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The Evil Dead (2013)

April 6th, 2013 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

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.

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Tags: General Horror



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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 SlasherChickNo Gravatar // Apr 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    The original is still one of my ultimate favorite films, so of course I’m panting to see the remake. As a rule, remakes tend to suck a tailpipe, but the last few years there have been enough good ones (Dawn Of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw, and may the Gods forgive me _ I LOVED Halloween) to at least put my guard down a bit in their regard.
    Excellent post, and thanks for not posting spoilers. I won’t be able to see it for a few days, and I can still go in fresh.
    BTW, it might be worth seeing just for the effects. Looks like they used some practical in there with the CGI and the whole project is just gorgeous.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    SlasherChick,

    It’s very much in line with the good ones you mentioned (Dawn of the Dead, TCM and I LOVED it too Halloween)! If you were open to those I think you’ll have a fine time with this. I wish it was a bit more unhinged but at least it didn’t make me want to strangle the usher like the Elm street remake did!

  • 3 SlasherChickNo Gravatar // Apr 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Unk,

    I actually liked the Elm Street remake, but that probably has more to do with the fact that I am a huge fan of Jackie Earle Hailey than the merits of the film – some of which was okay. The makeups and effects were excellent, the acting was good, it’s just the whole ‘Freddy as pedophile’ thing that bothered me.
    I mean killing kids is bad enough…but somehow the pedophilia is worse. It triggered my gag reflex. Besides, we all know our Freddy is far more imaginative than that.

    “Sex ‘em up? Not even – I know! Let’s pull their ligaments out and walk ‘em around all marionette-style!”

    It got points for bringing some new faces and wonderful effects to the table, but lost some with me for the kid-touchy gross-out factor.

    LOL – strangle the usher – I can relate to that temptation. Sometimes the movie’s just so bad you can’t help wanting someone to pay.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    SC,

    I totally agree on Jackie earl Haley. He’s great but that movie did not work for me at all. It’s interesting though that so many of these remakes just jump on the idea of darkening everything and making it grittier when I think there’s much more to making things scary than just painting it darker. I think the scariest part of the original ED is Linda’s transformation and it’s more bright and twisted than morose and dour. Maybe I just have eighties movies blood in my veins! I think a little more joy in these movies would only accentuate the horrors!

  • 5 ozneNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I plan on seeing it today. A friend of mine didn’t like it that much. However, to be fair, he never saw the original and he’s not aware of Raimi’s style of camp. The funny thing is, his girlfriend dragged him to see The Evil Dead.

  • 6 TaylorNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I wish I wish I wish I could have liked this, as a huge fan of the originals (especially 1 and 2). By the end I was bored, and I just wanted all of them to get picked off quickly so I could leave.

    Did you notice that the blonde girl said the “What happened to her eyes?!” line from the original, despite not having really been in a position to see Mia’s eyes after they went demonic and before she got knocked into the cellar? But who cares, she said the line from the original! In a very small and specific nutshell, that kind of sums up my theory on the filmmakers’ approach to this.

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Ozne,

    Let me know what you think of it!

    Taylor,

    Sorry this didn’t work at all for you! I have to agree that the handling of the possession(s) was a real weak spot. I was flipping channels the other night and came across AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION on ON DEMAND and thought “I can’t watch this right now – it’ll freak me out!”…. I don’t think that will ever be a problem with this film! Still I enjoyed it well enough especially the blood rain! I can’t say no to blood rain.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    But again, would it have killed them to make that final demon scarier? If that thing came out of the ground with a skull face and deer antlers on its head I would have turned to mush. It seems modern horror has the “gritty” stuff down but really needs to reconnect itself with the fantastic.

    What I’m really excited for now is that CONJURING movie…Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren!!!!! :)

  • 9 TaylorNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The Conjuring looks like a ton of fun…The Warrens in real life practically crafted themselves to be characters in a movie just like the ones James Wan makes. I am looking forward to that one…And doesn’t Wan also have Insidious 2 (also with Patrick Wilson) coming out in the fall?

  • 10 SlasherChickNo Gravatar // Apr 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Hey Unk,

    I finally got to see the remake today and I absolutely loved it. I agree that it could have let a little humor in, but given that the base story (Mia’s detox from heroin) was so serious and heavy, they probably felt it would have been weird to slide a chuckle in here or there.

    The gore was masterful. I can’t get enough of it generally, but this time I got close. This bothers me, though: I must have been hallucinating during the trailer because I could have sworn that the remake had it’s own “We’re gonna get you” scene but it didn’t show up in the film. The director went all Paranormal Activity 3 on that scene; teasing the hell out of us with the trailer, leaving it out of the film. Damn. I was looking forward to that.

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