Ok, lets get this out the way first: if you’re a fan of the original ‘The Evil Dead’ and you go to the remake expecting the same irreverence, the same gleeful gore, the same Ash; you will be disappointed. This is a re-imagining more so than a remake and things here do not make you laugh in that same squirmy manner as the original… though yes, there is plenty here to make you just plain squirm.
Though tonally like apples and oranges, the bare bones of the story are basically the same – five friends head to a cabin in the woods, read aloud a book that specifically tells them not to read it (in blood and in bold letters on the human skin pages no less), and unleash demons that make their little getaway resemble hell on earth.
Imagine the original with no tongue in cheek dialogue or gurning to the camera, Ash replaced by a cold-turkey drug-addicted kick-ass young woman and gore that was previously so OTT as to be laughable now shockingly real.
The acting is much better than expected for this type of fare, with the entire cast throwing themselves fully into every obscenity they must endure with full enthusiasm and talent. This is not a perve-fest with bare breasted airheads at each turn and the male characters are allowed to do more than try to get laid amongst the carnage and flex their muscles while doing so. The direction is assured and confident – Fede Alvarez (in his first english language film) knows what works and what will scare you and he’s not afraid to show it to you albeit when you least expect it.
This movie did not scare me, but not many do, so that’s hardly a criticism especially as the people around me certainly seemed to be getting enough bang for their buck – the jumps and groans were certainly in evidence.
Yes people do stupid things in this film, and in a more realistic movie I find this less than tolerable but dammit somebody’s gotta read that book aloud and really, in a film where the leading lady is raped by a tree I can stretch my imagination and accommodate some stupidity… besides, where would horror be without some idiotic people to move the plot along.
I love the original ‘The Evil Dead’, Ash is awesome, I dig the comedy mashed potato and play dough special effects and think it’s infinitely quotable lines make it more fun than it has any right to be. Is this ‘Evil Dead’ as good? Probably not, but it’s made for a different audience and a different time. Judging it based on that, it works for me.