Evil Dead (2013)

I’ll Swallow Your Soul!

Evil Dead (2013)I had a lot of trepidation when I went into today’s movie. It was based almost entirely on the fact that I remember having a great deal of respect for the movie that this movie was rebooting. But now that I think about it, I’ve felt that way before. Dredd and Total Recall were both remakes of movies I thought I liked, but didn’t when I watched them again, allowing their remakes to blow the originals out of the water. I assumed the same would happen when I watched the remake of Red Dawn, but that one let me down. There had to be some remake movie that could fit in as the third movie. Maybe today’s movie would accomplish that. Let’s find out as I review the remake of Evil Dead, remaking the movie by Sam Raimi, written by Rodo Sayagues and Diablo Cody, co-written and directed by Fede Alvarez, and starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, and Phoenix Connolly.

A group of friends (well, they used to be. They kind of hate each other now) meet at a cabin in the woods to give Mia (Jane Levy) the opportunity to kick her drug addiction. Her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), would like to also take this opportunity to repair his relationship with his sister. He also brings his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). I don’t know what that has to do with the other statement, but I had introductions to do, okay?! Anyway, Mia also brings her friends, the nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and the school teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) to help her overcome her addiction. As Mia starts going through withdrawals, she complains of a smell of death coming from the house that no one else but her and the dog can smell. The dog helps them unearth a cellar where they find animal corpses suspended from the ceiling, a double-barreled shotgun, and a book made of human skin, wrapped in a trash bag and tied with barbed wire. Eric’s curiosity not only kills the cat, but goes back in time and kills the cat’s parents. He opens and reads from the book, unleashing something into the woods that is not of this Earth.

I don’t know if I’ll ever write a review for it, but I rewatched the original movie not long after watching the remake, and sadly I’d have to admit that I found the remake far superior. I say sadly because I actually remember liking the original movie a lot, but on rewatching I was not really on board with it. This remake was not perfect, but it did all the things that the original movie did right and improved on them. The original had next to no story for instance, and this one had a fairly simple, but fairly solid story. Originally, it was just people going to a cabin in the woods to hang out and getting caught up in this mess. This movie had a much better reason to go to the cabin with the drug addiction thing, although it was a fairly stupid reason. I know this chick nurse thinks she can handle something like a drug addiction, but this would’ve worked out better for Mia (for so many reasons) if you had taken this chick to a legitimate rehab facility. Dr. Drew would’ve fixed that girl up fast. And then you all get killed because you wanted to handle it on your own. Dr. Drew doesn’t even rehab people alone! The other people you brought certainly weren’t helpful. All Eric wanted to do was get everyone killed by reading from a book filled with blood, death, and demons, wrapped in human skin. That’s not foreboding at all. Once the demon stuff started happening, there were a couple of things I took issue with, but a couple of things they still improved on from the original. For instance, in the original anyone could turn evil for no particular reason. In this one, it at least seemed to be transmitted by injury. That also meant that no one should’ve been surprised when Eric came back at the end. But I also don’t know why the demons were so stupid. When they look like the person they inhabit, they are fairly able to manipulate people, but they always have to change back into a demon to say something, thus reminding the person why they were cool with killing you. Like the girl in the very beginning. Her dad didn’t look like he was going to be able to kill her when she looked like his daughter, but then she goes demon and he lights her ass on fire and blows her head off. They also fall for the other side of that too, when the person that’s been possessed starts acting scared and innocent and people are too stupid to get their friends before checking on it. Those people were dicks too, by the way. Apparently, they just broke into someone else’s house, lit a girl on fire and shot her in the head in their cellar, and left behind a bunch of dead animals and the fuckin’ Necronomicon for the real owners. That’s top-shelf douchlery right there. Also, the Necronomicon in this movie seemed to tell the entire story of the movie. It made me wonder why Eric didn’t just skip to the end and find out what to do, like I do with any book I read. Also, why does the picture of the demon in the book have a candle over his head? Is that the medieval way to say it has an idea?

There are a couple of things they did very well in this movie. First was the atmosphere. They created a fantastic atmosphere early in the movie and kept it going all the way through. The second was gore. I assume that one of the things that made the original movie so popular was how well they did the gore with so little money. They threw money at this movie, and they used it to amp up that gore to the point where it made me squirm on at least one occasion. Did you see the trailer where the girl cut her tongue in half with an Exacto Knife? That’s the one! All the other gore was very well done too, but that one particularly got to me. The third was their homages to the original movie. They had a pendant that was reminiscent of the one Ash gave his girlfriend without being identical. They also had a super badass ending where the chainsaw on the arm came into effect. And it was awesome. One of the first questions I has about this movie was if they did the tree rape or not. The answer is kinda. What they did kind of made more sense, and didn’t look nearly as goofy. It was, in fact, scary, and didn’t look like someone whacked a lady in the vag with a broom handle.

The cast did a fairly good job. Most weren’t playing likeable characters, but they were playing them well. The one I liked the least was Olivia, played by Jessica Lucas. She was a bitch. She made it pretty clear in the movie. The first time we meet her she gets snarky with someone because they refer to her as a doctor, and she’s a registered nurse. Bitch, she gave you a promotion! I’m not even in the medical field, but if someone called me a doctor, I’d consider it a compliment. Also a dick was Eric, who caused the whole mess. And was regularly a dick anyway. He was bitchy towards David from the beginning because, as he put it, he hasn’t cared about them for the past century. They all do look very good for their age, though. I spent a lot of the movie trying to figure out who was supposed to be the Ash character in this movie. Turns out it’s kind of a few of them. David has the look but not the chin for it, Natalie takes her arm off because of infection, and Mia is the one who survives. Perhaps it was Bruce Campbell because he IS Ash and shows up at the end and says Groovy, but only if you stick around for the credits. I understand that David should probably have a problem killing his girlfriend, but I didn’t understand why he had a problem with it by the time she turned demon. She had nails in her face and was missing an arm. I’d have no use for her anymore, even if she lost the demon stuff. She was no longer hot.

I thought the remake of Evil Dead was awesome, and superior to the original. I always was a bigger fan of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness though, since those were when they started getting funny. I thought this remake improved on everything that was enjoyable about the first one. The story was similar, but much better. They had a lot more money and thus a lot better gore. And the performances in this movie were all great and not kinda goofy as they were in the original. Of course, none of the people in this movie were Bruce Campbell (except for Bruce Campbell, that is) and he pretty much made the original movies for me. Even without the be-chined one, this movie is worth watching. Get to a theater and check it out. Evil Dead gets “Feast on this, motherfucker!” out of “I feel better now.”

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