Ahhh….the horror remake, the one thing that stirs up genre fanatics like no other. Hollywood could pick an obscure horror title and decide to remake it and the fans of horror would shit themselves in a fury. Pick a bonafide horror cult classic like Evil Dead and the horror community will eat their first born son to make sure they hate it.
My personal views on remakes in general is that I typically don’t mind them so much even though I know Hollywood is trying a bit too hard with them. My view on horror re-makes is about the same. I typically don’t mind as long as the movie is solid and offers a good time. My counterpoint to all the horror fans who complain about their favorite movie being remade and that they should not be done is this…The Thing from John Carpenter. The Thing is considered one of the greatest horror films and it was a remake. So to all the horror whiners who hate horror remakes based on just the fact they are a remake…well go look at The Thing and shut up.
So what about our sacred cow of horror, Evil Dead? Did the filmmakers do a faithful adaptation for the current generation of movie goers while adding something a bit new or did they just roll out a movie for a cash grab? Well I think they did get some cash to grab from this but boy was it deserved.
So before I get started I’m going to assume most people have seen the original Evil Dead flicks…if not then be warned there might be *SPOLIERS*. So there is my warning.
In the original Evil Dead we have a group of teens going to a cabin in the woods, they find a book and a tape recording. They play the recording and all hell breaks loose…demon style and audience members were ok with that…it’s a horror movie, there are demons and they were accepting of that. Where the remake differs a bit, and a lot of horror movies these days do, is that most movies these days go for a more grounded/realistic reason for things happening in the beginning. Back in the 70’s and 80’s I think audiences were more willing to just accept demons are here let’s see what happens. In today’s world people just don’t buy into religious/supernatural things just happening. So in the remake we have the group of friends meeting at the cabin in the woods to help out a girl who is trying to kick a drug habit. When shit gets unleashed on her the other characters at first thing it’s from her withdraws from coming off the drugs which I thought was a good way, story wise, for the other characters to stay at the cabin and not believe what was happening at first. Because who is going to believe a junkie coming down off an addiction about demons? So I give props to this part of the movie.
As the movie goes on we see little hints and throwbacks to the original films that is nice and we see some nice little touches the remake does to add some new elements the original didn’t have. Such as the intro that I believe is referring to the man on the tape recorder in the original films.
Visual wise the movie looks slick, it looks scary and the atmosphere is right on, dark and moody when it needs to be. One special note here is that I really dug the artwork style in the Necronomicon. Very cool stuff. The other thing the movie differs from than the originals is the comedy…or the unintentional comedy from the originals. The Evil Dead Remake is dead on serious. On the gore side the movie doesn’t pull too many punches at all. Lots of the red stuff goes flying and you see some up close and personal cringe worthy moments.
The acting is pretty spot on and the story is pretty solid, for the most part. Which brings me to…
Now as much as I enjoyed the Evil Dead it did have some issues I had some personal problems with. The first one I will touch on is the pacing of the film at the start of the film. It seemed that things went a bit too fast in the beginning of the film leading up to the discovery of what was in the cellar. I would have liked to have seen the movie slow just a bit and the characters fleshed out a bit more. Another problem I had was how quick one of the characters was willing to just start looking at and reading from the Necronomicon. Especially considering how the book was discovered. Now I get that maybe in an age where people don’t believe in the demon thing that he may not have cared but then again it was never established that he was not a believer either…he just kind of opens that bitch up and starts reading. I felt that could have been handled a bit better. Then we have the one horror cliché that has stuck around in this movie…people keep splitting up. Though to be fair some of that happens before they really know some demon stuff is going on.
Overall, I thought Evil Dead was a solid horror offering for new horror fans. It looks good, it’s gory and it plays out well overall. It even adds some new elements to stand on it own.
I have heard some people level some criticisms at the film that it wasn’t good in part because the film maker wasn’t forced to find innovative ways to shoot certain scenes like Sam Raimi had to improvise with due to low budget. Honestly, I feel that is an unfair criticism to level at a film maker or movie. To say a movie fails because they didn’t invent some new way to shoot a scene seems unfair.
Evil Dead has cool scenes, it has cool visuals and it has a good horror vibe. If you like horror and have a tolerant mind set to remakes give Evil Dead a shot. It makes for a good time and is a solid offering into the horror genre even if it isn’t an original idea. And don’t forget to watch through the credits.