Remakes, depending on your point of view they can be the worst thing ever to happen to a film or alternately a great tool to expose audiences that would otherwise not look at an older film. I fall firmly into the first camp, and damn all the people too stupid to understand that a film that was released before they were born can be outstanding. Even so I took a nice open mind into the remake/reboot of Evil Dead.
Directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert G. Tabert, the plot will be numbingly familiar to anyone who’s seen the original Evil Dead. A bunch of teenagers (or close approximations thereof) end up in a cabin in the woods, this time to help the protagonist through a drugs intervention in a cold turkey manner. They find a book wrapped in barbed wire and bound in suspiciously pale leather, and would you believe that shenanigans ensue?
I think it goes without saying that you can’t be a big film fan without loving, or at least having a soft spot for the originals. I did try to enjoy it, I went with an open mind wanting to enjoy the film. I was encouraged by the fact that Alvarez said publicly and categorically that there was not one single frame use of CGI in the film.
We were lied to. I don’t like be lied to, it was one of the many problems I have with The Dark Knight Rises, that’s the only review on this site that has spoilers in case you’re one of the three people that hasn’t seen that. Evil Dead waits a whole 33 seconds before making it obvious that we were lied to, burning a character alive while she looks up into a camera. Until I’m shown a ‘Making of’ documentary that shows me how you burn human skin for a prolonged period of screen time with no ill effects to an actress being paid scale, I’m calling dishonesty.
Now I’m over my (righteous) indignation, the film itself. It’s bad. Not because it’s badly shot, badly acted (because it’s none of those) or because it’s a remake. It’s because it has no soul. It commits the cardinal crime that a horror movie can do, it’s not scary in any way. The only way this film could terrify someone is if the scariest thing that personal had ever seen was Fantasia.
I tried to give the film a chance, a chance not to impress me, but a chance to actually be competent as a film. I got as far as the sequence from the trailer where the blonde gets dragged into the cellar before I gave into that voice in the good taste centre of my brain that was begging me to offer my services to kill the rest of the cast so I could go for a cigarette and a beer.
If you insist on seeing it, you’re either a big fan of the original with morbid curiosity or a moron. Really, avoid this as much as you can. The score is so telegraphed that you could take a book to read, look up only when the string section kicks in, and not miss a single thing. I know this because I could do that while making notes during the film. The only good thing about this film is that Raimi’s going to get to film a sequel to Army of Darkness.