‘Evil Dead’ Review

Evil Dead movie poster

“”Evil Dead,” the reboot of Sam Raimi’s 1983 film,”The Evil Dead,” tag line notwithstanding, probably is not “the most horrifying film you will ever experience,” though few films approach self-multilation with such a sense of abandon”

In Sam Raimi’s original film, humor was often used to leaven the effects of the horror, thought the reboot–for the most part–plays things straight. This approach works to devastating effect when the going gets really nasty, because nothing is coming to help release the tension.

And while Fede Alvarez’s film is remarkably violent at times–made even more horrific by special effects that appear entirely practical, instead of digital–the most significant difference between the two movies is that the new version opens with a man attempting to free his daughter from the influence of the demon that will later return to plague another group of unwary travelers.

The aforementioned travelers, a group of young people who come to the cabin to stage an intervention, inadvertently summon the demon that will bring their doom. And speaking of the demon, in the original it appears long before anyone does anything to bring it about, which makes playing a tape with the spell a little bit pointless.

In the new version the spell is read from a book, though one would have to wonder why anyone would do that, especially since the book the information came from was covered in human flesh (I don’t recall anyone saying that it was written in blood, but when you’re talking about flesh-covered books, I think it’s a given) and wrapped in barbed wire.

The older version handled this important plot point better (despite invalidating the same point early on), if only by using a tape recording it at least took control out of the hands of the potential victims.

The reboot makes a serious error though, which almost undermines everything it spend over an hour building.  It related to how the demonic “infection” spread.  It seemed that whenever the demon exchanged bodily fluids with a person, either through vomiting, biting, or even a kiss, the infection was spread to the other person.

This pattern, which makes “Evil Dead” similar to slasher flicks in that sex is used to mark a person as unpure, is extended to physical contact.  It’s an interesting idea, which is why when it’s abandoned in the third act it’s so strange.

Luckily, it’s not enough to derail the film.

When the movie ends, you realize that Alverez has perhaps done the seeming impossible, and successfully taken a horror classic, and remade it for the 21st century.

2 thoughts on “‘Evil Dead’ Review

  1. Nice review. I don’t mind when a flick like this uses blood and gore to it’s advantage, but at least give me something more than just that, and that alone.

    1. One of the oddest things about “Evil Dead,” which I didn’t mention in my review, is that it’s in its own way as cartoonish as the orginal film, though the grimmer tone (and much better special effects) makes it easier to overlook.

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