The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Evil Dead | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Evil Dead

Remake of Sam Raimi's seminal low-budget horror.

Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

In a prologue we see a young possessed girl burned alive and shot in the basement of a cabin in the woods. Later, five friends arrive at the cabin with the intention of inducing Mia (Levy) into cold turkey to beat her drug addiction. Discovering a cellar, the group venture down and find a book wrapped in barbed wire. Eric (Pucci) ignores the book's scrawled warnings and reads a passage, seemingly awakening a presence in the woods. Unable to handle her withdrawal, Mia freaks out and drives away from the cabin, crashing the car upon seeing a vision of the girl murdered in the prologue. After being raped by a tree, she returns to the cabin, possessed.
Like Godard's 'Breathless' a generation before, Sam Raimi's 1981 'Evil Dead' was one of those seminal films that made everyone who saw it want to pick up a camera and shoot their own film. A love letter to Ray Harryhausen and the Three Stooges, it's packed with some of the most inventive special effects and camera trickery seen in any film, let alone one made on such a miniscule budget. If you take out the humor, the DIY effects and the camera tricks, however, you're not left with all that much. That's fine though, because, as with 'Breathless', it's the spirit, charm and love that makes the film work rather than any plot or story. For the remake, Alvarez and his writers have taken out the humor, DIY effects (though at least it's CG free), and camera tricks. Predictably, there's not much left.
The original had as much enthusiasm dripping off the screen as blood. Not so here. It seems a Khandari demon has swallowed the soul of this film. It doesn't feel like an 'Evil Dead' remake, more like a filmed walk-through of an 'Evil Dead' themed haunted house attraction. If this were a series of webisodes made to build up interest in an upcoming film, you might accept it. As an actual film it's an empty experience, lacking the inventiveness seen in 'Panic Attack', the impressive short film which won Alvarez this gig. The cold turkey sub-plot is an interesting addition but, that aside, there's really nothing you haven't seen before. If you regularly visited your local video store in the eighties, you've seen this done a lot of times, often with spirit, charm and love; three elements this, like most remakes, lacks.