I think it is important for me to start by saying just how against this remake/re-imagining I was; I thought it was unnecessary & unwelcome. I found it irritating that because I am huge horror/gore fan that I would automatically like this movie as if those 2 things are always capable of creating a quality movie.
I found it frustrating that my disdain for the lack of original & fresh ideas was called into question just because I wouldn’t support a movie that was bucking the horror trend in 2013.
For the record a remake of a classic movie does not constitute a fresh idea, in fact it is the laziest way of all. People told me that Evil Dead was the saviour of horror as if it was in need of saving. I even bought into the belief that the new cycle of horror was beginning, the gore years but with the most recent releases being more haunted/possession movies I guess I was wrong.
Horror has always had its ups & downs…whenever an idea is successful it is abused until there is no money left in it. Look at the zombie genre as an example…
So the question has to be asked…what changed my mind? Simple, I wanted to be able to judge it properly as a horror movie & not just a remake that I never wanted. Did I enjoy it? For a while. Did I come away supportive of future horror remakes? No way.
The movie opens with a hurt girl staggering through the woods before a hood is thrown over her head & she is captured by 2 hillbilly looking characters. She is tied to a wooden beam inside a building where a ritual of some kind is taking place. Her farther is there & he seems convinced she is a demon no matter how much she pleads. He pours gasoline over her & just before he sets her on fire she goes all demonic on him. She burns before getting her head blown off with a shotgun.
The story is not much more different from the original but with a drug intervention as a good plot point. A group of young people made up of an estranged brother & sister, his girlfriend & their distant friends have gone to the sibling’s parent’s cabin in the woods. The sister has a drug problem & her constantly away brother has come down to help her get through the planned withdrawal.
Turns out she is a bit bitter towards him as he didn’t come to see their mother when she was on her deathbed…as are his old friends who think he abandoned them. I liked this idea as it gave motivation for the characters to be there. It’s a bit of a pity that the early outside the cabin talk is about as much character development as we get.
Anyway long story short, she has huge problems on her drug-comedown. The nerdy guy of the group finds the book of the dead in the basement (turns out that bit at the beginning happened in the basement here – why didn’t they hide the book?), opens it & reads the passages aloud; this wakens the demons in the woods.
The sister decides she needs to leave (to get some drugs) & drives off before crashing after seeing a dead girl standing in the road. She gets attacked, runs, then gets captured by a tree before said dead girl from earlier spits out some guts that promptly ‘abuse’ her.
What follows is a slow transformation into a demon with some excellently gruesome scenes. When it does finally kick in the movie sets about transforming several of the females in quick succession with some pretty nasty visuals. This all happens within 15 minutes of each other & everything slows down afterwards, which considering the frantic pace so far is not a good thing.
From this point on everything becomes a little bit of a mess with characters behaving like idiots & a total lack of anything really happening. It felt like we were just waiting for the next gruesome part to happen in between the still alive people screaming “what is going on?”
Baring the sister in the basement the other demon girls seemed to act like zombies with barely any words spoken & dying like regular people. One gets its head bashed in with part of a toilet & the other….well I think she bleeds to death which confused me.
The whole brother & sister thing was to create some moments where the brother was indecisive & I won’t pretend to know what I would do in that situation but it does create one of the standout rubbish moments of the entire movie.
He sets about splashing gasoline throughout the cabin planning to set it on fire as well as his sister in the basement. He knows this will purify her soul as the geeky character read it in the book of the dead as well as 2 other ways (lucky that?). He is torn about setting his sister on fire especially when she starts singing some childhood song to him.
He decides instead to choose option number 2 of burying her alive….I couldn’t understand why he would go to such trouble but there you go. Anyway when he does eventually get to burying her, her soul gets purified & he drags her out of the grave where he then resuscitates her. She is back alive, un-demonised & without the slightest blemish on her skin. This same skin that she had burned under a scalding shower, that same tongue that she had cut like a snake with a knife….
Why go to all this trouble to resurrect her then kill off her brother? So we could have the anti-Ash character. She even gets to use a chainsaw as she battles the demon version of herself. I don’t know why, I stopped trying to understand what was going on at this point.
For the record I am not calling for an Ash like character…but I don’t think they should have gone to so much trouble to make the sister the heroine.
When I finished the movie the only word I could think of was ‘disappointing’. I expected so much more & I can happily suspend my logical brain for 2 hours (I loved Rubber – a movie about a killer tyre) as long as the film-makers are willing to help me. I felt like Evil Dead was pushing its luck at the end.
It’s a pity as the first half is really decent with some smart ideas & logical thinking from a character stand point. The little homage’s towards the original movies were subtle (except that post-credits thing which was pretty cool) & it would have taken a real fan to notice a lot of them.
I was really happy to see how little special effects were used as I can’t express how much I dislike special effects (one of my favourite horrors is The Thing for its practical effects). It’s great to see & I want more of this in future however unlike the common belief Evil Dead is not the trend-setter here in recent practical effects. It just happens to be a high-budget release.
The most terrifying film you will ever experience? Steady on…
Anything below that score & I think I would be attacking it for being a remake. That wouldn’t be fair so I’ve judged it as best I can. It’s an impressive attempt considering how watered down main-stream horror is nowadays but then main-stream horror is always going to be tame stuff, its main-stream, they want to make money! I thoroughly enjoyed some of the scenes & sequences in the movie but felt like I was often just waiting for the next nasty bit. Up to the frantic middle I would have suggested it was worth of an 8 or 9 out of 10 but a flat second half, poor plot advancement choices & an average ending left me feeling very disappointed. Worth seeing just for the nail gun bit which made me smile…
It’s a great anti-drugs movie though!
Evil Dead - Remake