31 in 31 + Wayback Review: “Evil Dead” (2013)!

Okay, so I picked this up on Vudu because 1) it’s on sale right now, and 2) I didn’t think I’d written a review for this remake. But I did! So I’m absolutely stealing my seven-year-old post, and not even editing it! I’m a rebel. I’ll do my usual “31” bits, but hit the full review after the jump!

“I had to do it.”

Story: Five friends get together in a cabin in the woods because addict Mina wants to finally kick the habit. Um, don’t go in the basement. Haven’t y’all seen the original movie?

Scares: Lots of chills, even for hard-core fans who have the original memorized.

Splat factor: YES. Just…yes.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nup. You’ll have been through enough by then.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Based on Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror masterpiece. Serves as a reboot/re-imagining for the series.

Score: 4. 5 out of 5 pumpkins.

Movie Review: Evil Dead
(circa April 5, 2013)

Evil Dead is here y’all!  Horror fans everywhere are nerd-gasaming all over the place.  It’s an ugly sight, because we don’t do quiet very well.  But I’m here to tell you that all that jumping around, panting and drooling is totally justified.  Evil Dead brings it, rocking old-school 80s horror and 21st Century savviness in equal measure.

 For moviegoers who aren’t up on their horror film history, here’s a list of the films in the Evil Dead franchise:

 * The Evil Dead (1981) — scary with bits of humor.

Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987) — an even mix of humor and horror.

Army of Darkness (1992) — more humor than horror, but it gave us the classic line “This… is my boomstick!”  For which the nerd world is eternally grateful.

Evil Dead (2013) — today’s primary topic of discussion.

 There’s also a short film, Within The Woods, that Sam Raimi made in 1978 that got the ball rolling.

 Okay, with me?  Then let’s get to the task at hand.  Which is me saying that if you’re into horror films, you’ve gotta see this.  Seriously.  Run out now, see it, and then come back.  I’ll be here waiting.

 Why am I so amped about this film?  Because it does what 99% of all  remakes/re-imaginings/shameless ripoff films fail to do; it gives the old-school fans a wink and a smile while keeping newbies entertained.  That’s the stuff right there.

 Plus, there’s blood.  Lots of it.  TONS of it.  It literally rains down from the sky during the climax.  It’s so over the top that it becomes another awesome bit of FX to enjoy.  I’m not saying that you should drag your nearest 10-year-old out to see this, unless you want to scar that puppy for life.  But for those of you that ook out on the red stuff, think of this as Dead Alive…but in the woods, and much creepier.  (And I’m sure Peter Jackson won’t hate me for saying so, because let’s face it; Dead Alive is awesome because it goes from gore-tastic to hilarious.  On purpose.)

 On to the hardcore critic-ness.  I’ll discuss the movie, and talk about how it compares to the original.  Then I’ll tell you all the stuff I like about this film, and the very few things that didn’t rate superawesome.  Let’s get started.

 Five friends head up to a cabin in the woods (no, not that cabin)  so one of them — artsy but damaged Mia — can go through withdrawal without punking out.  Her brother David is there, along with their long-time friends Eric and Olivia, and David’s girlfriend Natalie.  But the cabin has gone a bit crap-tastic in the decade they’ve been busy growing up.  It looks like the place they filmed Tucker and Dale versus Evil.  But ickier.  Not a great way to start out a detox weekend.  When Mia starts complaining of strange smells, everyone chalks it up to her DT’s.  Then they find a trapdoor hidden under the rug and all hell breaks loose.  Well, it does after Eric finds a book that is wrapped up tight with barbed wire…and decides to snip off the wire and give the HUMAN FLESH COVERED book (called  the Naturom Demonto) a read.  Yeah.  It’s gonna be one of those weekends y’all.

Evil Dead has great pacing, characters that sound like actual human beings instead of exposition machines (credit screenwriter Diablo Cody, who lent her considerable skill to doctoring this screenplay) and tons of FX that doesn’t look like a CGI-fest.  That’s because there’s no CGI in this film.  That’s right, it’s all live action effects.  Sweet, huh?  Absolutely.  Because when the body parts start coming off — and believe me, they are removed in gloriously gory ways — there’s nothing like seeing actual stuff get cut, ripped and/or torn.  It makes the upper GI really react.  So if you’re a soft touch maybe popcorn should be a no-no.  (I happily wolfed down mine though; horror movies this good require maximum snackage.)

The “nobody believes the addict” plot device was a fantastic twist to the original story.  Just like The Evil Dead, the twenty-somethings are in the cabin, the book is read (by an idiot, if you ask me), and then THINGS GO DOWN.  However, in Evil Dead Mia is terrified and even more horrified that nobody will believe her.  Jane Levy (Suburgatory) gives an amazing performance so visceral it feels like you’re living it with her.  Levy is arresting, and when she gets caught up in the forest — a scene so notorious in The Evil Dead that it’s referred to as “the tree rape scene” — it’s truly horrifying.  Evil Dead telegraphs most of it’s punches by cutting to applicable pages of the Naturom Demonto, but even when you know what’s gonna happen it’s still scary as hell when it does.

 Negatives?  Okay, there are a couple of scenes that end up coming off as humorous even though they’re not supposed to be.  For example, a character gets an arm cut off, then loses a hand after that character becomes demonic.  But when you see the “scary demon” standing there with no hands, it ends up looking like “it’s just a flesh wound”. The forest scene also gets a little giggly; perhaps a bit of editing so you wouldn’t see exactly what’s happening would go far in steering that scene back to horror.  (Again Levy’s performance is perfection, even with the tree TMI).  There are instances when the soundtrack amps up to 11, and the “da-duuuuuum!” is too much of a good thing hitting you upside the head.  But these things may work to the films advantage when Evil Dead hits DVD/Blu-Ray, and folks are watching with their own small group of friends.  Just don’t go in the basement y’all.  Trust me.

Fans of the original will have fun watching what’s going on and drawing parallels to the first and second films of the franchise, but you don’t need to have seen the earlier movies to have a good time.  In fact, franchise fans and newcomers to the series will each have things to be jealous of in the other camp.  There are several times in Evil Dead where you think things are gonna wrap up, but then more horrible happens.  This will drive old-school fans crazy, because once you think you know who the “Ash”/survivor character in this film is, things shift.  And shift again.  And again.  Things do finally wrap up, and nicely too.  But don’t get up ‘til after the credits wrap.  There’s a tasty bit of goodness at the bitter end of the credits — which are themselves full of gore, Naturom Demonto images and creepy bits of voiceovers from the original The Evil Dead — that you don’t want to miss.  Because it’s groovy, baby.

So what have we learned today kiddies?  NEVER read a book that has been wrapped in barbed wire.  And get yourself to Evil Dead.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
This entry was posted in 31 in 31, Elsewhere Reviews, GeekForE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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