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Evil Dead Review: A Groovy, Blood Soaked Re-Imagining
The Evil Dead is a beloved franchise, so any remake or reimagining already faces a harsh reaction if it doesn’t live up to the expectations of fans. Bruce Campbell, Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi are all producers on the new film, which I guess for fans worried about the new team “ruining” Evil Dead will be a bit of comfort.
We’ve seen a lot of teeth gnashing over remakes, especially in the horror genre, some of which was legitimate, but a lot of it amounted to “This isn’t just like the original with updated effects.” I feel like there’s really no point to that, I mean, no one’s taking your copies of the old movie away. And the new movie might incite viewers that haven’t seen the original to go and see what the fuss is all about. Leaving behind the emotional attachment to the old film is the first step to deciding whether the new Evil Dead stands or fails on its own merits. There’s obviously going to be a lot of stuff in common, so it’s where the movie differs that interests me.
Five young people, David, Eric, Mia, Olivia and Natalie, gather at a cabin in the woods, not for a good time of drinking and sex, but to make sure that Mia’s cold turkey detox sticks this time. The first letters of their names spell out a word if you have them in a certain order, which I’ve nicely put them in above. Like any good victims, they ignore the rundown condition of the cabin, caused by a break-in at some earlier point, and the awful smell that permeates the place.
David is Mia’s older brother. They have some unresolved family issues that get referenced throughout the film. There’s also some resentment towards David on the part of Olivia and Eric because they used to be close friends before he disappeared. The characters are likeable even while they’re sniping at each other, but the issues aren’t really explored all that thoroughly.
Things pick up once the basement door is opened and the Book is found. It’s not called the Necronomicon this time around, but it’s obviously a related tome of evil. David, who must’ve never seen any horror movies , is the one who decides that he wants to cut the barbed wire and read the book despite all the warnings written onto the pages.
Meanwhile, Mia’s freaking out, and her friends are ignoring her visions of things in the woods as hallucinations related to the due to withdrawal. Mia finally runs away from the cabin and into the woods, where something evil finds and inhabits her in a sticky and disturbing way.
There’ve been a few comments I’ve seen calling Evil Dead “torture porn” due to the graphic and terrible things characters do to themselves or others. Now, to me, that phrase is more related to movies like Saw and Hostel, where the brutal and realistic torture of characters by other people is the main theme of the movie. While there’s no shortage of blood and gore in the Evil Dead, I wouldn’t call it torture porn because it’s not the main theme of the film. Some may disagree, but that’s my take on it. There were plenty of scenes in the Evil Dead that were graphic and cringe-inducing, especially towards the end, when all Hell really breaks loose.
There are several choices made in this movie that some people will really hate and others will really love, but they’re too spoilery to talk about. I, for one, was very intrigued by what they decided to do, and since there’s probably going to be a sequel, that opens up all sorts of possibilities.
If you go, make sure you stay till the credits end so you don’t miss the stinger.