Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Title: Evil Dead (2013)
Director: Fede Alvarez
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Rating: R
Running Time: 91 minutes
Synopsis: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.

Going into this movie, I knew that reviews were mixed. There were people who loved it and others who saw it as a complete bastardization of the source material. Whether you care to admit it or not, the original Evil Dead was the highlight of Sam Raimi's horror career. Even with Raimi and the original's star, Bruce Campbell, backing the new film, there was still a huge amount of fans asking why a remake or 'reboot' was even necessary. I have to admit that I was one of those people. I decided to ultimately set the original aside and watch this new version as if I'd never seen it's predecessor.

I'm going to try my best to keep this review spoiler free. I'd rather not ruin it for anyone who may wish to give it a chance. Almost instantly, I was questioning where the film was trying to go. The quick opening
scenes are meant to set the viewer up with a bit of backstory. All it really does is explain why the cabin has an odd smell. Even then, you're left with quite a few questions about the reasonings for why certain things were left where they were. It's not unusual for horror movies to leave massive plot holes that never really get resolved. I completely understand that part. After all, there are very few intelligent horror films with entirely well scripted plots.

I think that's one of the biggest downfalls of this film. The script was written by Fede Alvarez (the director) and Rodo Sayagues with Diablo Cody giving it a rewrite. In that process, the script glosses over a lot of things that should be important. Who are these characters? Why are we supposed to care about them? Why should we invest our time in rooting for these characters to fight and survive? Some readers might disagree with me on this. I, personally, want to connect with at least one of these people. I want to be able to really care about one of them and scream at the screen for them to run faster or fight harder. That's one of the biggest draws of the horror genre aside from being frightened by the things that I'm seeing on the screen.

The Evil Dead remake/reboot failed to deliver on any scares. There were scenes were I found myself looking away, but that was due to the sheer level of gore this movie contains. Gore does not equal scares. Where the Saw series opened up a new level of gore, at least with those movies you had the underlying drama of what Jigsaw believed in and how he converted people to his belief system. In Evil Dead, there's nothing to justify
the amount of gore. The director even commented on the sheer volume of fake blood that was used in making the film. If I remember correctly, it was something like 70,000 gallons of the stuff. There was also a claim that there was no CGI in the movie. I won't get into that debate, but some of the film did appear to have CGI laced moments.

I can't find any real redeeming qualities about the movie. The character development is so lacking that even the brief mentions of backstory aren't enough to add anything. This can't be blamed entirely on the actors. They simply work with what they're given. Even amazing acting can't make up for a lacking script. Jane Levy
(Mia) is a fairly decent actress for her age. Horror isn't her typical forte. Instead, she does comedy and teenage angst fairly well on Suburgatory. On the other hand, the male lead, Shiloh Fernandez (David) seemed very wooden to me. It shouldn't be surprising considering he was Peter in Red Riding Hood and auditioned to be Twilight's Edward Cullen.

Overall, I'd recommend waiting for this to hit your cable channels. Don't waste your money on rentals. If you're like me, you'll find yourself disappointed. It certainly wasn't 'The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience' like they wanted you to believe. Those with weak stomachs should avoid it for the amount of gore. If you enjoy dismemberment, foul language and plot holes, make some popcorn and have fun!

Rating: 1/5

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