“Evil Dead” (2013) Review
In order to make a great film, at least one of two things needs to be present. The film must either have a unique/interesting story or find another way to be highly entertaining. Recently, the majority of wide-release horror films have lacked both of these criteria. These films are often riddled with poor, recycled plots (how many exorcism films have there been over the last few years) or uninspired serial killers. It seems that horror films have spent more time trying to implement more jump scares or find the next fad (from zombies, to exorcisms, to paranormal activity) rather than taking a step back and remembering to make the experience entertaining. Evil Dead is here to bring horror back to its glory. With Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s blessing, Fede Alvarez has crafted an incredible experience that outdoes its source material, and what I can say is the best horror film I’ve seen in years.
For those unfamiliar with the original film, Evil Dead focuses on a group of young adults who take a trip to a cabin. There they find the “Naturom Demonto”, or Book of the Dead, which awakens evil demons in the surrounding woods that then begin possessing members of the group leading to a sequence of violent and gory deaths. The reboot happens to take the plot of the original film and add some extra layers and twists to better flesh out its tale and make its characters (slightly) more three-dimensional. Though the plot may not be overly complicated, its tale is still entertaining to watch unfold – especially for fans of the original, as the reboot takes some new twists and turns with its cast of characters. However, where the film stands out is in its tongue-in-cheek scenes and sequences that make this campy film so good.
Evil Dead is surely expected to be a gory, violent film – an area in which it does not disappoint. It must be noted that Alvarez chose to avoid CGI in creating the effects for the film and go with purely practical effects and camera tricks. This is a great tribute to the pre-CGI era of horror films – one that is by no means a hinderance to the film. Its effects are a sight to behold, with its over-the-top violence becoming laughably entertaining at points (I will say now that if you don’t find humor in Evil Dead, you are missing out on the point and a good amount of the fun to be had here).
In addition to the effects, the film’s other parts all work to enhance the experience. The cast is (for the most part) surprisingly adept at fulfilling their roles. Jane Levy, in particular, really does a wonderful job with the lead role – she is tasked with a constantly shifting role, and never falters in her performance that is much more than your typical female screamers in horror films. Also, the film’s soundtrack is nicely fitting and well implemented (something I rarely note in horror films).
One last piece that deserves some attention is the cinematography done by Alvarez. He chooses to saturate the film with certain colors – mostly dark colors, black, and red. This both makes the visuals quite striking, but really aids the special effects. The plentiful blood spilled looks much more stylish with Alvarez’s work in the visual department.
More often than not, a remake/reboot/re-imagining does not manage to do its source material justice. Even more rare, is the remake that enhances its source material, lifting it to another level. Fede Alvarez’s re-imagining of Sam Reimi’s cult classic, Evil Dead, does just that – it transcends the original. In doing so, to put it simply, Evil Dead is horror done right. It manages to be scary, tense, and campy all at the same time, making this one of the most fun and entertaining horror films I’ve seen in a long time. Fans of the original series will find much to enjoy (including many nods to the originals that will make fans smile), while unfamiliar horror fans should still be greatly entertained by this one. Let me know what you thought of the film, and what you hope for with the continuation of the series.
Final Score: 8.7/10