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John’s Horror Corner: Evil Dead (2013), one of the best and cleverly remade remakes of the last 10 years!

April 6, 2013

MY CALL:  Practical effects, intensity and creatively re-architected scenes make this one of the best remakes of the last 10 years.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:  Like a lot of gore?  Here’s a stylistic mix for you.  The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Final Destination 5 (2011), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Drag Me to Hell (2009), and of course Evil Dead 2 (1987) and The Evil Dead (1981).

So, first off, Evil Dead 2 was really just a reimagining-remake of Evil Dead.  So, too, is this movie.  How is this movie different and why should you care about it?  Well, it takes all of the elements, scenes, desperate tone and sets of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 and then distorts them just enough that even though we recognize each of them, we never really know when or how they’re coming.

Bruce Campbell as Ash in Evil Dead 2

The Evil Dead playbook includes elements like reading from the wrong damned book, running through wall crawlspaces, erratic POV chases in the woods, tree rape (for lack of a better word), entrapment in the woods, untrustworthy mirror images, laughing deer heads, slamming doors, chainsaws, severing of “infected” hands, the famous bite on the hand from an infected significant other, burying your significant other, the rise from the dead of your significant other, the possessed pretending to be human to appear vulnerable, singing in the cellar…oh, and about 110 gallons of liquid gore!  Might I add, it’s all real gore, not some CGI spray coming from CGI demons.

When you find a book wrapped in plastic and barbed wire, maybe you should leave it alone.

But if you must open it and take a peek and you see this, maybe think about how much you like your soul and take a step back.

And when the book says “don’t say it” then DON’T F@(#ING SAY IT!!!!

Otherwise you get this…

…and a whole lotta’ that!

So I told you it had all the same elements AND I just listed them.  So did I ruin anything for you?  Believe it or not, NO.  While all of these elements are present, they have been chopped up, modified, meshed with other elements, spread across the entire cast or lumped into one.  For example, there is no character that fills the role of Ash.  Not really.  But you’ll see “Ash” moments played out by different characters as well as “Ash” lines and other Ash-isms.  What’s great about this is that you don’t know who, if anyone, is going to survive this movie.  What a nice touch.  It all feels so familiar to Evil Dead fans yet, despite this familiarity, you never know what’s in store except for a few iconic scenes.

The lighting, set design and cinematography were perfect.  The mood went from “something doesn’t feel quite right” to straight up chilling and surreal.  Obscure camera angles brilliantly contributed by making tense moments much less comfortable even for unshakable horror fans.

Likewise, the characters were great. I had doubts at first.  When we meet them it feels like any well-produced horror movie.  David (Shiloh Fernandez; Red Riding Hood, Deadgirl), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci; Carriers), Olivia (Jessica Lucas; Cloverfield, The Covenant) and David’s girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) all go out to a cabin in the woods to help David’s sister Mia (Suburgatory‘s Jane Levy showing us that more than just a sweetie) kick her drug addiction which has nearly killed her.  Natalie seems naïve, David has never been there for his family before, Olivia is a take charge nurse helming this mission and Eric is pleasantly reminiscent of what they’re remaking as a 70s-80s curious yet skiddish kind of guy who “thinks” he knows what he’s in for.  Mia is likable, but you can see she has the will and flightiness to be problematic even without evil demons’ involvement.

As this intervention-rehab sets sail, one of them reads a few words from a skin-bound tome in the carrion-littered basement (a bit of a red flag already, I think) and some odd things start happening.  But no matter how odd, out of character, escalating to psychotic and murderous the events, to some they fall under the veil of Mia having a breakdown.  The actors all do a fine job.

Jane Levy did a great job.  She also plays the smiley teen in Suburgatory.

The big question on everyone’s mind seems to be “was this remake worthy of Evil Dead [and Evil Dead 2]?”  I think that whether or not people like this movie, the answer will be a mixed bag.  My personal opinion is YES IT IS.  Granted, there is none of the slapstick comedy of Evil Dead 2 or uber-over-the-top maniacal demon taunts of Evil Dead.  The only laughs you’ll get are familiar lines that were funny in the originals thoughtfully woven throughout the dialogue in such understated ways that unless you’re a diehard fan you’ll probably miss them altogether.  However, we get every bit of the gastrointestinal gross-out gore and then some!!!  On top of that we get some truly brutal and sadistic scenes that will make you cover your mouth, cover your eyes, hold your breath or spit swears of disbelief at the screen.

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This hurt.

That hurt.

It’s hard to believe that Sam Raimi was only a producer and that this was Fede Alvarez’ first feature length picture.  I’m hoping they work together again soon!

So please, give this a chance.  Don’t skip it because the last ten horror remakes, reboots or re-imaginings disappointed you. This is clearly a remake, but the scenes you’ll see never feel like you’ve seen them before.

evil_dead_2013_by_myrmorko-d5j4g87

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Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Cabin Fever 2 (2009) | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Creature (2011) | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Old School Horror Corner: Death Spa (1989) | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. The Best Horror Came from the 80s: Horror movies that stand the Test of Time and their more modern counterparts, Part 2 | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. Bad Movie Tuesday: When Horror Forgets it’s Roots | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. The Conjuring (2013), a nearly perfect, instant classic horror with amazing characters and direction | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: The Faculty (1998), tons of fun and cliques of before-they-were-famous actors | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. Tokyo Shock: Sars Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis (2004), pre-Tokyo Shock era and it shows | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. John’s Horror Corner: Mother of Tears (2007), the final act of Argento’s “Mother Trilogy” | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: The Woods (2006), an R-rated witch movie for young adults | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. Tokyo Shock: Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (2011), a largely inappropriate, exploitative fecal fiesta of tapeworm-induced zombiism! | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014), still fun, but the least impressive flesh-eating virus movie of the franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. The Damned (2013), a solid premise and great atmosphere that fails to deliver an effective possession movie about an Evil Dead witch. | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. John’s Horror Corner presents: Critically comparing the Poltergeist (2015) remake to the original Poltergeist (1982) | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. Zombeavers (2014), bringing us mutant rabid animatronic zombie beavers in this fun cheap campy horror | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. The Best Transformation Scenes of Horror, Part 1: Tales from the Darkside (1990), Zombeavers (2014) and Wolfcop (2014) | Movies, Films & Flix
  18. 28 Days until Halloween! October Horror Movie Pick #2: The Conjuring (2013), an instant classic. | Movies, Films & Flix
  19. John’s Horror Corner: Willow Creek (2013), a cleverly made bigfoot monster movie that revitalizes found footage and reminds us that characters are far more important than creatures. | Movies, Films & Flix
  20. John’s Horror Corner: Bite (2015), one of the most ambitiously disgusting indie horrors you’ll see. | Movies, Films & Flix
  21. John’s Horror Corner: Deathgasm (2015), the New Zealand horror comedy where Ash vs the Evil Dead brilliantly meets Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. | Movies, Films & Flix
  22. John’s Horror Corner: Cabin Fever (2016), an enjoyable play-by-play remake of Eli Roth’s original. | Movies, Films & Flix
  23. John’s Horror Corner: Cannibal Holocaust (1980), appallingly brutal yet stylistic and controversial yet admonishing. | Movies, Films & Flix
  24. John’s Horror Corner: Don’t Breathe (2016), so much more than a home invasion movie with a dark secret. | Movies, Films & Flix
  25. The Best Horror Workouts, Part 1: Killer Workout (1987), Death Spa (1989) and Happy Birthday to Me (1981) | Movies, Films & Flix
  26. The MFF Podcast #73: Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe and Evil Dead | Movies, Films & Flix
  27. John’s Horror Corner: Night of the Demons (1988), a fun cheesy campy possessed Halloween night. | Movies, Films & Flix
  28. John’s Horror Corner: Night of the Demons 2 (1994), yet more boobs, more gore, more lipstick, and more fun cheesy demonic possession than part 1. | Movies, Films & Flix
  29. 15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 2 (2001-2015): some of the greatest, goriest, most shocking and most memorably defining moments in horror since 2001 | Movies, Films & Flix
  30. John’s Horror Corner presents Strong Opinions: Critically analyzing 10 reasons I appreciated the Evil Dead (2013) remake. | Movies, Films & Flix
  31. John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night (2011), reflecting on the 1985 original through the lens of a remake. | Movies, Films & Flix
  32. John’s Horror Corner: Stephen King’s It (2017), a worthy re-adaptation and R-rated remake of 1990’s TV-PG Pennywise. | Movies, Films & Flix

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