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IHC Movie Reviews: Evil Dead (2013)

The remake of the horror classic hit theatres this weekend. The original is heralded as a classic among horror connoisseurs, and the remake has been a hot topic for fans of the original. So how does it do? Does it do the name justice, or should have been left in the ruins of Kandar?

So first and foremost, I’m a big Evil Dead fan. I’ve seen the original three countless times, I have the super fancy edition DVDs, and I even made the trek a few years ago to see Evil Dead The Musical. It’s a series that I’ve had a weak spot for. Before going to see this one today, I rewatched the original. It made me downright giddy to imagine a remake with an ambitious director, a budget, all under the direction of Sam Raimi. After walking out of theater, I was still fairly giddy. 

OK, you know how the story goes. Group of twenty somethings go to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, they find a creepy evil book, and shit proceeds to hit the fan. This time it’s a little bit different, though. The reason they’re there is to help Mia kick heroin cold turkey, and I guess going to a random creepy cabin is cheaper than rehab. So in addition to fighting her own inner demons, there are real ones as well. Jane Levy as Mia was honestly the high point of the cast, eventually turning into a badass towards the end of the film. The rest of the cast is competent, but it’s nothing that stands out. Lou Taylor Pucci’s character Eric is a slight exception, though. His character is a little bit less stiff and awkward as the rest, though he gets very little screen time. The script was pretty well done. I don’t know how much of a rewrite Diablo Cody did, but her touches are all over the exposition at the beginning of the film. There’s some iconic one liners sprinkled around, and some really good dialog through the film even though the delivery might fall flat sometimes. One thing that I’ve heard people complaining about is the lack of character development. There’s some, but not so much as to bog the story down. There’s enough to make sense of some of the situations. Compared to the original, which pretty much began and ended with the car ride up, this one is pretty deep. 

Raimi hand picked Alvarez and left the fate of the flick in his hands. Honestly, it was a great move. Instead of being a CGI splatterfest, they went the practical route, and it looks great. There’s some seriously unnerving sequences that would have been ruined with CGI. There’s not a drip of CGI blood to be found, and it makes a big difference in the end. There’s a few jump scares sprinkled around, but mainly the film relies more on just disturbing imagery and suspense. I was on the edge of my seat during a few moments, and it was refreshing. He not only knows how to milk every ounce of horror for a scene, but he makes them look amazing. The camera work is amazing, the sets looks amazing, and he uses lighting really well. The production value on this is head and shoulders above tons of the horror films that have been released lately. The cabin looks genuinely creepy, the basement actually almost instills a sense of fear, and even the necronomicon has been updated and looks creepy as hell. 

All in all, it’s a great horror flick totally worthy of the Evil Dead moniker. It’s scary, it’s gory, and it’s creepy. There’s a few little things that bugged me as a fan of the franchise, but when a flick gets so much right the little stuff can be ignored. Some of the characters are flat, there’s a couple little plot holes, and some of the little story threads kind of fall on wayside. But it’s easily overlooked when the rest of the film is so fun. While some people might not agree, I fully support this as a new entry into the Evil Dead franchise, and personally can’t wait for the next one. 

5 out of 5

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