Evil Dead Movie Review
Limbs will be removed. Tongues will be cut. Heads will be chainsawed. The Evil Dead remake is here, and it is one of the goriest movies ever put to film. But is it, as the marketing has so boldly promised, "the most terrifying film you will ever experience"? The answer is a clear "no," but it still serves as a mildly entertaining splatterfest - as long as you find limbs being forcibly removed, tongues getting cut and chainsaws impaling heads entertaining.
Evil Dead shares the same basic premise of Sam Raimi's original, with several noticeable alterations. The film is of course set in a derelict cabin in the woods across a bridge that will inevitably get washed away, but this time around, the twenty-somethings are not there for fun - they are helping their friend Mia (Jane Levy) go cold turkey after a nearly fatal drug overdose.
The change is an interesting one, because it takes much longer for the others to acknowledge she has been possessed by a demon. It also turns her brother David, the lead protagonist (Shiloh Fernandez) into a wishy washy hero at best, because he can't bring himself to do what obviously needs to be done: kill the bitch.
Oh, and the filmmakers made the wise decision to not recast horror god Bruce Campbell - they've left Ash out of the story altogether.
Comparisons aside, Evil Dead manages to entertain in a nihilistic way while bringing very little new to the table. In fact, the first part of the movie epitomizes everything that Cabin in the Woods made fun of - namely reading from strange books and making other stupid decisions - which is actually a step back from the original. The rest of the movie proceeds with one brutal death after the next, mixed with other elements that seem straight out of The Exorcist.
As mentioned earlier, the main character David is obnoxious and weak-minded; by the end the audience was screaming and laughing at him for being about as inane and moronic as a horror character can be. Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), the idiot who read from the evil book in the first place, actually offers some reprieve from his friend's stupidity, but it's clear that he isn't intended to survive.
Nonetheless, Evil Dead works well on a superficial level. It isn't as clever nor as memorable as the original, nor is it as fun, but the film is slickly directed , fast paced and unrelenting in its approach. The gruesome deaths get gorier as the film goes along, and there are a few legitimately jumpy moments (but only a few). As horror movies go, the Evil Dead remake could have been a lot worse.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.