Friday, 12 April 2013

Review: Evil Dead

Year: 2013
Director: Fede Alvarez
Screenplay: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues, Diablo Cody
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

Synopsis is here

If there's one complaint I have with remakes, it is that there seems to be a belief that cash is a perfect match up to go up against an original product in which it basis was created around fearlessness, accident and dedication to the vision. The belief of traipsing over the first rendition is not new, nor is it one I completely disagree with. But films like The Evil Dead are a perfect example. The timing is off, acting iffy and at the worst of times the camera placement decapitates more heads than the axe does in the film itself. But it's budget limitation quickly becomes part of its essence. It is considered not only a horror classic, but a horror untouchable. A piece that should not be touched in order to be retouched, redone or remade. But of course in this day and age that means even less than before. 

So here we are with a remake of Evil Dead, something that many feel shouldn't be. Much like the name of one of the demons that appear within this redux, some will consider this an Abomination. It's understandable. It is definitely not your fathers The Evil Dead, particularly when it comes to delivering a general creepy tone. For all it's thrift, Evil Dead 81 placed hard graft in its general tone. Evil Dead 2013 isn't "scary" and for that it should have failed with me. Yet as a splatterfest, Evil Dead is not only out rivals the original with a plethora of plasma, but it's relentlessness delivery is a huge amount of fun. 

Evil Dead does more than enough to bring a certain degree of wildness back to mainstream U.S. horror. The comparisons to Cabin in the Woods are understandable, however, as subversive as Drew Goddard wink to the fans was, Evil Dead wishes to remind you that such movies can be played out without snark and still bring around enough abject weirdness to make it stand apart from some of the more drab modern counterparts. The films climatic moments are so brazenly absurd, that I was squirming excitedly in my chair with a disturbing amount of bloodlust. 

Not to say I didn't want the cast of ED2013 to all perish. Quite simply, the film lands us with a basic yet effective redemption tale with spirited and likeable cast that is able to generate more than a fair amount of suspense. I wanted to know how far we were going to fall down the rabbit hole. Its been a while since I've had that feeling with a gore film of this nature. The film isn't wildly original in its violence (the film borrows liberally from The Exorcist a little too much) nor should it have to be. The film's narrative appears to be more in line with Scream 4 in that the plot is skewed enough to give off the feeling that the demonic intrusions could flip on at any time. There's something disturbingly heartening about having a feeling which any of these old friends can be extinguished. But at least I felt like they know each other. 

It is true that the films slickness is evident in its visuals and set design. While not it doesn't hold the sickly Platinum Dunes palette that drives die hards mad, it could do with a bit more of the originals sweat and grime. You get the feeling that we may see more of this instagram "neatness" to proceedings however let it be known that Evil Dead makes enough of its own impression to imagery that many have gotten used to. 

There will be alterations that might not ring true (how I wish they found the tape), yet there's enough soul to be swallowed by this remake that covers itself with a brutal energy that may help snap some of us out of their found footage ghost story stupor. Evil Dead has set the bar. I now wonder how the delayed remake of Carrie will fair.