Monday, August 19, 2013

Evil Dead (2013) - Movie Review

Evil Dead (2013) – 131 Min – R What we have here is a failure to let things be. The original Evil Dead was perfect. It may not be as horrifying as the producers wanted but it was beloved because of its campiness. The update strips away anything from the original that might give the slightest hint of humor. Writer/director Fade Alvarez replaces all the fun with some over the top gore and mutilation. If you fell in love with the original you will probably be sucked into see this one but don’t. It’s a disappointment. Same cabin and book different victims. The only thing terrifying about this movie is how bad it is.

Bruce Campbell is my hero and a cult icon because of this franchise. He stepped in as a co-producer of this movie so with his blessing, I gave it a shot. I have to admit I was saddened. This is a simple formula; even first year film students understand the premise. The problem here is a newish director has a classic product to work with and he overcomplicates it by trying to showing off.

 They spent way too much time trying to explain some of the history of the cabin and the evil that roams the forest. You don’t need to go deep here. It’s a cursed book and you have some person who is too smart for their own good read it and unleash hell on earth: simple to the point. We don’t need a long backstory on the victims. We know that all of them are going to die except one, so we are going to place bets of who is going to last the longest.

 I have to give them credit for creatively and creepily incorporating a sacrifice scenario for each victim but they should have cut to that sooner. After we finally get to the gooey parts the amount of violence and gore change this from a boring teens-in-the-woods story to a boring splatter-porn-in-the-woods story. I think that it wastes some of its over-the-top gore for no other purpose than to say ooooo! Look what we just did! Did you see that? Let me show you again. Look how gross!!!

I have often criticized Michael Bay for only focusing on the explosions in his film and not focusing on the characters enough. Well, Alvarez does focus on the characters and then the gore, but he needs to work on blending the stories instead of putting us into a coma though the boring parts to get to the payoff. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at building suspense. He did that by giving the viewers information but didn’t tell the characters. Alvarez needs to try some of this because he could be really good -- he just needs to work on the pacing and tone of his style.

Alvarez is talented but lacks refinement. This is only his third major film so he has some time to develop his craft but I am really sad that he had to take one of my favorite old horror movies as a stepping stone to greatness. Maybe it would have been better for him to get a few more projects under his belt before taking on something that is so beloved by the fans… Or at least this fan.

The next generations of moviegoers are probably going to see this movie before seeing the original and that is unfortunate. People should watch the original to understand where this franchise came from and then move on to the new ones, or skip it altogether, so that they can appreciate the source material. If you do it in reverse order the movies that started it all seem really way to tame.

Maybe that’s what they wanted. Forget the originals. We are going to start fresh at a new depth. This movie made me uncomfortable, but not the way that the producers intended. Problems plagued every aspect of this film and the ending is the cherry on top of this skink burger. I am going to spoiler talk so avert your eyes if you are squeamish.

 The overly complicated death and rebirth of Mia (Jane Levy) was really a stretch. She was possessed by a demon and needed to die to get “cleansed”. Her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), buries her alive and digs her up and then uses an improvised defibrillator to revive her. Really? Defibrillator? Have you been watching too many Wile E. Coyote cartons?

She is brought back only to see her brother die and “The Abomination” rise from the earth because all of the victims needed to die to release her are now dead. Mia, after being beaten through this entire movie, finds the strength to wield a chain saw like a giant penis and jams it into the evil spirit’s mouth and splits it in two. 

Let’s take score here. I know that women are always the victims of moves like this but I thought we were progressing beyond this. The trees are still raping women and all of the females died first. We get a long shot of the abomination on her knees in front of Mia while she gives a few hip thrusts. I am pretty sure it’s still considered victimization of women if a woman is doing the abuse and the one receiving it is really just a demon in a woman’s body? Was I the only one who was uncomfortable at that scene? When am I going to see a good horror movie that can scare me? Not by its atrocious abuse of women or tainting the good name of a beloved franchise but by the power of its story?

 What movie would you suggest I see that might fill my scare needs?


  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.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this, its says Evil Dead on the tin but its just not the same formula!
    Bruce Campbell really didn't need to endorse it by stepping in as co producer , this movie just doesn't sit right with the original three and its misleading to find his name credited to it.
    I have to admit i was seriously in need of a horror fix and i had been saving this film for just such an emergency, I held back from rushing in and watching it upon release. This movie does deliver but not with the same panache and cartoony slap-stickery as Sam Raimi's babies. This new visit was just wall to wall gross out and painful injuries rather than a feeling of horror ,dread and amazement that i got with parts 1, 2 and 3.
    In this new one I was left confused by the tree rape scene ( was it cut in my copy?)
    The original Evil dead are iconic and features cracking dialogue but I doubt if I'd ever find myself wanting to return to this movie again, and please don't let them make any sequels!
    As a decent homage and a proper nod of respect to the original Evil Dead story I feel CABIN IN THE WOODS worked a treat.


    just wanted to add you have a great looking site and so well presented and written too. awesome work..

    All Hail...the Queen of Horror!


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