It was with great trepidation I finally got around to seeing the re-imagining of Sam Raimi’s infamous classic ‘The Evil Dead’. Given a little bit of hope by seeing Raimi’s name plastered all over the production credits, and the fact that the trailer on red band looked all kinds of grim it still took fellow BTG contributor Chris to convince me to watch it.
The idea of a re-envisioning is often a nice little piece of PR jargon for ‘we are pissing all over one of your favourite movies, but we still are hoping you will come watch it’, however in this case the word is 100% accurate, and pretty much the prime reason the movie is such a success. This movie doesn’t add to or change any significant part of the ‘Evil Dead’ lore and it doesn’t seek to stamp its mark as doing anything significantly better than the original, it’s just the same sort of idea, but altered slightly - kind of like a sequel really; in fact, well conjecture really, it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the movies ideas came from the ‘Evil Dead 4’ movie Raimi constantly threatened to make.
The plot, for all you newbies, sees five youths visit a remote cabin in the woods; in this version they are there to help a friend kick a heroin addiction. Whilst there they find a book - bound in human flesh, inked in blood – and it contains a spell, four words which will awake a slumbering evil out in the woods. They read and the evil comes to take their souls.
In all honesty, the plot seems to carry much more weight than my brief synopsis would suggest, and perhaps that is the point. The premise is simple, but the devil is in the details. The very thing that made the original stand out also has the same effect. In this case the possessed aren’t zombies, or inhibited in any way, they appear savage and feral, and, luckily for us really keen on mutilation and violence. The movie movies along at a blistering pace, and although it took me a while to adjust to the new cast, the actors play their parts well. The script is good enough, although gone are the cheesy one liners which were to be quoted for decades following, in their place are lines which are just cheesy in some places, forgettable in others. There are some nice little additions to the backstory of the book, most influenced clearly by many modern supernatural movies - including Raimi’s own ‘Drag Me to Hell’, in particular the inking in the book, the incantations and stages of possession which help keep the movie from feeling recycled.
I was happy enough with the plot, although as I said already, I was more relieved it didn’t go and do something silly so to undermine the original trilogy. Where I did get my kicks, however, was from the gore.
Whoever created the gore scenes in this movie deserves a medal! I knew that one of the selling points was that the gore effects were old school, and whoever made that call also is worth a mention. They pack a punch, each scene competing to outdo the last, and when you consider this movie is pretty much 90 minutes of continuous violence, that is no mean feat. The chainsaws back, as are a range of new home grown methods of bodily mutilation. Blood literally pours from the screen. The effects are awesome, and really carry this movie to success, even without its infamous title. The possessed (or deadites to the seasoned amongst you) look pretty good, although not quite as mental as I would have liked them to be. They start off looking pretty human, but it doesn’t take long before someone takes it upon themselves to have a go at some rather macabre bodily reconstruction. The more dismembered they are, the better they look, and even though there are only five teens in total, each of them dies about three times each, so there is no shortage of body count.
Overall, to suggest this movie brings anything new to the genre would be a lie, however it’s a solid entry. I would have loved to have seen the controversy created by the release of the original, and although times have changed, and violence in movies no longer gets the coverage it used to, this movie seeks to push the boundaries. It’s been a while since we said that about a gore film. All in all it’s a massive and welcomed relief to say that ‘Evil Dead’ 2013 is a remake that everyone, fans and all can enjoy. Make sure you see it!