By Gabrielle Morken (Québec)
evil-dead-1

 

Before I start the review, I believe it’s almost inevitable to slightly mention the original. The movie had quite a history, as upon its release, it was not well received, and was banned in several places. However, it eventually became a cult classic, perhaps one of the most notable cult hits in horror movies.

The remake was well received, however it was criticized for its complete lack of humor. This movie takes itself quite seriously. But we should remember that the humor in the very first movie was pretty much unintentional, and a lot of it is due to the slightly goofy special effects it had. That, and Ash taking so much punishment…ever since its announcement, I knew for a fact there would be no humor in the remake, so I admit I’m a little confused at this criticism. Although to be fair, the original series is known for its slapstick humor and over the top special effects, so one can’t blame the expectations.

On to the remake. I have to say, it’s a very good movie, very classic horror. I don’t believe it will be a significant smash in horror’s history…but it’s a damn good horror, and I am a highly critical person when it comes to my horror. But the original movies are legendary, and let’s be honest here…without Bruce Campbell, they may have been nothing at all. The remake does a remarkable job of staying true to the horror feel, while adding the spice that it needed to make it just that much more special.

The premise is simple, using the overdone plot of some people going to a remote cabin in the woods. Well, for once it’s not just to chill out and relax…a job is at hand here. Mia, a young girl with a serious drug problem, who has failed countless times at kicking the habit, is the main event of this movie’s excuse for existing. Having faced death up close and personal through overdosing, her friends and her estranged but caring brother take her up to some remote cabin, so all of them can work on getting Mia cleaned up, once and for all. The movie wastes no time at stating that this is the only and final solution, therefore nicely managing the entire lone cabin plot…although little do our five friends realize that death and chaos are only a few inches away. Upon finding a strange book, the ever so famous Necronomicon, or book of the dead/damned, and accidentally…perhaps…releasing its evil, all characters must fight for their lives, tooth and nail…torn faces, missing limbs, all included.

As a horror fan, I like to see the killing ground nicely introduced and laid out, and Evil Dead does not fail.

Everything quickly turns to chaos as the evil is unleashed, and you’re in for quite a ride. The movie is overly violent and gory, more sensitive viewers be advised. All characters are going to see a world of hurt as they are either being possessed or completely tortured and abused in nefarious ways. Slicing one’s tongue in half, lizard style with a blade, getting savagely beaten with a crow bar or punctured by nail gun. If you want extreme violence, a lot of blood and up close shots of wince inducing scenes, this is the movie for you. You have been warned. While this won’t win any disturbance award over the most extreme of horror movies, it’s quite more than enough if you just want to see people get messed up, possessed and then messing up their own friends. It’s just crazy.

But is it all just violence? Well, frankly, I thought it kind of a collection of nasty scene after nasty scene…but if you’re a fan of the original, you’ll notice that most key scenes have been included and reproduced, in their own styles and ways. Tree rape, significant necklace that, when it falls, the chain makes a skull shape…wounds infecting themselves in but a few seconds, an escape route barred by what seems a natural disaster. Even the car from the original movie makes an appearance. Some of the scenes are great, others could have used more work, and some weren’t there that I wish had been…but overall, the charm is there.

The respect paid here is admirable, and quite a treat to old time fans. And for those not familiar with the original, they’re sure to enjoy what is meant as good enough event direction riddled with mindless violence. Mindless violence, but not without its justification…that’s the beauty of it. The plot is kind of loose and not very well polished, but for a movie like this, you don’t expect it to be, and it does exactly what it set out to do, so it feels nice and smooth. A bit hiccupy at times but eh…it comes with the territory.

My main complaint is the lack of originality and ambiance. If you’re used to violence in your movies, this really isn’t scary at all. They also included a little back story that really didn’t need to be done. As if to give the evil a face, and for a movie about possession, that was pretty unnecessary. It doesn’t really go anywhere and doesn’t match with the overall idea. Ever since the days of The Ring, The Grudge and such, a lot of our physical manifestations of evil spirits in horror are portrayed through shaggy haired humanoids who walk really slowly and have mini seizures every three seconds.

This movie took that cue, and I personally would have appreciated something a little more original and out of the norm. That said, you don’t really get the feel that I think you’re supposed to get here. Being trapped in some ancient cabin with Satan after your ass… and most of the characters are not very convincing, although they have the decency to stay in their role and not go over the top. The lack of atmosphere and fear factor here is a big let down, but the rest of the movie is great. I mean the magical feeling I got as a kid when watching the original flicks is not present here, but a lot of good fun is still quite present, and somehow, it shuts me up. Lol.

Awesome and pretty/gross special effects, very good scenes of carnage, it’s all entertaining. The environment could have looked more interesting, and the Necronomicon looked way cooler in the original. But the movie tried hard, and it did more than good enough. Frankly, I was expecting worse. It’s also a very honorable nod to its original movie, and if the series wants to go this way from now on, I’m up for the ride. Sometimes the plot is a bit confusing or kind of unnecessary, but its execution is great, and the last twenty minutes just kind of screw with you…icing on the cake.

Now there might actually be a lot of wrong in this movie, and I could probably list all of it, but I just find that most of what kind of sucks here doesn’t really matter at all when it comes to enjoying Evil Dead. It stumbles here and there, but otherwise it’s a great watch, if you’re not too squeamish, or aren’t expecting it to be exactly like the original.

It lacks the mood, but it more than makes up for it with its relentlessness and respect to the basic horror formula. It’s just a fun movie to check out. Not a breakthrough by any means…but as I say, damn good horror. Of course…I said it wasn’t scary, and what’s horror if it isn’t scary…but I’m willing to bet right now that tons of people will be freaked the hell out by it.

If they DO make a sequel though, I’m giving it a zero if it doesn’t have a scene where all the objects in the living room laugh away.

But as it stands, here’s a 7/10 for Evil Dead. I know I talked more negative than positive, but as grouchy as I might be, this is only to emphasize the good, which this movie definitely has. Whatever sense that made. 😈

 

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