Friday, April 5

Evil Dead Review (2013)

Evil Dead
Dir: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Jane Levy,
Lou Taylor Pucci, and Jessica Lucas

“The most terrifying film you will ever experience”. Those bold words market the new Evil Dead film poster; a brave demonstration for a film that must deal with the discerning eye of the horror community and the undeniable comparisons to one of the best independent horror films of the 1980’s. Though it’s difficult to challenge the established genre standards seen in horror films, most of Evil Dead pays gory homage to Sam Raimi’s original. This new film is probably 20 seconds of additional footage away from losing the R-rating it skimmed into theaters with. Director Fede Alvarez, Evil Dead marking his first full-length feature, displays a keen admiration to the source material, crafting an unrelenting, visceral demonstration that is sure to have even the most diehard horror fan nodding their head in approving delight.

The film begins similar to the original. A group of young adults are on a trip to a rather battered cabin in the woods. While partaking in a forced family reunion for siblings David (Shiloh Fernandez) and Mia (Jane Levy), who haven’t seen each other since a family tragedy, the group has convened as a makeshift rehabilitation support group for Mia who is struggling with addiction and mental illness.  An ominous book, bound in barbed wire, is found in the basement. Containing dangerous incantations amidst blood-splattered drawings the book is opened and the words are spoken by one of the cabin guests. What ensues is a relentless attack by the unleashed evil, which results in some disturbing visuals not for the faint of heart but definitely for the hardcore horror fan. 

There are moments in this film that will feel familiar; some in reference to the original film while others are methods utilized in other mainstream horror fare. In regards to Sam Raimi’s film of 81’, this new rendering offers ingenious touches like the application of the first person ground photography and the Oldsmobile driven in the original. The more obvious ode’s to the original seem too diligently similar which distracts a bit in reference to this new film crafting an identity of it’s own. The other familiarities exist in the usually narrative devices utilized in the genre; like the running woman falling down or the telegraphed jump scares. While the attempts are mostly clever and well executed there are a few that feel overly forced and monotonous. Jane Levy is good in the lead role while the rest of the cast manages in mostly average interpretations. The narrative is simplistic but that’s not a bad thing for this film. The updated story attempts to explain what was left shadowed in the original; some of the ideas work, specifically in reference to the origin of the evil locked in the book. However, the relationship of the siblings gets overwrought with an emotional aspect that is utilized one too many times.

This film isn’t necessarily a remake but rather a continuation from the original. This is one of the first intriguing concepts Fede Alvarez employs, the other being the faithful use of practical effects throughout the entirety of the film. While there are other films that utilize practical methods with effects, there is a small amount that approach with such grandeur of execution as Evil Dead does. To example these spectacles would be giving too much away, but if you were stunned with the red band trailer you can expect more of the same. The sound design creates an apprehensive atmosphere and the score keeps the tension peaked at all the right moments. It’s technically an interesting mix of elements.

While Evil Dead might not be the scariest film you experience this year, it’s definitely the most blood spattered, unrelenting execution of horror you will have seen in some time. Fede Alvarez is a promising director, and with Evil Dead he pays homage to Raimi’s venture while crafting a merciless exhibition that will undeniably bring new followers into the enduring Deadite masses.

Monte’s Rating
4.00 out of 5.00

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