Evil Dead. (2013). Run Time: 91 mins. MPAA: R (for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexuality, and language.) Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore. Written by Fede Alvarez and Diablo Cody. Directed by Fede Alvarez.
Remember the movie that Drew Goddard directed and wrote alongside Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon last year entitled The Cabin in the Woods? If you’re a horror movie fan, I’m certain you do. Whedon and Goddard’s love for horror and hate for what modern cinema has made it is something special and their project strictly for horror movie junkies is something for the ages. Well, incase you didn’t know, their inspiration for the film was Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead. At least the premise, which focused on a group of teens that go to a cabin in the woods and encounter evil things. From there, The Cabin in the Woods went somewhere entirely different. But it’s okay. Raimi’s classic still remains intact. After all, it’s not necessarily that film that Cabin makes fun of. It’s the seemingly endless supply of teenagers-go-get-drunk-and-party-and-have-sex-in-a-cabin-and-brutally-die movies that made Whedon and Goddard decide to start that project. So, when I review the 2013 remake of The Evil Dead, simply titled Evil Dead, I will not rant, as I would with any other movie with the same premise, about the rehashing of the same boring plot point we have been suffering through for over thirty years. I will not do that because this is a remake, therefore there is nothing special or different to be expected. And after reading the stories of this movie being one of the goriest and most graphic horror movies ever made and the stories of people fainting in the audience, I became a little curious as to what exactly I was going to get. Well, I have seen it, and my God, what an experience it was.
I will first kick off this review by saying that I, a horror movie fan, have not seen the original film by Sam Raimi. Go ahead and hate me fan boys, I deserve this one. I intend to watch it, but cannot seem to find it anywhere. But I will, needless to say. I do, however, know the premise to the film and have seen various images and scenes, so it’s not like I went into this revamped and technologically updated version of Evil Dead blind. I knew the story, and I got something completely different. Instead of getting a horror movie that was character and story driven last like 2012’s genuinely scary Sinister, I got a 91 minute blood-fest, and I am not exaggerating when I say a blood-fest. There is actually a scene where it rains blood. Literally. Pair that someone cutting her jaw open and a chainsaw going through someone’s mouth, and you have the gist of what you’re in for in Evil Dead.
Now if you know me, you will know that I am someone who prefers that action movies have storyline to back up the fighting and special effects shown. Which would be why I hate the second and third Transformers movies. In relation, I also like for horror movies to be more dependant on the chilling atmosphere and creepy effectiveness than random blood and guts filling the framing in an effort to do nothing more than gross out the audience. Fortunately, Evil Dead finds a way to put that philosophy of mine to rest as I can say this movie has the most blood I have seen in a movie in a long time, maybe ever. Yes, there is a lot of blood. So be warned. If you don’t take blood well, don’t see this movie. But the funny thing about it is, I never found it to be unnecessary. This movie knew exactly what it wanted to be and when it was all said and done it all worked out for the best. Is this the best horror movie in years? Absolutely not. It comes nowhere close to Insidious, Drag Me To Hell (also directed by Sam Raimi, director of the original Evil Dead and producer of the remake), and Sinister, and as all of those movies are actually scary, this movie is not scary. So you may ask, “If this is a horror movie and it’s not scary, then why are you giving it a positive review?” The answer lies in the editing, acting, makeup, and lighting. Those aspects are what made this movie good.
The performances of the main characters were good when compared to most movies released in this genre, and all the cast members were very involved. In particular, Jane Levy’s performance as the possessed girl. She gave a believable performance and it was fun to watch the whole time. In terms of lighting, I found the dark gray and ominous vibe this film pushed to be engrossing and demanding of the eyes. It was certainly something that made it stand out in my eyes. And the final point I want to make is the makeup. I can’t help it. The makeup in this movie is off the charts. There are disgusting images sure. Faces are cut open. Arms are cut off. Vines rape a girl. Bodies are cut in half vertically. It’s sick. It’s twisted, yes. But it’s incredibly well done. There wasn’t a moment in this film where I thought it looked fake, impossible, or unrealistic. It all felt real, and when dealing with a film like this, that is the highest compliment.
FINAL VERDICT: Despite the strategic stupidity of the main characters we are introduced to, Evil Dead is a worthy update to the Sam Raimi classic and while watching, Rami’s involvement in the project is undeniably evident. This is nothing more than a blood soaked, gore focused, and gross out horror movie that is more graphic and disgusting than any horror movie I have seen. That would usually be a critical comment, but in a movie like this, it is the highest praise. (B-)