There are two types of goals horror films attempt to achieve in the current market. They either attempt to build an atmosphere, leading to a terrifying climax, or they attempt to shock us outright with macabre images and mountains of gore. “Evil Dead” easily falls into the latter category.
A sequel/remake to the classic Sam Raimi film, “Evil Dead” is a worthy follow up to one of the most beloved horror series in history.The film takes place after the first film, but also seems to parallel the events. A group of 20-somethings go to their family’s cabin in the woods so that Mia (Jane Levy) can kick heroin. She is accompanied by her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and three childhood friends, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore).
Soon, Eric uncovers the Necronomicon and all hell breaks loose. Those familiar with the original will find this..well..familiar. The one thing most people will end up really yearning for is a bit more personality. Despite a couple of interesting new characters, none of which are fully fleshed out, most of the movie suffers from a somewhat cliched script. This isn’t really a bad thing, though I wish that the movie had been a bit more self aware, especially in this day and age.
Now don’t let these fairly small issues sway you, it has been quite a while since I had so much fun in a movie theater. At it’s core, horror films are meant to be enjoyed with other people, especially movies like this. Once the blood starts to pour it hardly lets up. The constant bombardment of red may prove to much for softer audiences but this movie is not for the faint of heart. This movie is for those who have been getting tired of all the watered down PG-13 fare that has been flooding the market these last couple of years.
Director Fede Alvarez has one incredible eye for violence. He understands the beauty and twisted fun of over the top gore. He utilizes it, understands it and in doing so truly captures the essence of the first film. It’s also worth noting that Alvarez does at least try to separate his film from the first in some ways, though they are mostly subtle. One thing that really worked for me in the film was the addiction concept. It is established early on that they would keep Mia in the cabin no matter what, and this actually makes for a great mechanic in keeping the group in the forest.
The sound effects also did a fantastic job of adding to the entire experience. Piercing strings and tones run rampant as if coming from the forest itself. This keeps the audience unhinged even if we aren’t all that terrified. The theater that I was in, tended to be laughing more than gasping, but that was to be expected. Alvarez does a fine job of creating an eerie forest setting even if it isn’t really “scary”.
When the final scene ended and the credits began to roll, the general tone in the theater was extremely positive. The opening and closing scenes of the film both leave room for a sequel or prequel, and personally I really hope it happens. If you are a fan of the original, or a fan of awesome no holds bar gore, then “Evil Dead” is your best bet no question.
See it in theaters now with a couple of friends, especially if you love the original!