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Evil Dead

2013 | 90 min | R | 2.39:1

Evil Dead


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User reviews

3 user reviews

Movie appeal




Theatrical release date

 05 April, 2013
 19 April, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Screenshots from Evil Dead Blu-ray

Evil Dead Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, April 5, 2013

Seeing a horror remake pop into moviegoing view certainly isn’t a new development. After all, Hollywood has been on a recycling tear as of late, returning hits such as “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” and “Dawn of the Dead” to the big screen. It’s an unfortunate development driven almost entirely by the prospect of easy box office returns (with newcomers and fanatics lining up in droves), but a few of these reheated properties have managed to score with imagination and a renewed thirst for blood. Count “Evil Dead” in the win column, successfully reworking the legendary cult feature from 1981 for a younger audience while teasing the faithful with elaborate acts of violence and survival that live up to the exalted brand name.

Mia (Jane Levy) is a heroin addict looking to retreat to her family cabin for a long weekend of rehabilitation, going cold turkey with estranged brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas), and educator Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci). Discovering the cabin’s cellar has been the site of satanic happenings, the gang is unnerved but committed to the medical cause, working out their personal issues as Mia is slowly driven to insanity by her withdrawal symptoms. Discovering the Book of the Dead in the house, Eric carelessly translates the evil chants contained on the gruesomely illustrated pages, summoning a malevolent force that possesses those who come into contact with it. With Mia the first to be turned, a long evening of death commences inside the tight cabin confines and the endless surrounding forest, with the helpless visitors turned into puppets for the amusement of a dark entity that can only be stopped if the survivors follow specific directions for burial and dismemberment found in the book.

Ash is gone, baby. There’s no triumphant return of Bruce Campbell to the role that’s come to define his career, and the adjustment takes some time. After all, Ash vs. the Deadites has been a glorious battle detailed in three “Evil Dead” movies, yet now is the time when the Chin with a Chainsaw steps down and allows a new group of overwhelmed twentysomethings to accept an exhaustively diabolical beating. However, the new take on director Sam Raimi’s debut feature isn’t interested in alienating the fanbase. Co-writer/director Fede Alvarez is actually quite aware of expectations, having a ball toying with educated viewers by including a cameo from a famous automobile, burying audio clips from the original film in the sound mix, and teasing usage of a chainsaw. It’s playful work, trading in Raimi’s no-budget stiffness for a stylish, sweltering atmosphere of demonic possession, soaked in light, smoke, and blood.

I supposed there’s really nothing drastically different about the new “Evil Dead,” which once again concerns an evening of terror deep in the woods, with hapless humans picked off one at a time by a nasty spirit. Alvarez produces some backstory for the book and amplifies its satanic power, also retaining the premise and a few of the major set-pieces, including the introductory rape of Mia by the forest itself -- an unnecessarily macabre moment that’s never worked in any of the features, though its function as the initial insemination of a dark force is more clearly defined. It remains wholly repellent, but now works as an understandable prelude to the evening’s circus of pain. There are also numerous attack sequences that require the removal of limbs and the head-bashings of loved ones, keeping in line with a franchise that delights in making a mess of everything in sight, preferably using any tools within reach. Here, the weapons of choice are hypodermic needles, an electric knife, and a nail gun. Alvarez is acutely aware of what constitutes cabin chaos, and his command of genre violence is commendable, laboring to craft an “Evil Dead” excursion that falls in line with Raimi’s boundless imagination for torment.

Indeed, “Evil Dead” is a superbly aggressive picture, riding the R-rating like Major Kong on a nuclear bomb, whooping away as the characters are torn to shreds by Deadite activity. The bewildered innocents vomit up blood, burn up under scalding water, and tear away unusable limbs, and Alvarez limits the use of CGI to make sure the audience feels every last hit, keeping the effort a celebration for gorehounds who’ve watched the art of horror make-up wither away over the last decade. It’s outstanding technical work, manufacturing seamless gross-outs and nightmare fuel that helps “Evil Dead” achieve momentum. After all, while Raimi’s movie was a delight, it’s glacial and restrained (“Evil Dead 2” is the masterpiece people remember). Alvarez, armed with a money and hindsight, is able to ratchet up the commotion with only a few needless dramatic pit stops (though the rehab angle of the script is inventive) and a steady stream of clunky exposition.

While Fernandez lacks charisma as David (the performance is disappointingly bland), the rest of the cast appears to be enjoying themselves, with Levy a particular standout as Mia. Transforming from a wounded manipulator to a human doorway to Hell, Levy articulates the taunts and the terror with gusto, creating a fearsome creature baiting her pals from her cellar holding pen. The actors find the spirit of the feature, following Alvarez’s lead as gruesome acts escalate with an entertaining grip of panic and apocalyptic trimmings. It’s predictable to lament the loss of Campbell and Raimi, yet Alvarez constructs a pleasing, moist reawakening, and one that could lead to a few groovy directions of its own if sequels ever come to fruition.

Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore
Director: Fede Álvarez

» See full cast & crew

Evil Dead, Forum Discussions

Last post
Evil Dead (2013) 2752 Mar 31, 2014
'Evil Dead 2' 64 Oct 31, 2013
Evil Dead II: Sequel or Remake? 40 Mar 19, 2011
Sam Raimi Planning Evil Dead 4! 30 Jul 30, 2008
Evil Dead 4 28 Oct 30, 2013
Is this Evil Dead II? 15 Jan 09, 2009
Evil Dead remake??? 8 Mar 30, 2009

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