Dir: Fede Alvarez (short film Panic Attack)
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore
Synopsis: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival
Before I get into the review I want to get this out. Please try to see this with a neutral mindset. Yes, it is a remake/reboot of Sam Raimi’s classic Evil Dead film. I know the “hardcore fans” have been down talking the movie, which is fair since most remakes/reboots don’t tend to be all that good, but if you try to at least put aside what made Raimi’s Evil Dead great and know this is not trying to be that but it’s own thing then you will enjoy it, trust me. Last bit, if you seen the trailers then you know what you’re walking into somewhat so please don’t complain like A LOT of people are doing AND the movie is produced by Sami Raimi and Bruce Campbell so it’s not like they did to cash on the name and make more money. Alright onward to the review.
The beginning of the movie really kicks things off and pretty much lays out how the rest of the movie will go tone and horror wise with characters that we won’t see for the rest of the movie. From there we are introduced to our characters that are there to help one of their friends, Mia (Levy) who has a drug problem. Among the friends are Eric (Pucci), Olivia (Lucas), Natalie (Blackmore) and her estranged brother David (Fernandez).
While Mia is confronting her own horrors of withdrawal, her friends find the cellar filled with some very unpleasant things but also find a mysterious book which is in a trash bag wrapped in barbed wire (which really should be a sign). While the group deals with Mia’s withdrawal symptoms, Eric is fascinated by the idea of the book and of course reads from it despite the warnings. Once he reads it we see the familiar “demon POV speeding through the woods” shot and from this point is when start to see the Evil Dead we know, or at least some of it.
The evil, if that’s what you want to call, does all that it can make sure that no one leaves the cabin and of course starts to posses and kill the people in the cabin. The movie does have a similar structure to Raimi’s and embraces them with sounds, imagery and even some dialogue. If you are said hardcore fan I’m sure you can even find some “Easter eggs/homage” in the background. It even plays with the audience a bit knowing that they are looking for things or even specific scenes from the original to be in there.
Obviously I don’t want to give too much away but needless to say this movie is almost different and similar to the original. The movie does focus a bit more on the characters like Mia, Lou Taylor Pucci’s Eric and David. But let’s face it, the read star of the movie is the horror and boy there is a good chuck of it. The movie hardly gives you a break from the horror and the tremendous amount of blood (apparently there was over 50,000 gallons used in the movie!). The gore might throw some people off and it is definitely cringe worthy most of time, although you can also thank the movie for using practical effects over CG for the majority of the movie.
The movie does lose some momentum at times especially nearing the movies last act but that last act really reels you back in and dare I almost makes the movie. Director Fede Alvarez does a great job of creating his own story and themes but also while keeping the essence of what made Raimi’s movie a favorite almost fans.
All in all, Evil Dead is a cringe-worthy bloody good time that I think hardcore fans can enjoy if they accept the fact that this is not trying to replace Raimi’s version but its trying to be a part of it. The movie does turn the creepy factor on high and if you like gallons of blood this is the movie for you. Also, if you like, stay after the credits for something small.
4.5 out of 5