Evil Dead (2013)


Ash would have saved the day in no time. Oh, Bruce. How I miss you so.

Five twenty-something friends hole up in a remote cabin for a weekend filled of booze, drugs, sex, and a bunch of fun. Problems get in the way of their plans once when they discover a strange novel downstairs in the basement  called the Book of the Dead. As they continue to read the book, they unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters to get killed-off, one by one, until only one is left intact to fight for survival.

Of course, there’s a little bit more than I let on with that synopsis. There’s more human-emotions going on this time around where family members quarrel, friends have arguments  and a sister is trying to kick a drug habit. But however, the story is still the same and it’s not because that plot-line has been done already once by the original Evil Dead, but because it’s been used in almost every other camp-fire story ever told before the sands of time. We all know that whenever kids go out to a cabin in the woods, all they want to do is chill out, party, drink a little brew, have a little sex, and just get out of the real world, when in reality (or non-reality): the exact opposite happens to them. It was fine when it was done in the 80’s, and heck, it was even fine when it was done last year (Cabin in the Woods), but enough is enough with the simple, conventional horror stories, and most importantly: enough is enough with the goddamn, useless remakes. Yes, I am talking about this movie.

Been raping young, teenage girls est. 1981.
Been raping young, teenage girls est. 1981.

If there is any amount of credit I have to give to this film, it’s director Fede Alvarez who actually does some new and cool things with this already-known story. Not does he change certain things up a bit with the story and how people die, but he totally abandons the humor-aspect. In ways, this works, and in ways; it doesn’t. But what should be known is that for all that the guy does, at least he does it with energy and some amount of heart. “Some”, being the key word.

Alvarez starts this flick pretty interestingly, having us have to deal with characters pissing and moaning, but also watching as how they don’t really know what to expect. But that’s where the interesting-aspect begins to go away, and the conventionality of this movie begins. It isn’t that I don’t mind when a horror movie likes to have fun with itself, gross us out, and even give us a couple of shockers along the way (you know what I mean, pervs), but I at least want to see something new and original, almost as if I haven’t seen it done before, ever. Now, I know that’s hard when you take a genre like the horror genre, and try to spin it 100 ways it’s already been spun, but you at least got to add a new flavor, a new coding, or just a simple piece of the recipe that may spice things up a bit. The “simple piece of the recipe that may spice things up a bit”, is definitely Alvarez’s unapologetic use of gore, blood, and/or ketchup packets and blood-flavored corn syrup, but that can only go so far, when you have characters doing THE SAME DAMN THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Movies like this bother me because they always want to please the audience into thinking that everything they are about to watch is going is to surprise the hell out of them and shock them in one way they weren’t expecting (once again, cut it out you pervs), but it just doesn’t. The least-important characters to the story usually get knocked-off from least-meaningful to the main character, almost as if it was your wedding invitations; characters still fall for the bone-headed tricks like a monster changing it’s face to sound like the human they have possessed; and characters not having the balls to pull the trigger on that possessed-human, even if they know already that they are fucked-up, and never coming back. Also, while I’m at it; why does every, single character in a horror movie have to act like they don’t know what’s going to happen next when they enter a room, because the person they were talking to didn’t answer them? Really! If the person didn’t answer when you called them the first 500 times, either they don’t want to talk to you or they’re dead. It’s either one or the other. That’s what I usually used to think with all of my ex’s, but when it came right down to it: it was more of the former, than the latter. My life: one big misery.

Not campy enough!
Not campy enough!

But some of you out there may be saying, “Well, the original was just like that” or “That’s just how most horror movies are.” If you were to say any of those two statements to me, online or in real-life, I would have to agree with you but then also have a nice, calmed, and relaxed discussion about how the original had all of those conventions, but at least had fun with them in a campy, small-budgeted way. Sam Raimi and friends didn’t give a crap if they were re-inventing the wheel or changing the way the world works, they just wanted to have some fun, splash some paint everywhere they could, and get a good laugh while they were at it. This movie is too concerned with being serious, trying to be scary, and doing all that it can in it’s might, to have us feel like, as the poster says, “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience.” Raimi didn’t give a crap about that, but apparently Alvarez was in a total, and completely and different world when he realized that maybe the original could be better, if it was serious and more about it’s scares. Once again, it may or may not have been his thought-process when he saw that classic, but something tells me it what exactly that.

As usual, every character is a cliché we have all seen before, but at least the performances are okay, right? Ehh! Shiloh Fernandez has just about sucked nuts in about everything I’ve seen him in, but he’s fine here as the older, more wiser brother. He isn’t corny and he isn’t trying too hard. Good for him. Apparently there was a lot of talk about how the character of Ash wouldn’t be in this movie. But not just the name, mind you, the actual fact that an Ash-like character would pop-up in this movie, but as a (get ready for it)….WOMAN!! That’s right. Jane Levy plays the troubled-sister going all cold turkey on everybody’s asses and is fine for what she has to do, but is actually left to be possessed for the longest time. Eventually, she does get the chance to have her fun time, but it isn’t until a little, too late in the game, to where she doesn’t even seem to pose a threat to these monsters, witches, and bad-souls. These are the only two that are worth mentioning in this flick, and considering that the movie holds a main cast of only 5 or 6 people; it’s a bit of a bummer.

Consensus: For fans of the horror genre, no matter how obvious or predictable it may get at times, the remake of Evil Dead will please most gore-lovers out there, but there isn’t much else that will shock you, surprise you, or even scare you for that matter. In my opinion, just stay at home and check out the original Evil Dead, or the whole Army of Darkness trilogy and just be reminded of how awesome Raimi and Bruce Campbell were, when they worked together.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

Only the face a legion of cult-fans could love.
Only the face a legion of cult-fans could love.
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35 comments

  1. I agree, I was disappointed. Everyone in the audience was laughing and it ruined it for me. I think I liked it a little more than you but not much. I would compare I to the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre in terms of quality scares. Oh well.

  2. Great review. I agree with a few of your points (, and disagree with others. One thing I do like is that you’ve given definite reasons for why you were disappointed.

    It seems like you wanted this to either be more than just a horror movie, and if it couldn’t do that, to be as camp as Evil Dead 2, or Army of Darkness. If that was what you wanted, it makes perfect sense that you’d be so disappointed.

    I’m very glad that I avoided all the media about this movie, because I think there’s a very real possibility that I would have been very disappointed as well, had I bought into some of the hype I’ve been seeing. I was excited going in, sure, but for the most part I got what I wanted out of the movie.

    • I wanted it to be something new or cool that I haven’t seen done before, but yet, done in a way that’s reminding me a lot of the original trilogy. I know I may have asked for much, but either way; I was just bored and unexcited most of the time. Thanks Spikor!

  3. ah, too bad. I still think I’m gonna check it out. I haven’t been to a good horror film in a while and this definitely looks more promising compared to some of the other absolute shiite attempts at horror that have been coming out as of late. Solid review.

  4. The original Evil Dead is my opinion was scary, but based on the costs they really couldn’t do much with the budget and that is why it comes off as being a bit cheesy and comical at some moments. I understand what you are saying about characters in horror movies doing the same dumb things time and time again. I want to see this more now because it has a female playing the lead role. Great review

    • That aspect of the female being the bad-ass is what makes it awesome, but everything else is sort of bland. At least with my taste-buds that was.

  5. Great review. I just can’t get motivated to see this knowing “The Chin” isn’t featured therein. It’s previews come across as “torture porn” without his presence.

  6. I could tell from the trailer that it would be a big gore feast. Unless I get around to watching this in the theatre, I think I will skip it entirely. It might be a good movie to watch with a live audience. As always great review Dan.

  7. On a somewhat related point, what did you think of the new trailer for the ‘Carrie’ remake attached to this film? I have to say, my spouse and I were really disappointed (leaning over to me, “Carrie’s not supposed to be that pretty.”)

    • I have to see it actually. Tried to, but YouTube wasn’t working at the time. I’ll let you know what I think when I check it out, my friend!

  8. I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. “The group got together for a weekend of booze, drugs and sex? The story is still the same?”

    You actually couldn’t be more wrong. There was not a single bottle of liquor, can of beer, joint, or even make-out session. As far as this movie goes it was clean in this area. This wasn’t your typical group of partygoers looking for a fun time; this was a group of people who were a support-system for a friend/family member to kick her drug habit. And yes, that actually IS something new.

    And maybe one of the characters kept calling over and over again to Mia b/c they were afraid she locked herself in a room to use again. You have to learn to put yourself in the shoes of the characters if you want to understand why they think and feel as they do, and why they make the decisions they make.

    And Lou Taylor Pucci was great in the role of Eric; he’s going to eventually become a star. This could be his breakthrough role.

    And I don’t think you realize that the original actually did have a serious tone; but b/c the special effects were so bad it came across as if it was attempting to be humorous, but it really wasn’t. It was just bad special effects. I think you’re missing the point. The remake wasn’t supposed to be campy.

    • For me, I just wanted something that was new or cool to see, but with that same edge from the original trilogy. May have been a bit of a brat and asked for too much, but for me: I just wanted something MORE. That’s about it. Thanks!

      • Okay, sorry for the long delay with my reply, but I wanted to ask for an explanation on a part of your review…

        How can you say that this was a movie with five friends who go to a cabin for a weekend for drugs, booze, and sex? There was NONE of that in this film. Why would you write that in your review?

  9. To say I’m a huge fan of the original Evil Dead series would be an understatement. I literally wrote a research paper on Sam Raimi/Army of Darkness in college haha. I thought this was a pretty decent remake though, better I think that you give it credit for. I didn’t mind that this one was missing camp since the Raimi’s first Evil Dead wasn’t very campy or humorous. It was trying for straight horror, and that’s what this one did. Like Raimi’s version, this one is definitely not perfect but it takes advantage of its higher budget and more lenient moral standards to push the envelope (they really went for it with the trees), improving upon the original. I also believe that the whole cabin in the woods idea is tired, however I think there’s a fresh enough spin on the original premise (i.e. why the characters are there and who they are) to keep me happy. Honestly there aren’t a whole lot of good “scares” and the characters can be pretty stupid as you seem to indicate, although I have to give props to them for using almost entirely practical effects to get the job done. There is seriously some sick, twisted stuff that they show in this movie, enough to make me squirm which doesn’t happen often. You have to admit it was pretty awesome to see it pouring blood from the sky as she was taking on the evil creature. I’m sick of pointless remakes too, but I found this one to be way less offensive than most. It was light years better than that dumb prequel to The Thing.

    • It was okay for what it tried to do, and I loved the gore that rained throughout (literally). However, something was missing in terms of why everything was happening, and how much fun they were going for with it. Didn’t really get me going like it did to others, but then again, that’s just me.

  10. Ha! I love your review. It actually makes mine look like a glowing recommendation. How can we still be making films about kids in the woods acting like idiots and getting killed? I was not entertained. 3/10

  11. I saw nothing scary in this movie at all. There seems to be some idea among the current crop of horror directors that “disgusting” equals “scary”. It doesn’t. The “evil dead” in this movie may as well have been people taking bath salts, and the Devil is a poor literary substitute for the Cthulhu Mythos.

    “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul!”. 😉

  12. Nice review, but I had a lot of fun with this. A lot more than you, for sure lol! I agree that there’s hardly anything new to add to the horror genre, but I respect it for trying to throw a few surprises in like in the third act — especially for a remake! I love the practical effects, too. Too bad this was a disappointment for you. I’m guessing your expectations for the sequel will be at basement level, practically?

  13. I really enjoyed this movie, but you already know that. When you’re going up against a trilogy like The Evil Dead, there are bound to be some disappointments, but I thought the end result was pretty great. Hopefully when they combine the two franchises they’ll create something everyone can enjoy. Great review!

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