Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Happy Halloween, guys. Now I don’t normally do anything special for this occasion, mainly because I don’t enjoy being frightened like a lot of people do. However I decided to review the Evil Dead remake for a few reasons. 1) I legitimately wanted to see it in theaters but chickened out since (again) I’m not very fond on scaring myself. 2) The film makes a lot of use of practical effects as opposed to CGI, which as I understand it only uses the bare minimum of. These days a lot of horror films, science fiction films and even straight action films have been using computers to fake special effect. Even blood splatter being generated by CG is pretty common these days. I like practical effect because they are actually there, not added later in post-production. I guess director Fede Alvarez felt similarly as he went out of his way to achieve this. 3) The place I’m currently crashing on has a Blue-Ray copy of the film just sitting here calling my name. Hopefully that’s just colorful language I just used and not the first sign that I’m about to unleash demonic forces by succumbing to the movie’s allure.

Anyway as I said this is a remake of The Evil Dead, an iconic but low budget 1981 horror film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell. The remake was produced by both men but directed by Fede Alvarez. It was released earlier this year to what I recall being shockingly positive reaction. Well, positive reactions and a tremendous amount of disgust by numerous viewers who were freaked out by all those practical effects. So the question isn’t just whether this is a decent film but also whether I can hold my dinner as I watch it. Let’s find out.

Full review after the jump.

It's all fun and games until someone gets possessed by a demonic force
A young woman named Mia (Jane Levy) is brought to her now rundown family cabin by her best friends in order help her get through her heroin addiction. Once in the no dilapidated cabin they soon find dead cats and a mysterious book in the basement. Mia’s friend Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) looks through the book, despite numerous warnings in the book itself not to do so, and reads its content out loud (DESPITE NUMEROUS WARNINGS WRITTEN ON THE BOOK!!!!). Unbeknownst to him he summons something evil to the cabin…something that has its eyes set on Mia.

This is one gross movie. Beyond anything that happens or anything I have to say the one thing you should take from this flick is that it’s disgusting. A ton of terrible sights take place in this film to the point that it shocked me. Not even just the violence, although there is certainly a heavy amount of it. The film’s tagline suggested it is the scariest movie I’d ever see but in reality I’d say it would be more accurate to call one of the most disturbing movies I’d ever see. The weak of stomach need not apply and the easily offended probably shouldn’t be watching horror films anyway. That all said I never found any of the gore or other shocking things to take away from anything. It adds to the ambience that the movie is clearly going for. So while it may feel overkill at some points it actually ends up being positive for the film’s tone.

Moving on Jane Levy is pretty fantastic in the film. Due the nature of the plot and what becomes of her character Levy is forced to wear a bunch h of different hats as far as acting goes and she does a really good job with it, especially with her facial expressions and emoting. My secret fourth reason for being interested in this flick was because I like Jane Levy and have often felt she might be a very good actress if she got a chance to do something outside of her sitcom. Well mission accomplished. She’s great which is ironic since she was the director’s second choice. The rest of the cast is solid but Levy is the breakout here by far. Character wise there’s not too much going on. We get decent development for Mia, Eric and Mia’s brother David but not so much for anyone else. This isn’t really surprising since horror films traditionally don’t give the most character development in their stories.

Mentioning how attractive I normally  find Levy feels inappropriate suddenly
Speaking of the story it’s a pretty simple but entertaining play on the “Cabin in the Woods” trope. Also happily despite being a remake (…or is it?!) this film doesn’t stick with the original’s plot and veers off into its own plot (similarly anyone looking for the humor found in Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness will be disappointed). While it uses the same main plot device and setting from the original, and has a few winks and nods, it’s a new story. I enjoyed it even though there wasn’t too much going on in terms of complexity but I really liked the third act which moves the plot in a bit of a surprisingly direction but ends in a pretty good place. I’ll tell you right now: I’m dying for a sequel.

The effects in the movie look pretty good, especially as I was convinced some sequences had to be digital but later turned out to be all practical stuff. It was awesome. Again a lot of this shit was gross as hell and it is one of the bloodiest and uncomfortable movies I’ve ever seen but that’s mostly because so much of it seemed pretty real…which automatically means this movie wins.

You can’t review a horror film without discussing how scary it is. As I’ve said I’m not a horror guy so I’m probably not the best to rate something like this. That said I like that most of the terror in this flick came from just how bad the situation continued to get rather than simply jump scares every five minutes. I myself was on edge while I watched but I wasn’t freaked out with fear as I watched. Of course I watched it on a comfy futon in a well lit room in the middle of the day so I may have been protecting myself just a bit.

I don't recall anyone complaining about this scene
They probably should have
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. I’m normally not a fan of horror but when this flick ended I was super jazzed about the idea of a sequel, something the ending lends itself to. Jane Levy is really great, it looks good (well, it looks awful) and it seems like a great example of the genre. I really dig this movie but man it’s hard to recommend it. Some of those images will stay with you.

I give Evil Dead 4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


-A terrific performance from Jane Levi

-Awesome (and uncomfortable) special effects

-An overall very enjoyable horror film


-Characters are underdeveloped

-Not suitable for all audiences


  1. Great review. I got to say, I really enjoyed this movie. I was nervous going in that it wouldn't honor Sam Raimi's masterpiece, but thankfully it played plenty of homage to the original. While part of me does miss the humor, I don't mind that much since I got plenty of action and gore.

    I finally got around to reviewing this movie on my own novice, review-blog. I could always use an experienced critic's opinion to help me fine-tune my reviews. Check it out if you get the time.

    1. Thank you. I have to admit that I'm not as devoted to the original Evil Dead trilogy as a lot of my friends are so I think ended up going into watching this with with less expectations than a lot of folks did.

      Also I checked our your blog. It's really cool, keep up the good work.


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