Evil Dead (2013)
Director: Fede Alvarez
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Plot: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them and they are left to fight for survival and their sanity.
Rating: R21 for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language.
IN RETROSPECT (Guest Review by Tan Yuan Qing)
The recipe for disaster was already brewing when Evil Dead was announced. It is a remake of a horror classic and it is about demon possession. These two factors are clear signs that we are in for yet another disappointment. Furthermore, it is the very film that The Cabin in the Woods (2011) is poking fun at.
That is until the deliciously cut trailers showed up, and fans like me started to take it more seriously. And after seeing the actual film, I must say, it is quite a miracle that Evil Dead is not the disaster that most fans fear it would be.
This is the debut feature of Fede Alvarez, who rose to fame with his YouTube short “Panic Attack”. It stars Jane Levy as Mia, a young woman who brings her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and three other friends to an old cabin in the woods to help her overcome her heroin addiction.
But things go from bad to worse, when an evil force is accidentally unleashed. Is Mia experiencing withdrawal symptoms? Or something else? The drug angle in the story provides a valid reason for the characters to remain in the cabin even after shit happens.
What do people want to see in an Evil Dead movie? Gore, gore and more gore. And I am glad to report that those craving for blood will be extremely satisfied. The practical effects are absolutely outstanding - the star of the show. I truly respect Alvarez’s decision to go fully practical and bringing old-school horror back.
Shooting all the mayhem on screen is DP Aaron Morton. He gives Evil Dead a beautiful but haunting look that some may find too polished. Sound design is top notch, making this film an attack on the senses, especially during a scene when a character saws off her cheek.
References to the original are littered throughout the film and fans will be happy to spot them. It is very different from the original though, in terms of mood and tone. The new one is serious fun; the old one is campy fun. Perhaps in twenty years, people will find the humor in the new one, but for now it is missing.
“The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience” is the tagline, but it is not terrifying for me; it is more of disgusting than terrifying. What Evil Dead is lacking, despite being technically outstanding, is sustained tension, which the original had. The experience is not grueling enough. I feel Alvarez should have taken his time to build scenes up. His gory set pieces are impressive, but feel too elaborate and staged.
Evil Dead overcomes the odds and in my opinion is the second best horror remake ever made. The first belongs to Zack Synder’s Dawn of the Dead (2004). It may be lacking in character development and tension, but this new version of the horror classic has its own voice, and its own soul. It also features one of the best horror endings in recent memory.
Verdict: One of the better horror remakes out there, Evil Dead shows no mercy to viewers with its relentless display of blood and gore.
GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)
Click here to go back to Central Station.