Back in 1981, a then unknown Sam Raimi made the original Evil Dead, a classic horror film that helped to start the “cabin in the woods” genre of horror films and jump-started Bruce Campbell’s career. It was cheesy, it was gory and it was strangely tongue-in-cheek. Somehow this strange mix of elements worked together to make that film an eventual success. The film spawned two sequels; the quasi remake Evil Dead 2 and the ridiculous Army of Darkness. If you’d call yourself any sort of horror film fan, you’d obviously have been anticipating the remake of Evil Dead. The problem with most remakes though, is it usually tries to redo something that was already special to begin with. That in essence is a recipe for disaster.
The 2013 version of this film again sees an unknown director and unknown cast of young actors, all hoping to kick-start their careers. This version is a mish-mash of what the filmmakers thought was the best bits of the first two films. And even though they thought they had all the best bits thrown together, they could not make it all work as one coherent piece of work.
A group of friends get together at a VERY remote cabin in the woods, in order to help Mia get over her drug addiction. The idea is for them all to help her get through the weekend as she goes cold turkey from the drugs. The weirdness then starts to happen when they discover that the basement has been used for some weird evil rituals and whoever performed those rituals just happened to leave the book (which if you remember from the original is the Necronomicon, or book of the dead). As you’d expect, the nerdy guy reads some text in the book which inadvertently awakens evil forces. And the rest is evil incoherent gory b-rate horror history.
What the filmmakers did get right though was the gore. The original film was quite gory but this new version takes it up a few notches. There are buckets worth of blood gore in this film. Along with the blood, the occasional scare helps keep you interested. The biggest sin of this movie though is that the filmmakers decided to try and make this a serious film. What made the original so inventive was the tongue-in-cheek approach and that’s exactly where this new one falls flat. There’s no sharp humour and no witty remarks. The flat acting and 1-dimensional characters, coupled with boring performances from just about everyone just doesn’t do this film any favours.
As a stand-alone film, Evil Dead is not a terrible horror film. It doesn’t push any boundaries and doesn’t really do anything new. The original still overshadows this film and is in most ways a superior film. I am pretty confident that we won’t see a sequel to this film, and about 10mins after you’ve watched it, you’ll already have forgotten about it.
If you enjoy the odd gore-fest every now and then, then this film fits the bill. If you hoped that this film would live up to its remake hype, then I’m sorry but you will be gravely disappointed. If you are looking for anything else in a film, then you’d be well advised to not camp out at this cabin.