Evil Dead (2013)
I suppose I should start by saying I have never been all that attached to or enthralled by the original Evil Dead films (including Army Of Darkness). The original and its sequels are enjoyable and fun, yes, but the humorous aspect doesn’t tickle my fancy the same way that The Return Of The Living Dead or Re-Animator do, for example, and the horror elements of the Evil Dead series never knocked my socks off either. Nevertheless, my curiosity compelled me to see the Evil Dead remake that made its way to theaters yesterday, April 5th, and I left the theater feeling that I’d rather watch the original than the remake.
I mentioned that I wasn’t crazy about the general humorous, over-the-top aura of the original Evil Dead series which is true, yes, but at least the atmosphere of the films were consistent throughout. You knew you were watching an Evil Dead film with all of its signature quirks, silliness and obnoxiousness in tact which, at the end of the day, is a positive thing, even if it doesn’t wholly appeal to everyone’s tastes (like my own). With Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead vision we are caught between a maelstrom of character drama that takes itself far too seriously and gratuitous violence that is certainly meant to be over-the-top and ridiculous. The character drama is weak and predictable whilst the violence is, yes, quite satisfying (even if a bit unrealistic but, then again, who ever said we were dealing with realism?).
The story begins to unfold as a group of friends and family attempt a lengthy intervention process on a drug addict named Mia who, despite her past efforts, keeps crawling back to the downward spiral of addiction. Two sub-plots quickly reveal themselves not too far into the film, the first one being the discovery of a rather ominous, flesh-covered book and the other involving the deceased mother of the aforementioned addict and her brother (who is present throughout the film). Yeah, it’s a pretty one-dimensional plot that doesn’t offer too much in the way of thrills or twists; in fact, on the contrary, it almost unfolds like a soap opera with guilt-ridden and guilt-provoking commentary that leaves much to be desired. I found this overly dramatized character interaction to dampen the otherwise pretty solid atmosphere that Evil Dead provokes and, if it had been approached differently, I would probably have enjoyed the film more.
All right, now on to the more traditional Evil Dead aspects of the film – namely, the violence! Yup, this remake is loaded with excessive blood-shedding and it’s done pretty darn well for a modern film. I suppose now is as good of a time as any to state that I prefer prosthetic, organic effects to digital ones, just like any other horror film maniac feels who prefers the 60s, 70s and 80s flicks to the modern ones. Evil Dead, thankfully, makes wonderful use of organic effects (amidst a few non-obnoxious digital ones from what my eyes could tell) and the result is certainly successful and gratifying. From blood-spurting limbs to chainsaw-ravaged heads we are brought into an orgy of gore that will aesthetically please almost any horror fan on its own accord despite the film’s otherwise transparent plot and character drama. Yup, you got it, 2013’s Evil Dead literally rains blood!
All-in-all I left Evil Dead feeling disappointed because I simply felt that the juxtaposition between the character’s poorly developed relations and the excessive violence just didn’t work. There were certain moments where it felt like I was watching your average, undeveloped mainstream sewage and then there were others where I felt like I was watching one of the few modern horror films that possessed a genuine old-school vibe (which is a positive thing, of course) and, again, the contrast just didn’t click with me. From what I understand there are going to be numerous Evil Dead sequels (am I correct on this?) so I hope that the future films will throw in a bit more humorous moments and less soap opera ones. Time will tell, right? I will probably pick this one up for home-viewing when it’s on sale for $10 but, until then, I have no desire to go back to the theater and see it again or to run out to the store the day it’s released so, until further viewing, my opinion stands as is.
Oh, and one last thing, am I only one who thinks Mia’s make-up (when “evilized,” that is) looks a lot like Regan’s possessed form from The Exorcist?