Movie Review: Evil Dead

I’ve never been one to be against remakes.  If they’re good, you have a new great movie, and if they suck, then go watch the original.  It’s really a no lose situation in my book.  But when this Evil Dead remake was announced, most fans inevitably cried foul and didn’t want to see their sacred franchise possibly ruined.  Well with the remake finally here, could director Fede Alvarez and company possibly live up to all the fan’s expectations?  Yes and so much more!

This time around, the premise is a young woman, Mia, is taken to a cabin in the woods by her brother and 3 friends for a much needed drug intervention.  I liked the initial setup so that these kids weren’t out just looking to get wasted and have a good time, and that made them a little more relatable.  With that being said, the film missed out on that opportunity, and the characters are the only aspect I can complain about.  Mia (Jane Levy) does a great job in the lead, but her friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) are pretty ambiguous and not too memorable.  Shiloh Fernandez is also serviceable as Mia’s brother David, and Lou Taylor Pucci does a good job as Eric.  I just didn’t like Eric’s character all that much due to the ridiculous amount of work he had to exert just to read the Book of the Dead.  It’s written in Latin and scrawled with “Don’t read this out loud”, why would you read it?  But hey, without him Evil Dead would just be a buddy movie out in the woods, so more power to him.  End of complaint!

The strongest trait of Evil Dead is obviously the gore.  This movie is filled to the brim with blood, blood, dismemberment, and more blood.  The opening scene starts off with a bang and once the evil finally gets unleashed, Evil Dead really hits its stride and doesn’t look back.  The amount of blood and carnage they fit into 90 minutes is nothing less than astounding for an R rating.  We get limbs chopped off, faces cut through, wicked burns and pus-filled sores, and a nail gun not quite used how it was meant for.   I can’t think of another studio release that has been this gruesome, and I can only think of a few movies period that are on its level of in-your-face gore as Evil Dead.  The finale literally rains blood from the sky, and it took a few minutes out of the theater to shake the giddy smile off my face.

Everything else that can be said about the movie is all praiseworthy.  The cinematography lends some great shots and really plays to the intensity of the film.  The score is haunting and near perfect in my opinion.  The tone is played as a much more serious and scary fashion.  There are a few dark-comedy laughs thrown in there though.  The tension builds throughout and leads to an intense finale that left the audience applauding in the end.

In comparison to the original Evil Dead, this remake improves on a few points, but also misses out on some.  The original had a much creepier atmosphere that the remake could never quite capture.  I also liked the original’s use of the tape player to unleash the Deadites which is much more believable compared to Eric seeming almost determined to unleash Hell in the newer version.  The remake more than makes up for that with the sheer amount of violence though.  The self-dismemberment aspect of the new Deadites led to a lot of impressive scenes that had most of the packed theater squirming in their seats.  Special effects have come a long way since 1981, and that’s one of Evil Dead’s strong points as everything is top notch here.  When it comes down to it, however, the new Evil Dead is a film that completely stands on its own, all while paying loving homages to the original.

I can go on and on about how great Evil Dead is, but I’ll just simply say go see this movie.  It’s the type of movie horror fans have been waiting for a long time to see in theaters.  It’s an intense and thrilling ride that will leave you either scared of the creepy Deadites, or giggling like a school girl at the onscreen blood bath.  I can’t guarantee every mega fan of the original will wholly love this new take on the Evil Dead universe, but this could be the movie to change the minds of all the remake curmudgeons out there.  I genuinely hope that this movie blows up the box office so studios realize there is a market for these types of movies.  Evil Dead opens everywhere April 5.

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