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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Evil Dead - Review

Evil Dead is a revision of the 1981 cult classic telling the story of five young people who head off for retreat at an isolated cabin. The group discovers the "Book of the Dead" and unleashes evil in the woods.

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Also keep in mind that about 90% of the footage in the trailers was not in the movie.

I was not initially excited for Evil Dead as I am a huge fan of the original and its sequels. When I heard it was being remade I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn't start warming up to this remake until I saw the redband trailer and some promo pictures. I also read some reviews from SXSW and from some early screenings and they were all pretty positive including those from fans of the original. With that said, I went into the theater last night fairly comfortable with the idea. 
Now... I want to emphasize that as a horror film, and as a horror fan watching, it was not a bad movie. It was actually quite good. However, I would not call this a remake. I would classify it as a revision and interpretation of the original source material. There were nods to the original that I appreciated, but as a whole it really wasn't that close to the original movie. The dialogue was different, the characters were different, the book was different, and the chain of events was all different.
I also need to say this before going too far into this review: please do not bring your children to the theater with you. My theater had a very decent amount of young children 8-years old and younger and there was a lot of crying, screaming, and whining throughout the whole movie. I noticed at least five groups with young kids leave after the opening scene and didn't come back. More people kept getting up with their kids and walking in and out of the theater. It disgusted me and was very distracting. Personally, I think you deserve to lose money on tickets and food and deserve to deal with your kid whining about being scared if you are idiotic enough to bring them to a movie like this. Don't do it. This isn't a kids movie in any way, shape, or form. 

I want to give massive props to Fede Alvarez and the whole team for the use of practical effects and for leaving the CGI bullshit out of the picture. I enjoyed every second of the visuals and absolutely loved the use of makeup, fake blood (and tons of it), and the basic grittiness of the movie as a whole. People need to look at the effects in this movie and take notes.
I also appreciated that it wasn't totally modernized in the sense of them having cell phones and whatever else, but you could tell that it took place in the modern era. The clothing and styling of the characters is fairly timeless, so if this movie is watched 10 years down the road it's not like the audience can say "oh you can totally tell this took place in the 70's." I also liked the way they didn't use any commercial music in the movie to give away potential time period, either. The only music was the score.
Like I said, there were nods to the original like the necklace, the Michigan State clothing, and some of the injuries. And yes, Ash's car was present. However, the references didn't go too far into the plot and some of them weren't even acknowledged by the characters. I think the only real reference that played any important part, like in the original, was the necklace. Examples like these are what make me say this wasn't really a remake. I guess the term "reboot" fits better.
The plot was, admittedly, a little more interesting than the plot of the original because it had more characterization and substance. They had an actual reason for being at the cabin and it wasn't just because they wanted to go on a group retreat for a weekend. Because of this there was reason for the characters to stay there and not take off just because things get weird. I did like that.
I also want to say the acting wasn't too shabby. Jane Levy stole the show and did a great job, but there wasn't a cast member that didn't pull their weight. The dialogue was alright. It had it's own elements of humor with lines like, "I don't want to be the Devil's bitch."

But, of course, there were things I didn't like. The main thing was the fact that Eric, (played by Lou Taylor Pucci) basically knew the outcome of what was going on. They gave him a little too much sarcasm and information. The thing I loved about the other characters and about the original Evil Dead was the fact that they had no idea what was coming next. With him looking through the book and basically knowing what was about to happen took a lot away from me and from the suspense of the plot. I also didn't really like the whole unleashed creature twist at the end.
This is a weird complaint seeing that profanity doesn't really bother me, but I found the use of foul language a bit unnecessary. I feel like they went with the current trend of the possessed being obscene rather than using visuals and actual possession like the original did. Having the evil Mia say she was going to suck her brother's cock and stuff like that was a bit unnecessary. It took away from the movie for me. Movies don't need to have bad language to be good or to fit in with the current horror genre.

Apart from that, I did enjoy Evil Dead. As a stand alone horror film it was good, but as a classified remake it was... so-so. Comparing it to the original it loses big time.

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