Movie Review: ‘Evil Dead’ is great for old school fans, but not so much for new ones

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Evil-Dead-PosterFive friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival. (Synopsis from IMDB).

[SPOILERS] Before I wrote this review, I took a look at what some other sites are saying about this movie. Like me, the majority of folks have mixed reviews about it. Now, when I went to watch the movie, I had someone with me who had never watched the original films. I am going to add in some of her opinions as I go.

Directed by Fede Alvarez, Evil Dead stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore. The minds behind the original film (Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert) each acted as producers. By keeping these three names with the movie, there was a hope that the same feel would be included in this remake.

Did they succeed? I’d have to say mixed results based on the the varied responses of the audiences.

For the Evil Dead fans, this movie hits all of the high points and also delivers on the gore factor. Between dismemberment, tongue slicing, and cheek cutting, there is a plethora of blood pouring out all over the place. It was so nice seeing the return of the famous chainsaw from the original film.

For a genre that is slowly getting played out (the cabin in the woods horror movies), Evil Dead hits the genre with a more visceral, no-holds-barred take that includes copious amounts of blood and gore. While other films like Cabin in the Woods had a more unique take on the genre, Fede Alvarez’s film is a throwback to the original Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2. There isn’t much focus on story or original plot, but the focus on the wet effects was truly impressive.

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One of the unfortunate parts is the lack of true jump scares. I blame this on the commercials and trailers that were released in the weeks prior to the release. They gave away all of the scariest scenes (especially the tongue slicing/face tearing scenes). There were a few jump scares that weren’t released, but unfortunately there weren’t enough to make this a truly terrifying film.

For people who never watched the original movies (poor, deprived souls that they are), there may have been a disconnect. The movie may have seemed to teeter very close on the fine line between horror and torture porn (this was the feedback I received). The extreme bloodshed and gore may turn off some viewers who do not know what to expect.

evil-dead-2013_75074Now, for me, the movie provided the perfect quantity of bloodshed and extreme violence to pay homage to the extremes in Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness. While I appreciated that fact that the possessed folk’s blood was red (not green or yellow ichor as in the other movies) and the over-the-top violence, I believe that the director went the extra mile to ratchet up the insanity with a sky raining blood.

The cast did a remarkable job portraying demonically possessed 20 somethings or the non-possessed who are trying to find a way out of this horrifying nightmare. Jane Levy gives an amazing performance as Mia (especially in her possessed roles). While I cringed at some of the decisions and logic presented by the 5 friends (fairly typical for people in any horror movie I have ever watched), I also was impressed by the cast’s ability to portray horror, indecision, and confusion.

As with any horror movie, there are some continuity or logic issues that I had to fight my way through. Using a car battery, two horse needles and jumper cables to act as a defibrillator somewhat pulled me out of the moment. On top of that, I got lost for a little while trying to figure out who were the five people who died to allow the bad thing to come back. I’m still not exactly sure about that. Overall, I was still impressed with the film. These little issues did not make me think less of the film at all.

It’s hard for me to rate this film. As a horror geek, I would give the film a 8 out of 10. If I stepped out of my comfort zone and thought about the film as a horror novice, I would probably only give the film a 6 or 7 out of 10.

One lesson to be learned for all: If a book has a note that says “DO NOT READ”, don’t read the damn book.

If you do go see the movie, stick out the credits until the end. It’s worth it.

Take a peak at the trailer below:

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