Evil Dead Review: Worthy?

Yes, the chainsaw's back.
Yes, the chainsaw’s back.

April 29, 2013

Mary and I finally saw Evil Dead on Friday and were not disappointed. Of course, since this is a remake, everyone’s going to want to know how it stacks against the original, and let me tell you that as someone who grew up with thoughts of Ash kicking zombie ass for many years, this movie does not disappoint. In fact, I welcome it to the Evil Dead family.

Basic Rundown

Evil Dead is about Mia, a young woman trying to kick a serious drug addiction, and her friends and brother who have taken her to an isolated cabin in the woods to help her detox and quit cold turkey. As usually happens, they find an artifact of ancient eldritch power and one of these people is stupid enough to read from a book bound in human skin and filled with images of dismemberment and demonic possession.

Cue an hour and a half of five people trying to figure out how to stop the demon possessing them one by one until it claims all their souls and can escape into the real world.

The Good

Is it the same plot and characters as the original?

Of course not. It’s a retelling, a modern take on Raimi’s original idea. The special effects are updated and make as little use of CGI as possible. Actually, that’s a lie. While I know CGI was used, it’s not noticeable. It’s subtle make-up as opposed to a mask. Not to mention that practical effects just make the kills that much more painful to watch… in a good way.

Best of all, the music and gore are an homage to 1980’s horror movies. Think of it like an old, classic car that’s been given a new paintjob and wax job. Even better, the sound system is updated and the seats got new covers and cushions.

It’s pretty much what I wanted in a horror movie. It’s brutal and bloody without being cartoony. Okay, maybe a moment or two are cartoony, but the movie does a good job of creating tension and using gore to create an unsettling effect, not just for gore’s sake. It manages to keep raising the stakes and still feel believable. The tension keeps mounting for the last two thirds and it works.

Combined with good sound effects, the movie is scary, creepy, and it plays its few jump scares right.

The Bad

No Ash.

Okay, this one isn’t really the movie’s fault, but it’s following in the footsteps of a very famous movie series. Comparisons are bound to come up, but I say let the movie stand on its own. It can do it. As a horror movie, it works.

As a remake… well, I think it works as well as a remake can work. It takes some elements from the first two Evil Dead movies and strips the comedy, something that really made the originals memorable. Gone are the quips and the one-liners, though, which could really have helped move the movie from good to great.

Final Verdict?

Much like The Thing, this movie is a good attempt at trying to follow a series of movies that have colored the horror genre for more than thirty years. This remake/ retelling is its own animal, and by itself is a very creepy, very atmospheric horror movie, if formulaic.

The fact that the people who made the original worked on this as well, and there are hints that this remake may crossover with the original films (and Ash!), there’s a lot to be hopeful for if this series continues.

Check out the red-band trailer below and tell me what you think if you’ve seen it. You can also check out the original on Netflix instant right now if you’re so inclined.