Review: Evil Dead (2013)
Five friends head to a remote cabin in the woods to help young Mia cure herself of drug addiction. They come across the Book of the Dead, an evil spirit is released, and one by one, the group is consumed by a demonic force.
Who’s in It?
A typical horror movie cast (a bunch of young stars with a potentially bright future). No Bruce Campbell sadly. Or is there?
When the more curious of a quintet of coed cabin-goers happens upon a revelation foreshadowing the bloody fate of a friend, the seconds pass like hours. By this point, Eric has already read from demon’s book, conjured a spirit, and unknowingly infected Mia, the target of the weekend drug cleanse. He returns to the book, and it conveniently opens to a page detailing in a gruesome manner what the evil spirit will cause the next plagued individual to do. The picture is suggestive, and the audience is given a vision of what comes next. Director Fede Alvarez prolongs the moment of discovery, dragging it out uncomfortable second by uncomfortable second, as you squirm from the sounds, and make the smallest peephole as your hands cover your eyes.
This is perhaps the most powerful of the many grotesque, gore-filled moments in Alvarez’s Raimi-approved Evil Dead re-imagination. The blood and effects are based in reality, and no computer generate images are used. It’s something to keep in mind before and after, as during, it is hard to escape from whatever horrors display on screen.
Nail guns, glass, a kitchen appliance, and a tool from a shed among the many instruments wielded in a film that will satisfy horror lovers, gross out the weak-of-stomach, and challenge the original Evil Dead faithful. Alvarez changes things around a bit with this film, offering a clever reason for a forest retreat, creating a bit of back story, and throwing in a catch or two in the famed devilish tome. While a few additions to the Book offer a potential (relative) happy ending, leaving some to scratch their heads, making the main character a drug user going through a cleans is simple yet smart. Of course she is pale, of course she is hallucinating.
Uncomfortable, dark, and did I mention incredibly bloody, the new version of the Evil Dead is not the old one; it could never be, and appropriately should never be. Its scares operate out of a place of knowing what is about to come, but one often fails to anticipate how effectively and intense those scares will be. Like the original, you see the ‘eyes’ of the evil spirit, speeding its way through the forest towards the cabin. You know what will happen, you just can’t fully prepare.
Should You See It?
Yes, if you can handle it. Let it be known during a sold-out screening, there were cheers during the climax.
In fine form, Jane Levy delivers the scariest line in the movie: “There was something in the woods, and I think it’s in here with us.”