Call me a skeptic. Some movies should never be remade. I consider The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be nearly perfect in its execution of style, tension and madness. It could never be outdone, and likewise, it never should have been remade. Color me surprised, I actually enjoyed the remake.
Regardless, I never asked it to be made and would have been fine if it hadn’t. I feel the same about the 2013 Evil Dead remake. Remake When I heard that the Sam Raimi classic Evil Dead was getting the same treatment, a wave of skepticism washed over me. The original Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi stands as an all-time horror classic. Lightning can’t strike the same place twice, can it? Can the Evil Dead remake really compete?
The Evil Dead Remake Get Off to a Fast Start
The movie starts with a bang. A band of people hunt a young girl through the woods, eventually capturing her. Then, they drag her back to broken down cabin the woods, an old woman chants. Surely the young girl is a sacrifice in a demonic ritual. Negative, the young girl is possessed by demons. Her father douses her in gas and she writhes in demonic fury as she immolates. Demon or not, watching a father burn his daughter leaves a void in the soul.
It’s Evil Dead, Where’s Ash?
2 men and 3 women make the familiar trek a old house in the woods. This time, some friends stage an intervention for a friend with drug problems. The Sam Raimi Evil Dead had little character development and the remake is no exception. The characters are wafer thin and uninteresting. At least, the original had Ash Williams. Understandably, the decision to not try to replace something that is irreplaceable makes sense, but again it raised the question of, why are we here?
Moving along, the dog finds a trap door hidden under the rug. A quick exploration of the basement reveals the Notorum Demonto (Necronomicon). For the third time in cinematic history, a shrubbery rapes the first victim. Pollinated in the woods, by the woods, Mia is the first of the possessed.
Different Evil, Different Dead
In contrast to the original, the Evil Dead remake uses different techniques to terrorize the living. One of the differences that stands out concerns prevalence of apparitions. In the previous film, other than banging shutters and a disembodied, “JOIN ME”, the demons were essentially harmless without a human host.
In this movie, demonic ghosts hide around all corners. The Necronomicon was a mysterious book of ancient incantations and spells. The Notorum Demonto has margin notes that literally narrate the progression of the movie. While different, these tweaks fail to make the film more enjoyable.
Is there really no Ash?
Again, nobody to plays the hard luck hero. Ash could never be replaced, and trying surely would have resulted in failure. Without, who can we root for?. The demons have no personality. The original Evil Dead by Sam Raimi had style. When Linda sat cross-legged and laughing it added a dimension of horror that didn’t require blood and guts. Cheryl’s taunts from the basement were chilling. “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done if I had remained on those hot coals… burning my pretty flesh”.
The Gore Store
The Evil Dead remake relies on one horror device, gore. This film does bring a healthy dose of the red stuff, but in the end it fails to carry the film. To be frank, the gore sails over the over the top. For example, in one scene, one of the characters amputates her arm with an electric knife. My god. If physically revolting was the goal, the producers rang the bell on that one.
In a similar vein, there is a scene where Mia must amputate her own hand that is caught under a car. It hurts to watch. But hey, if that is what you are looking for, this movie will satisfy.
On the more effective side, towards the finally, blood falls from the sky. I am not sure if it is just the Slayer fan in me, but I thought the sense of doom that it brought was very satisfying.
Evil Dead Remake – Wrap-Up
If you are looking for a clever gem of a low-budget horror movie like the original Evil Dead, this movie disappoints in every way. There are some genuinely frightening moments, and the Deadites will make your skin-crawl. From pure shock and awe perspective, this movies has the stuff. But it lacks personality. Likewise, It feels like a money grab most of the time.
The world of remakes is mostly filled with missed opportunities. Big-time budgets are the enemy of ingenuity. I never asked for this remake, and what I an empty feeling inside. The Evil Dead remake is a visually shocking but mostly hollow shell of big budget studio effects and over-the-top violence. The characters are paper thin and uninteresting. The bad guys are one-dimensional and boring. No amount of shocking violence can fix that. At best, it is a middling horror film.
Starting out on a strong note, it quickly declined into a 45 minute death spiral. The Evil Dead remake then tries in vain to save itself. If you liked the Sam Raimi original, maybe a compare and contrast would be worth the trouble. But, if you miss it, you won’t miss it.
Evil Dead Remake (2013) - Butchering a Classic - Malevolent Dark
Director: Fede Àlvarez
Date Created: 2013-01-01 00:00