Dave’s 4-Word Review:
Worst withdrawal symptoms ever
It seems that America has lost hope of remakes long ago, yet we continue to see these remakes reboots, and reimaginings spill out like projectile vomit. It’s only once in a while that these films are actually good and not regarded as garbage, and it is truly a rare gem when the remake is regarded as better. It almost seems like blaspheming to speak ill about a classic film and praise its remake, but it happens. Bruce Campbell’s 1981 cult hit, The Evil Dead is loved by many, and continues to sicken the stomachs of audiences around the globe. Fortunately, its remake, Evil Dead did not succeed in overachievement, and is quite dull in comparison.
Enter five young friends to the cabin in the woods. Four of the friends are simply there to support Mia (Jane Levy) in accomplishing what she deems impossible, quitting crack cocaine cold turkey. Her friends worry that if she relapses one more time, she will die since she has already died in the past, due to an overdose before she was brought back by a defibrillator. In order to make sure she does not relapse, they force her to stay in the cabin in the woods…It is in the basement where they find the Book of Death among a pile of various witchcraft materials. This book, when read aloud, brings forth a dark entity that inhabits Mia’s body, and she wreaks bloody havoc on the entire group, spreading her demonic possession like a contagious disease.
Let’s state the obvious here, one of the first things that you are going to think of while watching this film is that it is exactly the kind of horror film genre that Cabin in the Woods was making fun of…at almost every single angle. Obviously, there is the cabin in the woods, and then there are the five young adults, and then there are the questionable objects in a basement that bring forth an evil thing, and then there is the blocked exit…you can’t watch this film without thinking of that (unless you never saw Cabin in the Woods). It’s one of the biggest stereotypes in horror film history, and it just doesn’t work anymore. It worked in the original film, because it was original back in the early eighties. Heck, part of the promotion for the film was a Steven King’s words that stated that it was the “most ferociously original film of the year”.
There were obvious nods to the classic Raimi series, most notably in an after-the-credits scene, but it unfortunately loses its best asset, Bruce Campbell, who brought an element of unusual humor to most of his features. Was that dark humor or Bruce Campbell even needed in order to make this feature successful? Not at all. Technically speaking, filmmakers of a remake should have free reign to make the movie however they want, as long as the audience can pick up on the simple fact that it is in fact a remake…which it accomplishes. What gave the original a unique sense of soul was the tacky humor. If you’re going to take that away, at least replace it with something else. While some critics would argue that the gore would easily replace the humor, I disagree. You can find enough gore in just about every horror movie out there, so in effect, the movie really doesn’t have that much soul holding it together.
Displayed as huge lettering on the poster for this film is “THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE”. Clearly, they meant to say goriest rather than terrifying, because the level of scary in the movie is honestly not that high. It has some good tension and creepy moments, but the entire concept of the film is too predictable to make anyone close their eyes out of fear. It is, however, bloody enough to make someone’s stomach churn, and force those with strong stomachs to at least lose their appetite. That may happen in a lot of other horror films as well, but they do it with a level of creativity and uniqueness that is at least intriguing.
The whole movie isn’t bad. There are some very good and creepy performances put on by Levy, who is normally seen as the funny girl on ABC’s Suburgatory. This film was successful in showing that the girl does have some range in her abilities to act. There is also some great gore put together by a mixture of great CGI and even better make-up. Some of the scenery and camera shots were also done magnificently, and there are some good nods to the original film. All in all…it looked believable at least.
When it comes right down to it, the only people that will enjoy the movie are the ones that were the biggest fans of the original. At the same time, the same people may feel disappointed at how far this film strays from Bruce Campbell’s version. Those that aren’t familiar with the series whatsoever will be stuck in a theater with a movie that comes off as both predictable and stereotypical…those people aren’t going to enjoy it very much.
Evil Dead came to theaters on April 5, check it out today!