Saturday
Apr132013

Quick Thoughts: EVIL DEAD (2013)

I know I've been AWOL from this site for a while, but I've got some reviews and other articles in the pipeline so OC101 won't be this dead for long. Even though I do my best to stay away from "mainstream" titles (look at the title of the website if you're wondering why), I think it would be good if I gave some quick opinions on this latest Evil Dead remake. Given that The Evil Dead from 1981 was the first movie to get me into ultra-gory, low-budget monster extravaganzas, and Army of Darkness is my favorite film of all time, having another Evil Dead flick on theater screens for the first time in 21 years was kind of a big deal for me, remake or not. Let's take a look.

So the premise of this one is pretty much the same as in the original, but with a slight variation. Five friends head up to a remote cabin in the woods, but not for fun; one of the girls (I would assume a redux of the "Cheryl" character from the original), a drug addict, OD'd and nearly died, so now they're isolating her to kick her addiction. One of them reads from a book bound in human flesh and inked in human blood and...well, you know what happens. 

There are parts of Evil Dead I really, really liked. My big number one: an almost complete lack of CGI. Aside from some fire-effects, everything in this movie is done with prosthetics, and there is a LOT of gore in this movie (even more than in the original; how this movie got an R-rating is an enigma). This movie definitely goes for the gross-out more than it goes for the scare, shown by the leering close-ups of people pulling knives and needles out of their skin after a deadite attack. Hopefully the effects in this movie, which are more disgusting and disturbing than most "gross-out" films in the past few years, will encourage a new wave of practical gore effects. The film is directed very slickly and very well. There are some beautiful and down-right creepy shots, especially how they shot the fog-enshrouded forest, 

On the flipside of the coin, the worst and almost devastating part of Evil Dead is the boring, boring characters. In the original, we spend a lot of time with the characters before the "festivities" begin so I care a little whether or not they get dismembered. In this one, none of the dialogue is character-building small talk, and all of it has to do with the girl getting rid of her addiction, the girl's brother leaving them and just now coming back, etc., and it's all dull. I haven't seen the original in over a year, and I know the characters' names by heart. I just saw this one yesterday and I've forgotten nearly all the names (except Mia, because they certainly repeat it enough times). The only character I found myself liking was the Eric character (a projection of Scott from the original), as he was the one taking charge and he knew what to do. I felt similarly about Scott's character in the first, but then they gave me a reason to like Ash more when he leaves them all to die. I still liked Eric more than all othr characters when the credits started rolling. This is nothing more than a splatter movie with no attempts at creating scares aside from a lot of jump scares thrown in. 

I guess what pissed me off about Evil Dead the most was the lack of fun. I was watching a possessed girl slice her tongue in half, and I just thought, "Shouldn't I be having fun by now?" There are a few darkly comedic touches, like the girl whose arm is hanging onto her body by a thread, how abused the Eric character gets (I really began to feel for the guy), and a splat-tastic Grand Guignol finale that had me grinning like an idiot. I know Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were pretty involved, but I wish they had more of a hand in writing the script (the movie's biggest downfall). Fede Alvarez certainly has talent with directing, but I think he should stay away from writing his own scripts. I'd say it's a decent movie to watch with some friends (especially if they're squeamish), but if you're looking for a fun time by yourself, stick with the original three and remember the good old days. if this was an official review, I'd give it somehwere around a 5 or 6 out of 10. It's not bad; it's just not what an Evil Dead movie should be. 

*NOTE* There is a scene after the credits, but while it's a nice touch, it adds nothing to the story and seems like it should be a DVD easter egg than an after-the-credits clip.

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