A movie review of Evil Dead, 2013 edition…For anyone that’s been reading this blog over the years, you’ll know I’m really not a horror fan. And by “fan,” I mean gore and crap jumping out just doesn’t make me a happy movie-goer. Thankfully, I’ve called in the big guns. Moving forward, hopefully if she has the time, I’ll be recruiting Alia Tulloch (full disclosure: my VERY patient girlfriend) to see the films I can’t and provide a review that I’m not able. Win, win.
THE SETUP: Five twenty-somethings in a cabin in the woods accidentally unleash an unspeakable evil. Blood is spilled, trees get feisty, and someone is dismembered with a chainsaw. If you think this sounds, familiar, you’d be right. Evil Dead has been remade…. again. This time, siblings Mia and David, along with their three closest friends, meet up for a high school reunion/intervention that goes terribly wrong, courtesy of everyone’s favourite cursed book, the Necronomicon.
THE THOUGHTS: I admit, I didn’t expect very much of Evil Dead. When was the last time you watched a remake that was better than the original film? Throw in a familiar and very cliched plot (seriously, when will kids learn to stay away from creepy cabins in the woods?) and a green director, this film could have gone either way. However, Fede Alvarez made a very smart move by paying homage to the original film without trying to emulate Sam Raimi‘s distinctive style. By ditching the tongue-in-cheek humour that made the original a cult classic and upping the gore quotient significantly, Evil Dead feels fairly fresh even while treading familiar ground.
YAYS: Jane Levy, the actress who plays Mia, does a phenomenal job, even while being doused in blood, mud, and other random goop. For me, one the scariest/creepiest moment in the film was a scene where the camera focused in on her terrified face – I could literally feel how scared she was. I also really loved the special effects. Sure, they were sometimes a little cheesy, but hey, they were all real and not computer generated.
NAYS: While there were a few genuinely creepy moments in this film, for the most part it just wasn’t frightening. Sure, there was enough gore and fake blood to fill an Olympic size swimming pool, but grossing out your audience is not the same thing as scaring them. Also, while I appreciate the attempt to give the characters a bit of a back story, the extra information just felt unnecessary and did little to establish any sort of believable bond between the five friends. In fact, I felt so little empathy for almost everyone in this film that I actually found myself rooting for the demon.
EVIL DEAD (2013) Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. I’m on the fence with this one. If you’re not too attached to the original film and you’re already pretty numbed gratuitous violence, you’ll probably enjoy this film, if only for the special effects. If you feel like you may have serious issues with, say, watching someone getting stabbed repeatedly in the eye area with a syringe, you may want to pass.
Random Recommendations (If Alia is going to recommend horror movies, it’s best to know her taste)
American Werewolf in London (1981) – While I’ve never been a big fan of horror comedies, American Werewolf in London manages to strike the perfect balance between big time scares and hilarity.
Hellraiser (1987) – While the special effects definitely look dated, this does little to undermine the atmosphere of dread that makes this film (in my opinion) one of the most terrifying horror films ever made.
The Shining (1980) – If you need an antidote to the endless stream of slasher films that seem to dominate the horror genre these days, Kubrick’s slow, tense psychological thriller may be just what you’re looking for.