Evil Dead (2013) Movie Review #2

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Evil Dead (2013) Movie Image

Once upon a time, I loved horror movies. Everything about the genre seemed so exciting, so daring. I would line up to see the latest offering in theaters on opening weekend without a hint of hesitation. As I’ve gotten older, that feeling has slowly started to diminish. Although I’m not exactly sure why, horror flicks don’t dazzle me like they did when I was younger. I don’t like admitting it, but something in me has changed. Whatever the case may be, my tolerance for boring, middle-of-the-road horror is practically non-existent.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy director Fede Alvarez’s highly-anticipated “Evil Dead” remake nearly as much as I thought I would. Despite the impressive gore and some interesting visuals, the film was a joyless and nonsensical mess seemingly designed to cash in on the franchise’s fanbase. To make matters worse, the whole thing is an insufferable bore. Alvarez’s movie might be different from the original, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a stronger movie.

Evil Dead (2013) Movie Image

Although the names and circumstances may have changed, the setup is essentially the same: young people at a cabin in the woods are menaced by unspeakably evil forces. Instead of using the cabin as a place to hang out for the weekend, the modern heroes want to help a friend kick her drug habit. Everything is on-track until a high school teacher happens to decipher ancient text inside a book bound in flesh and inked with blood.

There are moments when “Evil Dead” shines on a purely visual level, but the film’s style lacks any sort of substance whatsoever. And while the franchise has never been known for its depth, Alvarez clearly wanted to do more with the story. You don’t tackle a subject like drug addiction unless you want to be taken seriously. Unfortunately for the audience, the director’s attempt to add some weight to the tale ultimately drags everything down.

Evil Dead (2013) Movie Image

Visually speaking, Alvarez gets extremely high marks. The gore is nothing short of fantastic, and the demons are certainly more convincing than those which inhabit the original. Sadly, the screenwriters didn’t really give us anything new to chew on. Instead of lifting iconic moments from the franchise, why not give moviegoers something unique? Fan service is one thing, blatantly jacking ideas is another. I suppose that’s a difficult thing to balance without alienating those who are looking for the scenes that made “Evil Dead” so memorable in the first place.

Maybe I’m just being too hard on the “Evil Dead” remake. Maybe I’m just a sad and jaded fan who is realizing the genre’s appeal is beginning to fade. Here’s the thing: I genuinely wanted Alvarez to succeed in his endeavor. As much as I love Sam Raimi’s flick, I honestly wanted the director to do something different with the material. Instead of a refreshing experience, I just got more of the same. Don’t take my word for it; give the film a chance. If nothing else, It might make you appreciate what Raimi and company achieved with no money that much more.

Fede Alvarez (director) / Fede Alvarez, Diablo Cody, and Rodo Sayagues (screenplay)

CAST: Jane Levy … Mia
Shiloh Fernandez … David
Lou Taylor Pucci … Eric
Jessica Lucas … Olivia
Elizabeth Blackmore … Natalie

Evil Dead (2013) Movie Poster

Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Juggernaut

    I couldn’t disagree with this article more.

    I just got back from the theater and I loved it. Grant it, I was never a super fan of the original or it’s sequels, but I have watched them all and enjoyed them in varying degrees. The problem for me personally with the original films was that they were not scary AT ALL! Sure there was a strong premise and gratuitous gore, albeit over the top and silly, however, they were not scary.

    I suppose that they were never really intended to be but then why classify yourself as a horror film in the first place! That brings me to my next issue. Not so much with the original series but more so low budget horror in general. It seems to cop out and say that it was supposed to be funny and cheesey when the horror fails. It’s simply too easy to dismiss the lack of genuine fear that may have originally been intended.

    I suppose that the argument could be made that if there was going to be a remake of this at all it should have stuck closer to the tone of the original and the two follow ups but saying that it was nonsensical, messy and boring is not fair and more than that untrue. This film delivered on a few levels that the Raimi films did not in my opinion. The style, as you pointed out was terrific. The cinematography and camera work did a nice job of capturing the original’s essence while also embracing the darker, more horro-based tone. The cast in the film was really strong as well. Especially Jane Levy who, in my opinion, turned in one of the finest performances of any young actress working in films, let alone the genre today. Her ability to portrayal of both personalities were terrific. She delivered such emotion and eerie believability. The circumstances were also more undertandable. There were a few times when I just wanted to scream at the screen”Just get the hell out of there!” but not nearly as many as there were when I first watched the original. Even the initial reason for going to an old, delapitated cabin was much more realistic. Sure the implied dramatic notions of the drug element were a bit forced but it made for a beleivable reason for five twenty somethings to abandon all technology and efficiencies .

    One glaring omission was the Ash character who I suppose is too iconic and most likely too diffiecult to successfully reinterpert. Honestly I don’t believe that any other actor could have pulled off the charm and charisma of Bruce Campbell anyway. Alvarez knew that and for that I must commend him.

    Overall I think that this was a strong film with seriouly intense horror and a great performance by Levy. Is it going to be a cult classic? No. Will it ever be? Probably not but it was an extremely valiant and earnest effort to pay homage to a beloved slice of cinema while ramping up the scare factor.