“Evil Dead” rises from the grave to a new generation

Daniel Woodhouse

It’s a general opinion among both fans and moviegoers that remakes tend to suck. Bad remakes usually rehash the original scene for scene (The Omen 2006), or destroy everything the original stood for (Rollerball 2002). A good remake takes the original, builds on it, and introduces new elements in order to improve the overall quality (King Kong 2005). So where does the new Evil Dead rank compared to the 1981 original?

The plot follows about the same format as the original: a group of friends (Mia, David, Eric, Olivia, and Natalie) spend a weekend in a secluded cabin in the woods.

A couple things have been changed. For instance, the reason why the kids go to the cabin in the first place is much more interesting. Mia has been addicted to heroine for some time now, so her friends have brought her to the cabin so she can detox, unlike the original where the kids were simply on vacation.

Eventually, Mia freaks out from the isolation and drives off into the woods. Meanwhile, Eric finds a book in the cabin’s basement; its cover is made of human skin and might as well have had a neon sign hovering over it that says, ‘Bad things will happen if you read this book!’.

Eric goes against the advice of several warnings written in blood inside the book and speaks a series of words from the ancient text of the pages. An evil presence is released that causes Mia to crash her car and get raped by the branches of a tree (and yes, this same thing happened in the original).

Courtesy of "Evil Dead" Facebook Page
Courtesy of “Evil Dead” Facebook Page

Infected with a demonic essence, she returns to the cabin where the demon attempts to spread to rest of the group. Soon they realize that they’ll have to commit unspeakable acts of violence if they want to survive the night.

Director Fede Alvarez, and Writers Rodo Sayagues and Diablo Cody have written a script filled with guts, but no glory, if you know what I mean. Heads are squished like cantaloupes, limbs are severed, bones get crushed, flesh is barbequed, and bodily fluids are vomited. Hemophobics may feel inclined to step out of the theater or at least bring several puke bags, as there is enough plasma spilled to fill about 20 blood banks.

Alvarez does an excellent job of utilizing Sam Raimi’s style of the original Evil Dead, focusing more on the ‘EWW’ rather than the more common ‘BOO.’ He does this through the use of physical effects rather than computer-generated imagery, like the 2004 The Fog remake. The technique allows the brutality of the kills to really sink in and gives the film the look that it’s still grounded in reality. While the scares themselves don’t elicit the same shock value of the original, the scenes are tense enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The cast portray their respective characters well, especially Jane Levy as Mia, whom the demon uses to taunt the other characters by occasionally switching between Mia and the demonic form. With some great makeup work, combined with some creepy performances, the actors are able to display a chilling appearance that something sinister has taken over these characters.

Special mention goes out to the movie’s composer Roque Baños for crafting an amazing score that gives the audience the sensation that something from the bowels of hell itself has come to devour the souls of the living.

While it may not live up to its poster line, “The most terrifying film you will ever experience,” Evil Dead is a satisfying installment to it’s franchise that pays homage to its original, while giving us a fresh new experience at the same time.

4.5 out of 5 Stars