A secluded cabin, Book of the Dead, and an unrelenting evil… sounds like a perfect place for five teens to adventure off to! The original creators of the 1981 Cult-Classic The Evil Dead, bring a terrifying re-imaging of the story.
David (Shiloh Fernandez), his drug-addicted sister Mia (Jane Levy), and friends Natalie, Olivia, and Eric decide to travel up to the old family cabin to help Mia overcome her addiction. Upon their arrival Mia promises to not relapse, but quickly becomes uneasy due to a mysterious smell from beneath her room. They decide to check out the basement and find a room full of witchcraft and a sketchy looking book. Unable to resist temptation Eric decides to take the book to his room and read the book that clearly states “DO NOT READ”. What he does not realize is that his words unleash a bloodthirsty demon on a quest to possess them all. Despite the strict no leaving policy, Mia tries to race out of the secluded woods in a car through harsh rain, but ends up crashing and discovering something that will change her.
When re-making cult-classics, a film will always have it’s critics, but this remake was acceptable. While we are returning to the original premise of the former film, this new story places a twist on the story. Instead of being a group of friends heading up to some creepy cabin; Mia and David’s family own this cabin, and as mentioned above; to help her overcome her drug addiction. I think by introducing that early on allowed for people to not try and compare & contrast the films, but to accept this new story but still know it’s in the same realm.
As the film was released in theaters it was being labelled as “the most terrifying film you will experience”. It originally received a NC-17 rating, but after some adjustments brought it back down to an R rating. Evil Dead like most new horror films in theaters, had some predictable jump scares, however that’s not where the terror is found. This film’s aim was completely gross you out and make you sick. This film has no remorse towards human life. An arm is amputated, tongue is sliced, head bashed in. I was impressed by the amount of detail that could be seen with these grisly deaths. I’ve never been the one to have my eyes stray away from the screen during a horror film, but this film was pushing it. The scene that was hardest to watch is when somebody is being attacked by a staple gun. The nails are being shot right into the forearm, and pinning the hand to the chest. It will be fun to watch if you can ignore how pain.
Here’s a problem with the film, A majority of the incidents that occur in this film could be easily avoided. For example, there was no reason to grab the book, but some people are curious which is reasonable, but inside the book there was more than enough clues to not read the book, let alone to read the words out loud? It’s obvious from the get go that the under developed characters are there just to be killed off, so that right there can push some people away from the film. To give credit to that last notion, these characters went out in highest form of entertainment. To be able to find the entertainment in these flaws, you must realize that the film knows what it is, and what it’s aiming for; meaning it’s not trying to bring out Oscar worthy material but simply to create a film that the audience can experience and have a good time.
Jane Levy is the star of the film as Mia. I was a little worried when I found out she was the lead of the film, because I expected Fernandez to be the lead much like Bruce Campbell was in the original. This time around they didn’t try to re-create Campbell’s “Ash” which earned him a spot as a cult hero, which takes a lot of pressure of the whole cast. Levy was able to capture an array of emotions quite well here. She had to go from innocent, to angry, to demonic, all while remaining believable. Shiloh Fernandez plays the brother David and gives a solid performance. Lou Taylor Pucci plays Eric, who appears to be the long lost brother of Kurt Cobain. He went through hell of a role. A lot of stuff happens to his character and he kept realistic, however his character does a lot of questionable things, but that’s down to the script. The last two are Jessica Lucas (Olivia) and Elizabeth Blackmore (Natalie) who’s roles could have been done by anybody pursuing an acting career.
Evil Dead is a film you experience. It’s not enough to explain what happens; actually watching it occur gives you a sheer amount of excitement & fear. Much credit to the production team of the film. A lot of the scenes in this film are practical which gives more texture than CGI can accomplish, most notably the throwing up scene. It may not be the best horror film out there, or the best remake, but it’s able to sustain the legacy of the original and bring something new to the table.
Rating: ★★★ / ★★★★
Dir. Fede Alvarez
IMDb 6.5/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 62%
Nominated Empire Award – Best Horror
Nominated Chainsaw Award – Best Makeup/Creature FX
“Everything’s gonna be fine? Nothing’s fine. I don’t know if you noticed this, but… everything’s been getting worse… every second.”