‘Evil Dead’ (2013): an advertisement for avoiding the woods forever.

25 Apr

Evil Dead posterDirector Fede Alvarez is walking a tightrope with Evil Dead. As he perches on the pedestal, waiting to tip-toe across the wire, he gazes down below. His eyes meet the stares of the crowd: film critics, horror lovers, die-hard Sam Raimi fans and general cinema-going folk. They collectively chant: Don’t mess this up! Don’t ruin our beloved franchise! PLEASE don’t be terrible! Alvarez shuts his eyes, breathes deeply, and darts. Unfortunately, he gets knocked off almost instantly… By a tree root.

If you’ve seen the original 1981 horror classic, then you know the deal. Five kids (David, Eric, Mia, Olivia and Natalie – cool, huh?) all head out for a relaxing getaway to the great outdoors. However, instead of toasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories, they decide to explore the incredibly creepy basement. Amongst the dead cats they find a book bound in human skin. Ignoring the blood-written warnings to NOT read the incantations, which are scattered throughout the pages alongside pentagrams, goats and general unpleasantness, one curious party member just couldn’t help himself. Hell proceeds to open up and bits of people fall off.

While the new Evil Dead doesn’t feel like a betrayal or an insult to the original, it’s still awful. It absolutely bombs as a horror film: I was not scared even once. This movie takes the modern screechy and unsubtle approach to horror: it fails to inspire any sense of actual dread. But all of the scares are so telegraphed, you could see most of them coming from the lobby – every damn time the music stopped, something jumped out at you moments later. It’s tiring, annoying and I’m bloody sick of it at this stage. Actually, ‘bloody’ is the right word – Evil Dead is gory as hell… The sound effects are so gruesome I was squirming in my seat.

Aww heya.

Aww heya.

BUT… I laughed for 70% of the movie. As soon as the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan and good ol’ Beelzebub infects the female lead via unwanted floral penetration, the violence is so over the top that it’s hilarious. The dialogue is dire, the acting is terrible, and the script could have been written by the demon itself – none of the characters have personalities (aside from one, whose defining characteristic is that she ‘is a junkie’), they act like chimps for no good reason (and they’re not just dumb – one’s a doctor!) and the film implies that one of the two sibling leads turned their grandfather into a dog.

I liked Lou Taylor Pucci, the gloriously-named actor who plays an ex-member of The Black Crowes called Eric, and I thought lead actress Jane Levy (who looks like a Kristen Stewart/Emma Stone hybrid) did a decent job, considering she spends much of her role trapped in a cellar, yelling. The rest of the cast was made up of blank slates – Shiloh Fernandez is no Bruce Campbell, all Jessica Lucas does is shower and get puked on, and words cannot describe how horrendous Elizabeth Blackmore is as Natalie.

Evil Dead has me upside-down. On the one hand, it’s a terribly-made, laughably ham-fisted attempt to remake what is essentially the Citizen Kane of horror movies. But on the other, I had such a good time cackling like a hyena at how awful it is. Fans won’t be insulted, horror aficionados won’t be scared, but everyone should have a blast at this.

Simon says: groovy. 

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2 Responses to “‘Evil Dead’ (2013): an advertisement for avoiding the woods forever.”

  1. cinemasamurai April 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    This is the first review i’ve read of Evil Dead, trying to have no preconceived notions before I watch it. Sigh. I hope you were being sarcastic for all of this Simon. =P.

    • Simon Mernagh April 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      I’m sarcastic roughly 100% of the time so it’s hard to say! The movie is super gory but not at all scary. The cinema was half full, and everyone was laughing. 😛

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