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Happy Halloween: Evil Dead (2013) review
Director: Fede Alvarez
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore.
Maybe it's just me, but if I'm in a cabin in the woods, and I discover a puddle of blood under a rug, next to a floor door leading to a cellar that's filled with dead cats strung up on hooks, then I'd argue that it's time to get the heck out of dodge. Not the characters in this remake of Sam Raimi's camp classic The Evil Dead. They choose to stay put because they're determined to help their friend Mia (Jane Levy) kill her drug addiction cold turkey, and no amount of dead cats can change their mind. It's good that Mia has friends so dedicated to her, but seriously, there's got to be safer, and less creepy, environments for her to kick the habit.
This Evil Dead is a really lame horror movie. For starters, it's not scary. It doesn't have a single character you give a hoot about. And while it has a couple of pretty camera shots, it lacks the artistic vibrancy that made the 1983 movie such a treat. The only thing that really stands out about it is that it amps up the gore to almost jaw dropping levels. Make no mistake about it, this is a much gorier film than the already disgusting original (the R-rating here is a joke). Certainly it's one of the most gruesome horror films that I've ever seen, and not just for the scene where a demon possessed girl slices her tongue in two and French kisses her intended victim right after.
What brings on the demon possession shenanigans? After discovering the cellar full of dead cats, one of the other characters discovers a book of spells wrapped in a garbage bag and tied up with barbed wire. He cuts the barbed wire and rips open the garbage bag, and discovers the cover of the book is stitched out of what looks like human skin, with passages written in red (blood maybe?). There's a page in the book with the words “Leave this book alone” scribbled in it. He sees the warning, but decides to read from the book anyway. The first attack that comes recreates the infamous “tree rape” scene that caused so much controversy with the original. Surprisingly, the scene is a little more off-putting here than it was before. It goes on for too long, and features a couple of new and unnecessary touches, such as when a demon vomits black ooze that slithers up the victim's dress.
When Mia, the victim of the tree rape incident, tries to tell the others about what happened to her and demands to leave, no one will listen to her, not even her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), who let her down before when his job commitments caused him to leave her alone with their dying mother (where their father was during that time is never explained). Now, granted I would have trouble believing that a tree attacked one of my friends. The story sounds crazy, and Mia looks crazy as she relays the story to everyone. They dismiss it as hallucinations brought on by withdrawal, until somebody notices some of the wounds she got from the attack. Even then, the nurse in the group Olivia (Jessica Lucas) refuses to drive Mia to the hospital because she believes that she will get the same treatment there that she's currently getting at the cabin (sorry honey, but no).
Evil Dead has so many holes in the plot that it's difficult to detail them all here. For instance, Mia does a lot of horrible things to herself when she's possessed by a demon, including sustaining third degree burns after showering in scalding hot water (she was also the one who sliced her tongue in two). Yet in the end, after a particular twist in the plot (which I will not reveal), every single wound she sustained completely disappears, and without explanation. When the climax rolls around, in a torrential rain storm of blood, we see a demon come out of the ground and attack the last remaining survivor. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't somebody say that that demon needed five souls in order to come back? Only four have been claimed by the evil since the idiot read from the book. If that isn't the creature in question, then who the hell is that?
Jane Levy turns in a committed performance as the troubled Mia, and probably turns in the film's best performance. The gore effects are convincing, and the movie has one admittedly effective scene where a father is forced to burn his possessed daughter alive and blow her head off with a shotgun (although the more you think about that scene, the more holes it leaves in the plot). The whole drug addiction angle leaves some promising opportunities that are left unexplored. In the end, the movie doesn't really have anything to say, about drug addiction or anything, except that if you want to help someone kick their drug habit, the last thing you should do is keep them in a cabin with a cellar full of dead cats and a book of spells stitched out of human skin.
Final Grade: * (out of ****)
What did you think of this movie? :)
Other reviews on Evil Dead (2013) :D
- Reelviews Movie Reviews
- Evil Dead Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert
- Dustin Putman's Review: Evil Dead (2013)
Evil Dead (2013) - 3/4 Stars - A giddily effective bombardment of mangled body parts and gushes of viscera while simultaneously weaving a supernatural tale that is tension-filled and genuinely disquieting.
My Other Reviews :)
- Happy Halloween: Jacob's Ladder (1990) review
A movie you won't easily forget!
- Movie Review: Byzantium (2013)