but when you ask an audience to fully commit themselves, then you have to offer them something in return. If it was in touch with itâ??s sense of humour then this could have been a wild ride in a similar vein to â??The Cabin in the Woodsâ??. Unfortunately, it isnâ??t and its serious, po-faced approach comes across as ludicrous. Added to which, itâ??s a horror film that has very few genuine frights, a surprising lack of suspense and itâ??s use of jump scares are glaringly obvious and redundant. To be fair, it does bring some laughs to the table, but those laughs are entirely unintentional.
One for the torture-porn generation that have no interest in characterisation or plot development. Itâ??s main agenda is to deliver gore and plenty of it. In that respect, it delivers but on every other level it fails miserably. Unequivocally, the worst film of 2013.

Mark Walker
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2012
Finding a strong horror remake is very difficult these days, Evil Dead is a good example of that rare film. Filled with gruesome scenes of violence and horror, as well as being very cringe worthy throughout the film, it kept me gripped and didn't leave me disappointed. Thanks to the vision of Fede Alavarez , the visuals seen in this movie have gone back to old school effects, meaning very little/no CGI was used. This gore fest also featured a strong yet gut wrenching performance by Jane Levy. For hardcore fans, this may not top the standards of original for you, however, there are plenty of references towards the horror classic.What I particularly liked about this film is that you can see it as a decent stand alone film to newcomers of the Evil Dead franchise. At the same time, the references to the original indicate that this could even be seen to be set in the same universe as the classic original trilogy, so you don't have to worry about any of the classic being rewritten. Jam-packed with buckets of blood, moments of intensity and horrific fates for these poor souls, Evil Dead has been one hellish ride that I will return to hopefully soon.
NOTE: Stay behind after the credits!
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2013
It takes a lot of nerve to try and re-make Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead". Made in 1979-1980, it was Raimi's feature length debut and was overflowing with creativity and passion, in spite of it's low budget. It attained a "cult status", becoming banned in several countries for it's brutality (but in reality, much of the horror came from the film-maker's technique, rather than cheap, exploitative shock). But Raimi is no longer a fresh-faced kid making exuberant movies just to satisfy some inner passion, he's an established hollywood producer, and making movies is a big time, money-making endeavor. Along with fellow producer Bruce Campbell (star of the original "Evil Dead" series), and a screenplay co-written by the director, Fede Alvarez and Diablo Cody (the ex-stripper best known for writing the oscar-winning screenplay for "Juno"), Raimi gives us a re-make that is tailor-made for today's horror movie box office. As released, it's one of the purest examples of torture porn I've seen in awhile, and I've seen Hostel, the Rob Zombie Halloween re-make, Chainsaw Massacre 3D, The Devil's Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses (Rob Zombie's films excel in this particular field), Cabin Fever (which this especially reminded me of), etc etc, the list goes on and on.

As the movie opens, five good-looking twenty-somethings go off to stay in some secluded cabin wayyy up in the woods somewhere. "Why?", you ask? It's not to party, but to help one of their friends recover from a drug addiction. While they sit around, comforting her, the dog uncovers a blood-stained trap door under the rug, that leads down into a pit filled with animal carcasses and an evil book. One of the particularly bright kids opens up the book, bleeds on it, and then recites the ancient resurrection passage that is clearly marked "do not read". Of course you know what happens after that. What you don't know is just how indifferent it all seems. As limbs are hacked off and eyeballs stabbed with needles, the characters seem less involved with what's going on up on the screen than the audience is expected to be. Look, I'm not making a value judgement: if you get off on seeing people sadistically murdered, or even if you're terrified by it, fine, but can't filmmakers just come up with new ideas instead of retreading the same waters over and over and over again? I didn't enjoy this re-make, and if it's not going to be better than the original, why bother with it at all?
Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2013
Neither funny nor scary, Evil Dead is a mediocre remake and a disappointing one after all the hype leading up to its release. Some people actually thought this movie was scary, let alone one of the scariest movies of all time? Give me a break. The original was frequently funny and not meant to be taken seriously and when you take those aspects of the film out, all you have left over is the gore. That's really all this film has since it doesn't have the manic energy and fun performance from Bruce Campbell that's almost iconic. Taking the same material and trying to put a serious spin on it simply did not work. None of the actors really do much other than get drenched in gore and all of them are hard to root for. The cinematography is excellent and the scenery is nice, but the positive aspects of the film are only skin deep. There's nothing at the core of the movie to excite the average horror aficionado. I'll admit that a couple of scenes made me squirm, but nothing scared me at all and moments that were funny in the original still made laugh, but I wasn't "supposed to be" since everything is played straight in this version. I just couldn't help but wish this film didn't play things straight. I can't recommend this and I wouldn't expect many fans of the original to like it.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2012
An almost direct adaptation from the Sam Raimi 1981 original, "Evil Dead" is as diabolically freaky as one would expect with all the updated effects, and doesn't lack the creepiness of the original. What it loses, and to a detrimental cost, is the campiness that subverted the original indie gem, making it one of the best low budget horror films of all time. I will say that the sequel, "Evil Dead 2" did it better, did it funnier, and made an indelible impression, but it didn't up the effects or lose its fun attitude. This remake takes all the fun out of it, and instead ups the gore quotient by 200%. There are some very inventive, and somewhat perverted acts, deaths, and mutilations to this film; to its credit. Still, any new version of the original was going to lose some of its off-the-wall energy, and does replicate how the original was also crass and tried new things. While not everything in this new film follows the dictum of the original, it does replicate some beloved and iconic imagery, including the tree rape, the Book of the Dead, and locking the demon in the cellar. This film is scary, especially to the squeamish, and has some seriously demonic and horrifying imagery that cannot be unseen. Most of the film doesn't build up its characters, and instead makes them bodies, which is a really irritating quality in most horror films made in the past several years. One of the characters gets offed fairly quickly, and though it was creative, it was also far too rushed. Many of the deaths and possessions happen in a rushed way that limits how scary some scenes are. What saves it from only having a reputation for pure gore is the fantastic ending, which changes the original story and makes it so much better. It was such a surprise, and though endings usually don't save films, this one so does.
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2013
A balls-out, insanely gory and violent remake of the classic Sam Raimi 1981 cult-film about five twenty-somethings who venture into the woods to stay at a cabin for the weekend, only to discover that they have accidentally awoken demons from their slumber who want their blood. This remake stays true to the original in certain parts, but still carves out a nice place for itself with some original horror ideas that help drive it into "Dead Alive" territory for its sheer craziness and bloodletting nature. While the character development is pretty bad (as is the case in most horror films), and the "book" is not used as consistently as it should be as a rule-setter, this is still a really well done horror movie that leaves nothing behind by the time the credits roll. Originally this film was rated NC-17 because of its violence before it was trimmed down some, so that should be a warning sign to anyone that if you don't like horror films or blood, stay away from this. If you enjoy horror movies, you should like this one, even if the characters are probably a little worse when compared to the original, it is still a pretty insane movie to watch.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2013
Four stars
Super Reviewer
November 20, 2012
A gloriously bloody and extremely exhilarating horror movie masterpiece that blows you away. It's loaded with blood-boiling suspense and unrelenting terror from start to finish. It has some engaging character moments along with some great natural effects and no CGI. One of hell of a heart-racing thrill-machine that pays great tribute to the original classic. A brilliant re-interpretation. One of greatest horror movies ever made. Producers, Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi give Director, Fede Alvarez the freedom to work his magic and have creative control of the piece and craft an unforgettable film. They at long last made the horror film they have always wanted to make. A mind-blowing and feverish gore-fest. A stylish, humorless and blood-drenched ride.
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2013
It seems like Alvarez didn't really get what made the original movie so successful, as he eliminates all the bizarre humor that made it so much fun and now goes for a bloodbath of pure gore that relies on ridiculous cheap scares and is entirely derivative.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2013
In a post "Cabin in the Woods" world, a remake of Raimi's "The Evil Dead" seems like a counterintuitive idea. One shouldn't let the state of the genre effect their experience though, and it turns out Fede Alvarez's update "Evil Dead" is pretty good as far as horror remakes go. I always felt that what the original needed most was (much) better effects to really sell the blood and gore, and in that respect, this edition gave me exactly what I wanted. Especially impressive is the absence of special effects - these days, one might expect practical effects it to cheapen the experience, but in fact it is the horror movies that are over-reliant on CGI (take "Mama" as a recent example) that feel false. The filmmakers avoid underestimating the audience's ability to pick up on what's computer-generated and what's practical, and as a result there is texture and weight behind the gorefest. The characters (already not the strongest part of the series) are terrible this time around, lacking any semblance of a unique personalities. You are given absolutely no reason to want any of them to live; luckily, you can probably tell how it will end up for most of them from the get-go.
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2013
I don't really have a decisive stance on this one. The story can sometimes be dull, but when it does kick in with its awesome visuals, it suddenly becomes good again. It had a couple of funny moments as well which I liked as well. All in all, it was decent.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2013
Sam Raimi's breakthrough trilogy starring Bruce Campbell as the iconic Ashley James "Ash" Williams stands as one of my all-time favorite movie franchises. As skeptical as I was at first, it comes as great relief that "Evil Dead" from first time helmer Fede Alvarez is an admirable re-imagining. It's so good in fact that it left me wondering why it wasn't even better.

Alvarez nails it visually and creates a stellar atmosphere. Acceptably made horror movies are a rarity these days, and beautiful looking, technically sound ones are even harder to come by. "Evil Dead" is such a film. From it's disorienting opening credits shot, to it's foggy exteriors, and dark brooding interiors, this film looks great. The quality of the production draws us in. Most important in a film like this though is the gore, and on this level (for a wide release), the film is bested by few others. This is pretty much as vicious as mainstream horror gets. Things become pretty messy pretty quick. The blending of ques-inducing prosthetics and integrated digital effects is superb. Gore hounds will be pleased.

The cast is also game, especially the two leads. Shiloh Fernandez is a solid presence and hero; he's not Bruce Campbell, but he holds his own. Jane Levy (of TV "Suburgatory") announces herself as a great new talent. She's the center of the film's advertising campaign for a reason. Levy shifts between playing vulnerable, to distressed, and menacing with ease. She's truly the films strongest asset next too Alvarez's razor sharp direction. The film pits Fernandez and Levy as siblings, which is not only a smart play against the usual horror setup, but brings welcome emotional weight as well.

Unfortunately, "Evil Dead" stumbles a bit on it's own good intentions. It tries to appeal to both modern horror fan and both casual and hardcore aficionados of the Raimi originals. The blending isn't always harmonious.

Alvarez makes it clear that his vision for the film lies within the visceral instead of the camp. He nails this on a technical level but throughout feels the need to evoke the humor of the original trilogy. This feels like a cop out. Everything about the production hints at a serious movie, including it's setup. The humor in the latter half feels forced as if not to upset fans of "Evil Dead 2" in particular. I like the visual nods to that classic, but the tonal shift undermine what Alvarez seemingly set out to do (and what early hype had promised). It needs to be mentioned that "Evil Dead" IS NOT scary in the least (advertising be damned). This is majorly disappointing, but it's style and spectacle are in the right place, and that goes a long way. A shame then that it makes compromises to be something it's not.

Various nods abound, but Alvarez should have evoked Raimi's pacing, since it is pacing that is EVIL DEAD's biggest flaw. In the 1981 franchise starter (and in it's sequel), the film never let up after the "grueling terror" commenced. Here, we go from messy set piece to the next with prolonged tension-breaking gaps in between. It's as if the characters forget just how dire their situation is, and instead opt to sit around a wait to get butchered! It's like riding one of those haunted carnival coasters, only to have it break down every couple of minutes and spoil the momentum. A role reversal in the film's final stretch also felt like a cheat.

For horror pictures specifically, I can forgive a heap of flaws as long as the film delivers ample entertainment value, style, and an attempt at characterization and a quality narrative. In this way "Evil Dead" is one of my favorite films of the genre in sometime.

Despite not being "the most terrifying film you will ever experience" or as good as the films that inspired it, "Evil Dead" shakes up multiplex horror with stellar carnage, phenomenal technical merrits, and characters who are actually well rendered.
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