Dir.: Fede Alvarez
It comes billed as “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever See”, but it’s not one even by a long margin.The only moments of shock and horror are at the stupidity of the characters but then its a known fact proven in countless movies that a bunch of college kids who decide to camp in deserted wooden cottages in the middle of absolute nowhere will test your intelligence instead of using theirs.
David(Shilo Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie( Elizabeth Blackmore), arrive at a wooden cottage deep in the forest.They are met by their friends Eric(Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia(Jessica Lucas) who is a nurse.There is also Davids sister Mia (Jane Levy) who has a big drug problem and Olivia plans to make her go cold turkey without allowing her to escape.As the evening progresses the Evil Dead start to come alive thanks to Eric who decides to read from a Book of the Dead which they find in the basement along with a heap of dead rotting animals.These kids have obviously not seen the original The Evil Dead by Sam Raimi! What follows is very predictable but that was not the point anyways.Where the film fails is its inability to terrify us in any way that would justify the tagline or its existence despite tweaking the original storyline significantly.
Since the release of the original Evil Dead in 1981, films like Saw and Hostel and their countless and considerably inferior sequels have captured the imagination of audiences by creating the torture-porn category. Evil emanating from within the demented souls of ordinary humans or casual cruelty from outer space seems to find greater acceptance in these times where religion and by extension the supernatural is fast falling out of favor with the youth.Alvarez tries to mock this very rationality with the lead character David trying to find rational explanation where none exists. The gang in this film do not even possess an iPhone or they could have downloaded a Ghostbuster app and sent the evil spirits packing.
Debutant director Fede Alvarez approaches the material with the solemness of remaking a classic and displays little creativity in the bargain.Apparently the film is filled with references to other horror classics and homage to the original but unless your movie watching habits include hours of research before watching a film (assuming you are not a horror fan with all the possible trivia at your finger tips) these do not add a dimes worth of effectiveness to the film.This film is another triumph of Hollywood marketing, my computer screen has been drenched with bloody banner ads of this film for the last few months.This film has plenty of gore which feels real, they used 70000 gallons of fake blood while the original used only 300.
The actors are half competent but none makes us care for them or cheers their death for that matter, as they fall victim to their stubbornness.The absence of CGI heavy sequences make some of the scenes impressive and un-synthetic and the makeup is indeed top notch.However it is the background music that does not create genuine tension and dread and the film suffers considerably on that count.
So why remake this cult film? Because it makes commercial sense, both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, the actor from the original are producers.If any remake of a well known film is marketed globally with a multimillion dollar budget its chances of being a box office success improve exponentially.Steven Soderbergh gave a wonderful speech recently in which he shared the thinking in Hollywood about marketing films globally, but if remakes continue to be as uninspired as this one there is bound to be a backlash. Sam Raimi himself made a good remake, his prequel to The Wizard of Oz provides joy to its core audience in nearly the same measure that the original did to a much wider audience.Sequels can be good, indeed Evil Dead 2 was better than the first as Raimi realized that repeating himself would be a giant folly and infused the film with comedy.
Evil Dead is the kind of film that does not need a recommendation, it feeds off its own existence as a supplier of endless and predictable gore.This film will satisfy a thirst for blood, dismembered limbs, colorful vomit and self mutilation, the only hitch being none of it is scary or worse even remotely funny.And consequently I am determined to sit out the remake of Brian De Palmas 1976 classic Carrie, out later this year.
Horror (including horrifying) films that I personally like and recommend (top of the mind recall, not exhaustive):
1. The Shining
2. Silence of the Lambs
5. Shutter Island
7. Rosemary’s baby
8. The Happening
9. Exorcism of Emily Rose
10. Dawn of the Dead
11. 28 Days
13. Funny Games
14. From Dawn till Dusk
18. Blue Velvet
19. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
20. Passion of the Christ