THE EVIL DEAD (2013) is exceptionally good, particularly for a remake, but I can’t say it completely blew my socks off. That’s O.K., maybe in the future it will. For now I’m satisfied, even if my socks aren’t. I certainly recommend checking it out while it’s in theaters; it’s a big, gorgeous, blood-red hell painting that deserves to be seen on the largest canvas possible but I’d take those “most terrifying movie ever” blurbs with a grain of salt. I say that as someone who is a light touch when it comes to being unnerved by possession flicks. Obviously a great effort was made to strike a more serious and grounded tone and it absolutely works but the stripping away of anything campy or freaky for me, lessens my sense of a more unrestrained truly evil, mocking presence. Both figuratively and literally, this movie sings a haunting lullaby that is precise and sharply assembled, yet I can’t say this tune is as rabidly fierce as the simple, absurd maddening chant of “We’re going to get you.” In many ways — finer acting (with the exception of lightening in corduroys CAMPBELL), resplendent cinematography, and fuller script — this reworking is superior to the film it’s based on and yet it suffers for being too straight-faced and cautious about fully dipping its paw in the rampant insanity jar. Yep, it’s bloody as hell but I can’t say physical gore can really hold a candle to the threat of crazed, unbridled delirium.
Sorry, I’m looking at this gift horse straight in the mouth and maybe I should be careful about comparing this spring chicken with a movie that has lived in my bones for decades. If nothing else, director FEDE ALVERAZ branded more than a few fresh, potent images into my brain. There’s a bit involving a conversation through a plastic bag that is touching, gloriously bizarre and exhilaratingly unique and there’s a final clash battle image between two figures that I wouldn’t mind having as a mural on my wall. I love the look of this movie. It’s like some kind of muddy, rusty religious relic someone dug up out of a grave. If I could kidnap ALVERAZ at gunpoint and lead him into a time machine in order to remake all the other remakes that sucked, I would.
And yet I wanted more. I wanted to be taken over the top. I was right there on the edge waiting for him to push me. There’s a well done, late in the game build up to the resurrection of what we can only imagine is a sort of ultimate demon and then when it arises we get….a pretty girl with muddy hair. She’s expertly utilized for the most part, we catch her climbing out of a shed and it’s [REC]-level yikes but God, I wanted to slap a death skull mask of some sort on her! Sure, that might have gone against the film’s level-headed, non-cartoony approach but I was primed at that point to jump to the next plane and take on some wilder beasts. Oh well, maybe next time. As is, this an accomplished sturdy nightmare, I just wish I could push it off the cold turkey wagon, dose it with hallucinogens and free it to cackle like a truly impious fiend.