Review: Evil Dead
It has been a long while since I have reviewed a movie, and for that matter seen a movie in the theater that I have actually enjoyed. I went into the movie theater fully expecting a movie with a light plot, if any, but more so I just expected to have a good time. Evil Dead was a gory film to say the least, which is what it was going for and succeeded at grossing out many people in theaters everywhere, However, unlike the original Evil Dead, the characters seem much more realistic lending the story at hand to have more credence and allows the viewers to care for them in some way. It also benefits from a surprising performance delivered by Jane Levy in the lead role, but the real star of the show may just be the man behind the camera. Fede Alvarez is a new name, but he is sure to be directing many more films in the future. Alvarez got his start by directing a short film on Youtube that got the attention of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, shortly thereafter Alvarez was attached to this project and he did a terrific job with it.
The plot does not deviate too far from the original as we see five friends going to a cabin in the woods, completely cut off from seemingly any sort of civilization. The main difference from the original is the fact that Mia (Jane Levy) is a recovering drug addict and the cabin was a place where her and her family would occasionally visit. Mia's friends, Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), feel that the isolated cabin and the positive memories of the cabin could potentially be the perfect thing to finally break Mia's addiction. However, they stress to Mia's brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) that he cannot cave and take her home. As a year ago Olivia and Eric did something similar for Mia, but they caved and took her home when her urge to fall back into a relapse became too scary. David promises to be strong for his sister but of course, none of them realize what they are really in for. Upon entering the cabin, Mia immediately can smell something wretched inside the cabin which turns out to be some sort of witchcraft ritual that took place in the basement. David and Eric also happen to stumble upon a book. Eric takes it and decides to investigate it despite the warnings scribbled upon it. Mia, meanwhile, continues to have a hard time detoxing and keeps begging David to take her home as the smell of the cabin is driving her nuts. David stays strong, which upsets Mia as she feels now that her brother is supporting their friends but not her. She takes it upon herself to sneak out and attempts to run away only to come across something very disturbing in the woods.
After Mia is found by her brother and friends, they chalk up her injuries to attention seeking behavior as she will go to any extreme now to leave the cabin. She desperately pleads to David help her leave as she saw something in the woods, but still he does not budge. Slowly but surely things begin to get out of control. She begins to hurt herself in much more extreme ways that begin to make them wonder if this is your simple drug addict behavior or just something else entirely. Eric begins investigating the book more and finds illustrations of things that had been happening to Mia, which makes him believe when he read from the book that he unleashed something evil upon them all. Of course he is correct, after all it is a horror film. From that point on, there is not much of a story but the film never loses pace it only speeds up and never slows down.
It is hard to say much about this film in terms of plot, but the actual film is pretty intense. It is completely understandable to hear that some people have not been able to handle it as some of the scenes, if not most of them, are all very graphic. However, once the pace picks up it never ever eases up and it only increases the tension. For any horror film fan, this movie is a must watch. It does not however exactly have any real scares, but it trades that in just to make the audience feel uneasy. Again, the star of the show really is the director Fede Alvarez. He does a terrific job behind the camera giving the look of the movie a subtle grey over tone and from time to time it looks very similar shot for shot to the original Sam Raimi film. It is no surprise at all to hear that Alvarez is already at work on the sequel to this film.
In horror films like this you don't really expect strong acting performances but it gets just what it needs out of it's core characters. Jane Levy does a terrific job in the role of Mia, granted the demonic Mia is not played by Levy most of the time. However, when she is on screen she grabs the attention of the audience with the fragility of her character and that automatically makes us feel for her and want to see her make it through the night somehow. Lou Taylor Pucci also does a good job in the role of Eric. His role is a bit of a standard character, but he manages to make his character very likable as well. I would say that my only gripe on the movie would be that of how the characters decided to tend a wound, with duct tape. Now I get it, just saying that may force some readers to laugh and understandably so as that is most likely what the writer of the script wanted. Well done on you, as the one source of comedic relief came via duct tape. That is definitely something new.