Evil Dead Reviews
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.
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.
NOTE: Stay behind after the credits!
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?
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.