Saturday, April 6, 2013

Evil Dead '13 (Movie Review)

An Unnecessary Evil

Now before I get into this review, let me give some historical context about the The Evil Dead series and it's impact on the horror genre. In the early 80's Sam Raimi and his childhood friend Bruce Campbell set out to take their love of film to another level. With a small budget, an inspired script and an ambitious director they set a new standard for horror and created their own sub-genre in the process. 

Nowadays children will probably laugh when they see the original The Evil Dead (1981) and there is a campy quality through a lot of it, but keep in mind the first film was not meant to be funny and in fact the movie was deemed so disturbing by the MPAA that it still holds an NC-17 rating. Audiences were shocked at the amount of gore, violence and dark humor which made it a cult classic in Europe and eventually in America. The acting remains laughable, the character development is thin and the tree rape scene is regretted by Raimi himself but The Evil Dead holds a status in horror that few films can reach, even with the more slapstick sequels. 

The last film I saw where a group of teenagers go to a cabin in the woods was in fact, Cabin in the Woods (2011), a film I enjoyed because of it's originality and satiric approach to horror cliches. The Evil Dead's formula has been recycled so many times in horror that somebody might watch the original and not know that it's among the first and best in that category.  So here's the actual remake of The Evil Dead with Sam Raimi's support and I was skeptical but enthusiastic at what the film could achieve over 30 years later, and despite writer/director Fede Alvarez's daring debut, he fails to capture what made the series so iconic and instead makes a stale and forgettable film.

Is this an April Fool's poster?
The story is basically the same, five friends go to an old cabin, this time to support their friend Mia (Jane Levy) who is quitting drugs cold turkey. Mia has tension with her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) who was not there when their mom died but he is apologetic and wants to change things. That is pretty much all of the backstory in the film, oh aside from the opening scene which shows a father burning his daughter at the stake. The other characters are unimportant; one is a high school teacher, one is a nurse and the other barely has any lines, or purpose.

While Mia is suffering from withdrawal symptoms, the two guys come across a basement with dead cats hanging from the ceiling and ignore every sign to go home until it's too late and they find "The Book of the Dead". The bold high school teacher has no hesitation when stenciling over the demonic book to translate and recite the words to awaken the demons lurking beneath the woods. While the backstory wasn't important in the original this one takes the subject matter very seriously and so that is how I watched it. Much like The Nightmare On Elm Street remake, which I also didn't care for, the film lacks any fun or empathy in its characters and it really affects the outcome because I didn't have fun watching it.

Even if I overlook the subpar cast, the script is full of so many plot holes and diverges from the source material so much that midway through the gallons of blood seemed like an attempt to distract, more than to entertain. I mean when's the last time you've seen someone in their 20's not have their phone out for an entire day? I know I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief but it's 2013 and horror movies at least have the "no service" excuse most of the time. And the group of hipster friends who agree to help their friend "sober up" decide to go to a remote cabin they haven't visted in years, because as I'm sure the nurse would agree, it is more effective than a rehabilitation center. come you didn't text me last night?.....

As for the gore, Evil Dead serves up more than enough gallons of bodily fluids to satisfy bloodthirsty fans. The weapons range from a chainsaw, meat cutter, box cutter, and syringe which are all used to puncture and mutilate every bodily orifice available and most of the wounds are tended to with duct tape (Probably from the nurse's first-aid kit). One character raids the shed and builds a makeshift defibrillator out of jumper cables. 

If there is any redeeming quality to the film it is from Jane Levy's range and intensity in her performance and some of the homages to the original are appreciated while others were unnecessary like the updated rape scene or the necklace David gives to his sister at the beginning of the film. Alvarez's Evil Dead certainly had potential to update a classic but it veers so far off course by the end that by the credits the thought of a sequel  is scarier than the film itself. You're better off staying home and watching the originals.

Also: if you're a fan of the originals stay after the credits. 

My Rating:

6 Comments: Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I totally agree! and there is no charismatic Bruce Campbell actor type in this movie either. all the actors/actresses in this one are so dull!

No charisma in any of the actors or demons for that matter. I'm confused at all the praise this movie is getting because it's not a worthy remake and alone it doesn't offer anything new to the genre. Overall fans should feel disappointed if they spent money on this.

I came across your review from you posting the link on screen rant. Get over yourself. This was a terrible review. It seems like you either wanted something brand new or something exactly the same. Instead of a different telling of the same story, which is what they gave us and they did a fine job at that. It's a solid three out of five. It's worth the price of a movie ticket but not of owning.

First thing ill mention is the kicking of the drugs. How many people do you know that are addicted to heroine? Sadly In the state of Arizona that is the most used drug and as of late reaching kids as young as twelve. Truly a sad fact. But. Dropping some one off at a rehabilitation center only works if they are truly willing. If you knew any one addicted to heroine, you would know that Mia was high in the beginning of the film. As they stated, if they were anywhere else she would just leave and get high. I know one to many people that are continuing this struggle and the best methods is being locked into a house with your drug free friends.

Next the whole phone thing. Being in my early twenties I can agree that most people of the age are always on their phones. Seriously though, if you a trying to help your friend kick drugs and you are on the phone the entire time, you are a horrible friend. Friends like that don't help. They sit at home on their computers writing horrible movie reviews or playing Star Wars: the old republic.

The character that is the brothers girlfriends. So lets say you're dating this guy. He takes you on a date with his estranged family and friends to help his sister get clean. Yes. I see you being really talkative. She acted awkward and out of place because she was. That's how the average person would react in that situation.


Dear Stephen,

I came into the movie with no expectations whatsoever so I didn't expect for it to come close to the original, but I did expect it to prove itself as a horror movie since they are updating one of the best horror franchises of all time.

That being said it was nothing like the original! There were no significant characters other than the main actress, which I said in my review, it barely deserves two stars for it's paper thin plot and clueless characters. The practical effects were good but at what point is it just throwing blood at the camera?

Just because I don't personally know any heroine addicts does not mean I'm not familiar with the drug and its effects. And I didn't suggest they drop her off at the door of some rehab facility, I'm just saying her friends could have taken her to somewhere more suitable than a rundown cabin.

There's a show called Intervention where friends and family help all the time. Nowhere in that show do they go to the woods and lock themselves in with an addict. There are also halfway houses where they can go through the withdrawal process with other addicts. So I hope your friends get a little more help than you locking them in a cabin.

And again your exaggerated logic is a misreading of my review. Nowhere did I say they had to be on the phone the entire time but not once in the entire film did they try and call for help when their friends are dying one by one. I think a friend calling an ambulance would be more help than someone who watches their friends kill each other and does nothing.

To your last paragraph I have no idea what you're talking about since you don't understand the concept of proper punctuation and sentence structure. Friends like yours are probably addicts because they have to put up with your rambling nonsense. It's fags like you that are keeping the horror genre at such a low standard.

Good day sir.

I wholeheartedly agree with Stephen's comment. This review was a HUGE pile of shit. You seem to be unable to separate the source material from this iteration. I have never seen any of the original Evil Dead's, but came to see this after hearing good things about it and the series as a whole. I came out of it completely blown away. I am someone who normally thoroughly scrutinizes character actions in horror movies but make no mistake, there were no leaps in logic from my perspective at all. You cite "plot holes" without ever giving any real definite examples.

Get a clue. It had it's own unique voice. If you can't accept a piece of cinema on it's own ground without ceasely comparing it the original, then it's obvious you're not a movie critic at all. You're some Dvil Dead fanboy mad they didn't make the remake exactly like the movies you're nostalgic about. Your response to Stephen's comment only made it even more readily apparent how stupid this review is. I shan't be visiting this shitty blog ever again.

Dear Connor,

The key phrase in your comment is "I have never seen any of the original Evil Dead's". You don't need to, but ask anyone which movie is more entertaining and see what they say. As a fan of the horror genre as a whole, this movie is nothing to be "blown away" about.

As for the "plot holes", I give several examples in my review and in my reply to your boyfriend Stephen. I even said I judged it as its own movie and it was just boring. I shan't be losing any sleep because you don't read my blog.

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