By Gary Murray
Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez and Jessica Lucas
Written by Fede Alvarez and Diablo Cody
Directed by Fede Alvarez
Running time 91 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Evil Dead is part of the trio of films that made Sam Rami an icon. The cult classic flicks melded horror with action and comedy into a mesh of fan-boy coolness that established the director. Well, director Fede Alvarez has teamed up with Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody to re-imagine the world in a remake of Evil Dead.
The story is of Mia (Jane Levy) and her friends and family. It seems that Mia has an addiction problem and her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and her three friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) are here to help.
Once they go to the family cabin in the woods and begin to break Mia cold-turkey, the group notices a few things. One is that the cabin smells. On investigation, they find a mass of dead animals ritualistically hung in the basement rafters. They also discover the Book of the Dead, bound in barbed wire.
Eric begins to read the book, accidentally summoning a spirit. Mia is the first one to see the spirit and everyone thinks it is a hallucination from going cold turkey. When she ventures outside, she is attacked by said demon in a scene that is graphic, violent and unsettling.
The rest get her back into the cabin right before a storm breaks which washes out the road. Mia begins to act strangely which the other believe is a side –effect of going off the stuff. Her eyes turn and she begins to expel fluids. Only Eric thinks that there is a connection between Mia and the curse he may have started. The demon has the ability to jump bodies and reeks havoc on all who come in contact with it. The movie Evil Dead flies toward a gruesome finish.
This film is a bloody, bloody mess. Gallons of fake hemoglobin spatter and spray all over everything and everybody to the point where it becomes a bit disturbing and offsetting. With a title like Evil Dead, one expects gruesome violence but this goes past being over the top. Bodies are mangled in ways that only the sickest minds can imagine. In so many ways, it is a reminder of those Old Italian drive-in horror fests that would show up as a double feature, violent and gruesome.
At the same time, there are many modern CGI touches in Evil Dead. Where Sam Rami had do deal with miniscule budget and primitive special effects, director Fede Alvarez is given the keys to the candy store. He uses some of the most cutting-edge effects to cut his cast to the edge. It becomes a relish of technique that digs to the bones.
The cast basically is there to be slaughtered, more fodder than fleshed-out individuals. Elizabeth Blackmore’s character disappears for a good while only to be self-dismembered. Of the entire cast, only Jane Levy truly stands out. She is the first to turn and does so in a very creepy way. She puts a believable spin on an unbelievable precept.
While the film has all the bloody mess of the original flicks, it lacks the charms. The original film reveled in its low-budget. This time, a bigger budget does not translate into a better film. Those who love the original Evil Dead trilogy of horror will more than likely be a bit disappointed by this re-imagining of the concept. But, for the horror fans, the new Evil Dead is just the mayhem expected. It will not disappoint those creature feature seekers.