Evil Dead (2013)

Rachel Ray when she's sober

Today, my creepy lil’ kiddies, I’m going talk about the Evil Dead. You have nothing to fear.  This is 100% spoiler free.

It’s not The Evil Dead.  It lacks the slapstick silliness, cheap ickiness and originality of Raimi’s movie.  It’s  billed by the film’s producers (which includes Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, more on that later) as the scariest movie ever made.  Nope.  Evil Dead isn’t that.

I know some people I know will say, “That’s what you get with re-makes! Bah!  Back in my day . . . ” To those people I say, “Normally I’d be right there with you, but this isn’t a remake.”  I know.   It says it’s a remake, but it’s not:  It doesn’t have the same characters going to cabin.  The five friends that are in the cabin are not there for the same reason as the victims from the Raimi film.  The back story is different.  The nature and manifestation of the malevolent force is different.  The entire feel of the films is different.  It’s clearly not a remake.

Evil Dead is also not a sequel or a prequel.  I wouldn’t even call it a “re-imagining.”   So what the heck is it?  I would say the fairest label you could stick on Evil Dead would be “inspired by.”

So what is Evil Dead? It’s a slick, professionally made cabin-in-the-woods-style horror film.  It’s contemporary.  Unlike a fair number of recent horror films that wax nostalgic, Evil Dead is decidedly not sentimental, it chainsaws the cord from its 1980s horror-camp roots.  There is nothing about this movie that harkens back to the days of having a bunch of friends over for a low budget direct-to-video VHS gross out and Jiffy Pop.

Evil Dead draws as much inspiration from Saw as it does from The Evil Dead.  The camera lingers on open wounds, tearing flesh and screams of pain.   It’s not torture porn, but there is an emphasis on the graphically realistic portrayal of gore and suffering.  That sort of gore is not my cup of tea– that is just me.

On the plus side, the characters have depth.   They aren’t the Hollywood equivalent of Punch and Judy horror puppets.  They have a reason to live beyond being chopped up into tiny pieces.   They’re not especially likable, but they are complete characters that actually fit together in an organic way.  Their presence at the cabin makes sense.    I like that.  It makes the horror that much more horrific when it comes.  Even though the camera lingers to long at times, Evil Dead never revel in the pain and gore.  There is restraint.  Everything about Evil Dead shows that care was taken to make a complete, well thought out scary movie.

Taken on its own merits and forgetting that it has anything to do with Raimi’s The Evil Dead — which is easy enough to do when you’re watching it– it’s a bloody good movie (or a good bloody movie).   Not great, but certainly good.

Fun Note:  Bruce Campbell is billed as a producer.  I’ve heard that Sam Raimi, way back when, wanted to make his pal Bruce a big star.  The Hollywood establishment, for whatever reason, didn’t like Bruce.  It’s their loss.

Good.  Bad.  He’s the guy with the fans.  And if Bruce Campbell went around to all the cons talking about how they were remaking The Evil Dead, and how he got the shaft — again — those legions of Bruce Campbell fans would go into a colossal nerd rage and savage the film.  I like to think that the producer credit (and maybe a fat check) went to Bruce just to get his blessing.

Fun Note II:

Evil Dead has one line that would make a great t-shirt.  “I can smell your filthy soul!”  Awesome!
Staring:
Jane Levy
Shiloh Fernandez
Lou Taylor Pucci
Jessica Lucas
Elizabeth Blackmore

Director:

Fede Alvarez

Screenplay:

Fede Alvarez
Diablo Cody
Rodo Sayagues

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