It happened. We finally saw the long-awaited new vision of Evil Dead. Whether it was due to the marketing of the movie – putting pretty much all of the key plot points in the trailer, or just a desire to be scared shitless, we were [I was] just begging for this movie to hold the self-proclaimed title of ‘the most terrifying movie you will ever experience’.
Post-cinema tweets had me thinking that I was indifferent to the movie, but after a night of sleep and a regrouping of my thoughts, here is my take on Evil Dead.
Without a doubt there are positives about this movie and they outweigh the negatives. I absolutely love the fact they used minimal CGI and didn’t make the film 3D. It’s a true horror movie made by a team that loves the genre. Everything looks and feels real, and it great they have manage to create a scenario which holds a semblance of believability despite it being about demons; there is nothing more alienating than seeing CGI blood or gore elements (just look at the World War Z zombies). Some of the gore is insane, and despite the awkward beginning and pretty monotonous acting from the side characters, it ramps up to Mach 100 and is a rollercoaster ride until the very end. The decision on which they base the groups’ trip to the demonic cabin (five friends visit a remote cabin to help one fight heroin cold turkey) is a great way to differentiate this movie from the original, yet there are enough nods to the first movie to keep a true Evil Dead fan entertained. The way the cinematographer and the director handled the setting was brilliant; the woods develop a character of themselves, and it does borrow from the original in terms of camerawork, which is not necessarily a negative thing. Alvarez clearly has a fantastic eye for detail, and I hope he works on an original movie next to see what he can deliver without the shackles of fanboy expectation.
Despite all of theses aspect though, there were a few narrative decisions on part of the filmmakers that left us both eye-rolling. We’ve already written a better way of the characters finding the Necrocomicon and how they release the demons in the woods; it’s simply unbelievable that a person would read from a book that was found in the way it was found, regardless of the fact it’s covered in barbed wire and black bags; stick in the lake or bury the damn thing, make it more intriguing for the characters to read. Also, unlike the first movie where you are willing Ash (Bruce Campbell) to survive, there was no part in this movie where we wanted to root for any of the characters. I couldn’t have cared what happened to whom, and the only time I was engaged in their story was when blood was flying near the end. The one thing I didn’t want the movie to do was resort to torture porn techniques – Hostel, Saw, etc, – but it did on a few occasions, which I felt cheapened the film. And enough with the foreshadowing, please!
While Evil Dead is just another horror movie, it is a solid 18 certificate horror movie that has a LOT of gore and balls-out action elements. I am really glad I saw it at the cinema; it has to be seen loud and large. I do think the wider issue with the Evil Dead and with other movies in general is that marketers are completely ruining films by putting a lot of the best set pieces in the trailer. We want to be teased, not have nothing left to watch.