Evil Dead

Evil Dead photo starrating-1andahalfstars.jpgIt’s kind of surprising to see a horror film like Evil Dead in 2013. After Wes Craven re-wrote the rules with the self knowing Scream back in 1996 and then The Cabin in the Woods more recently deconstructed the genre further, I thought the attitudes on display here were a thing of the past. Evil Dead is a giant step backward to the naïveté of the 1980s. Here we’re presented another group of kids playing about in the woods. They behave like idiots, existing so they can be dismembered, killed, and gutted in the most gruesome methods possible. It’s gross yes, but it’s certainly not scary. Ok so this is a “remake” of Sam Raimi’s highly regarded cult film that inadvertently became a camp classic. The cartoon violence was over the top and had, let’s face it, special effects that were so bad you had to laugh. C’mon! The blood looked like grape jelly. But this is a remake in name only. Other than the basic underlying story, this is much different. Its “improvement” is that the torture actually looks real. Evil Dead has technically superior gut churning violence but it’s utterly lacking in spirit, charm, humor or scares.

The plot is simple. A group of 5 friends meet up in an old abandoned cabin in the woods. Mayhem ensues. Why are these cabins always built in some remote area with only one road in and no human contact for miles? Apparently this is where Mia and David’s mother battled with insanity. And they want to spend more time there? The friends are helping Mia kick her drug addiction. In order to detox and get clean they must keep her there regardless of how much she wants to leave. That’s an inspired rule and the script’s lone bit of intelligence. Despite the fact that the kids are a bunch of morons, I will clarify that their acting is fine. These young adults act appropriately scared.  That’s all we require in a product like this. Its unfortunate they serve an inferior story.

Haven’t we seen this before? 5 people are terrorized and then behave in ways so stupid, it boggles the mind. Seriously if I felt any modicum of fear it was that I might roll my eyes to death. First the whole gang stumbles upon a secret cellar under the cabin filled with what looks like decaying cat carcasses hanging from the ceiling. They don’t leave. Then Eric, the biggest idiot, finds a book made of skin with barbed wire all around it that says “Do not open” so naturally he proceeds to open it. Then starts reciting spells that should not be spoken. Mia is subsequently attacked by a tree in a scene that is surprisingly tame compared to the original. She gets possessed and then starts killing everyone in sight.  At this point we couldn’t care less about these people.  I mean they practically asked for it.  Projectile vomiting (The Exorcist), a demonic girl curses creatively (The Exorcist again), nail guns, carving knives – the film is a smorgasbord of atrocities served up to an audience jaded by years of blood and guts. They demand the ante be raised and this will satiate their bloodlust. One guy in the theater literally hooted and hollered every time someone was mutilated. Debating the merits of this flick is pointless. Your enjoyment will depend on whether you enjoy watching people cut, disremembered, slashed in the most sadistic ways possible. I love scary movies, but this wasn’t frightening in the least. It’s gleefully gross and nothing more.

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42 Responses to “Evil Dead”

  1. While I agree the film isn’t scary, I still enjoyed it for the gore factor. 🙂

  2. Agree – not really scary (though there’s some startling moments), it’s really just gross and lacking a sense of humor. Well-made but for what?

  3. ” ” Seriously if I felt any modicum of fear it was that I might roll my eyes to death.”

    Lol.

    You really hated this! And I thought Richard Roeper was crazy haha!

    http://www.themoviefreakblog.com

  4. Wordschat Says:

    Since Ty got Mr into horror this was the best. so maybe its not so horror but a Mega squirm fest it did deliver for me. There were some intentional laughs. Mark your review was fun too.

    • I didn’t find it funny, BUT my theater did. Lots of laughter throughout the whole thing. The film didn’t scare me, but the audience reaction was a little disturbing. Ha ha.

  5. Great write-up. Sad you didn’t quite enjoy it, as I had a lot of fun with my friend. The gore factor was off the charts!

  6. GaryLee828 Says:

    I loved the intensity of the film; it was fast-paced and relentless. I’m not into films for the gore, killing, etc. I like movies that are suspenseful and though the film may not have been scary per se, it was still full of tension and suspense.

    I wasn’t crazy about Mia coming back at the end, and I didn’t like the way the 3rd act unfolded, and what I really hated was Mia’s “Feast on this MF’er!” line before she delivered the deathblow to the villain. I’m tired of women dropping F bombs on villains before killing them simply b/c the line is always lame and feels way out of place, and seems like a desperate attempt for Hollywood suits to be cool-and-hip among the youth. Other than that I liked it a lot, though; it had a similar feel as those insane european horror films like “High Tension” and “Inside”. Have you seen those?

    • I haven’t but I am aware that they are part of the “New French Extremity” that includes films like Baise-moi, Irréversible and Pola X.

      • GaryLee828 Says:

        It’s not like Irreversible at all. I haven’t seen those other ones you mentioned, I will look into those. But “High Tension” was the film that inspired me to get into screenwriting. It’s amazing! When I said Evil Dead remake reminds me of the french ones I only meant in tone – meaning that it didn’t pull any punches. But “High Tension” is better than Evil Dead, and I think you would like it, or at the very least appreciate it. Cecile De France’s performance here is one of the best horror performances you will ever see! It’s written and directed by Alexandre Aja who is an incredible horror visionary. The thing that’s so good about “High Tension” is that it truly lives up to it’s title. It feels surreal. And it’s not just a bunch of constant gore, killing; it’s more suspenseful than gory, but the murder scenes are brutal and gory, but you spend much more time on the chase that is so well directed by Aja than you spend on the murders. Look up the trailer and check it out. I think you should definitely give this one a watch. I won’t recommend any duds to you. 🙂

    • From Wikipedia: New French Extremity (or “New French Extremism”) is a term coined by Artforum critic James Quandt for a collection of transgressive films by French directors at the turn of the 21st century.

      They are only related in tone for their lack of humanity according to film critic David Fear.

      • GaryLee828 Says:

        You have to watch for yourself. “High Tension” is very well done; the directing, pacing, suspense, etc. I think you’d enjoy the experience.

  7. I wasn’t too fussed about the original to be honest, so I’ll probably give this a wide berth!

    • I don’t think the original is a great work of art either. For me it didn’t have to live up to the original. It just needed to be entertaining. This wasn’t.

  8. I guess I’ll just say I disagree with you Mark.

    I will say that the question “Havent we seen this before?” might answer itself in the case of remakes though. LOL 😀

    • True. I guess I was really questioning the need to remake this. Somehow the basic set up seems so dated to me. That wasn’t really the problem anyway. I just wasn’t entertained by all the atrocities happening one after the other.

  9. Finally some one that agrees with. I thought everything about this movie was done terribly. The script was awful, acting was terrible, and the film wasn’t scary at all. I mean watching the original The Evil Dead for the first time was actually scary for me. The only thing I like about this movie is director Fede Alavarez choosing practical effects over CGI because most of the violence actually looked pretty real.

    • Good point. I too prefer practical effects over CGI. One of the reasons I respect a filmmaker like Christopher Nolan.

      Evil Dead looked real, too real. I felt like I was just watching actual scenes of people being mutilated.

  10. “….if I felt any modicum of fear it was that I might roll my eyes to death.” Lol, my sentiments exactly.

    One important question: what was your reaction to the first installment in the Saw gore-chise?

  11. Wait for it…. wait for it….

    I DISAGREE! 😉

    While not superior to the original, I consider it on-par with Raimi’s film but through effectively modern eyes. It has issues but it is in no way inferior to its source, and in fact is the best recent horror film I’ve seen since Cabin In The Woods. I really liked Sinister and others, but the gore and how horrifyingly real they made the effects really made it for me.

    People have this preconceived notion that Horror = Scary. Not necessarily. Horror is something that is horrifying, and in terms of the chaotic violence and gore in this film mixed with the supernatural, I believe it very much succeeds as a horror film.

    • It was horrifying. No question about that. I enjoy a good horror film. Where I liked Cabin in the Woods, Sinister, Insidious, Drag Me to Hell, and others. This didn’t succeed for me because it was just about the gore. I like a story, mood, creepiness more than I like to watch things that are just gross.

      You’re not alone. I keep hearing the “blogosphere” champion this film. It looks to do about $50M total. Decent but Mama did $71.6 and I don’t recall people raving about that film.

  12. This was very disappointing. I was hoping for camp. This was not scary at all. The special effects were very good, however, i’ve seen better in “Hostile” and “Saw”. 2 stars.

    • It’s kind of contradictory to be hoping for camp then lament that it wasn’t scary. It’s hard to be both, although I’ll offer Drag Me to Hell as a possible exception.

      Obviously we agree it was disappointing.

  13. 70srichard Says:

    I just popped in from Fogs Link Bomb, I hope to make it back here again.

  14. Just watched it and I am very disappointed, laughed more than I was scared 😦

    Good Review 😀

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