Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
If you have seen enough horror films, you are well aware of the old plot where five friends go to an abandoned cabin in the woods and all hell breaks loose. With the rise in popularity of zombies, it was about time for a remake of the classic low budget horror fest known as The Evil Dead. Do not be confused as this one drops the “The” and is just Evil Dead. Mia (Levy) is battling a cocaine addiction and her friends Olivia (Lucas) and Eric (Pucci) take her to a cabin in an intervention type escape from her every day life. Low and behold her brother David (Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Blackmore) arrive as a surprise to Mia. Mia and David do not have the best relationship so that adds some tension to the mix. Oh yes, let us not forget about their dog. Did I mention that they are in the middle of the woods with nothing around?
Late one dark evening, the dog starts sniffing around the carpet in the middle of the room. The guys pull up the rug to find a bloody cellar door. Naturally, they open it and the wafting smell overpowers the room. Eric and David go into the cellar to find numerous dead cat carcasses hanging from the ceiling among other treasures. Eric picks up a package that appears to be wrapped in a black trash bag with barbed wire over it. Inside contains a book covered in human flesh. Upon opening it, Eric reads many messages in red warning him not to continue reading. A plea to not awaken the evil that surrounds them. We wouldn’t have a movie if he actually listened and took those to heart. He reads the incantations out loud not knowing he is summoning the demons. Mia struggles with her addiction and her withdrawals send her into a panic attack out into the woods to escape. That demon comes out, rapes, and possesses Mia in a twisted way in an ode to the original film. The possessed Mia makes her way back to the cabin and infects the others.
The tagline on the poster reads “The most terrifying film you will ever experience.” I beg to differ. I suppose if gallons upon gallons of blood terrify you, then sure, you will find this movie to be the most terrifying film you will ever experience. We are in a phase with horror movies where torture porn and buckets of blood seem to be a standard. It seems to be the new craze with the likes of the Saw and Hostel movies reaching popularity. Evil Dead may just take the cake on being the most gruesome film I have ever experienced, yet somehow I was bored.
I sat throughout the film being torn and conflicted. I wanted to like it and I felt like I should be raving about it, but I just could not get into it. It has been a few years since I saw the original which I cannot decide if that is a good thing or not. If a horror movie is remade, I want to try to enjoy it on its own merit. One of the main things the movie does have going for it is that it is not a direct remake of the original. The main theme and framework is there, but the characters are different and there are a few twists thrown in. The original film had a ridiculously small budget that provided some good camp and cheese to the special effects. This one has been given money to spend on the make-up and blood effects. Original director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell are two of the producers of the film and specifically chose Fede Alvarez to direct it. Instead of playing into the recipe that has made the original the success and cult following it has, they turned to the modern age of horror films and fit the Evil Dead concept into this era. I can get behind that but I still wanted more. When you have a story that is already far-fetched, you can really play into the dark comedy in the dialogue and in the way people are killed. There were moments of hilarious one-liners and times when the deaths were even more ridiculous and over the top. I loved those moments and wanted the film to continue in that direction. I suppose you could say that each death is over the top in nature but I wanted each one dialed up to 11 or even 12. Limbs are dismembered left and right and a tongue is slit in half, but I still wanted more creativity behind each one.
RATING: * (1 out of 5 stars)