Thursday, August 15, 2013

#1,095. Evil Dead (2013)

Directed By: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci

Tag line: "The most terrifying film you will ever experience"

Trivia: By some accounts, this movie used 70,000 gallons of fake blood

OK, its confession time.

Unlike some horror fans, I have no problem with the recent trend of remakes. Sure, John Carpenter’s Halloween is a masterpiece. It’s the movie that kicked off the ‘80s slasher craze, setting the standard for the entire sub-genre. But I also thought Rob Zombie’s take on the story was pretty darn good. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is on my all-time Top 10 list, yet I enjoyed the hell out of the 2004 Zack Snyder version as well. And that goes for the 2009 remake (or “re-imagining”, or “update”, or whatever you want to call it) of My Bloody Valentine

That said, 2013’s Evil Dead, inspired by Sam Raimi’s unforgettable 1981 classic, is easily my favorite of the bunch.

Trying to kick a drug habit, Mia (Jane Levy) travels to a run-down cabin in the middle of the woods, where she intends to go an entire weekend without getting high. Her friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) are there for moral support, yet the big surprise comes when Mia’s estranged brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) also turns up with his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). 
Hoping to make things right with his sister, David promises Mia that he’ll stay by her side and help her through this difficult time. 

Things take a bizarre turn when the group stumbles upon a book, bound in human skin and written in blood. To satisfy his curiosity, Eric opens the book and reads from it, and in so doing unleashes some evil spirits, which quickly transform the friend’s intervention / weekend getaway into an all-out battle for survival!

Produced by both Raimi and Bruce Campbell (who played Ash in the original), 2013’s Evil Dead is a blood-drenched, gore-infused re-telling of the ‘81 indie classic. And when I say “blood-drenched”, I’m talking tons of blood, flowing by the gallon. For a fair portion of the movie, we the audience are bombarded with shootings, stabbings, dismemberments, and self-mutilations. One character even licks the edge of a knife, splitting their tongue in half!

Fortunately, Evil Dead is more than a simple gorefest; the movie features some supremely creepy moments as well. In the opening sequence, before we even meet the main characters, Raimi and company treat us to a ceremony designed to rid a young girl (Phoenix Connolly) of the demon inside her (Raimi's brother Ted plays the girl's distraught father). It's a crazy, violent showdown that gets things off to a bone-chilling start.

The film’s most "edge of your seat" scene, however, comes a bit later, when Mia, sensing the evil that's now loose in the cabin, is cowering in her room, attempting to warn David of the impending danger. Naturally, David thinks his sister is having an hallucination, a side effect of her self-imposed rehab, and refuses to listen. The moment he leaves the room, we see just how real Mia’s so-called “hallucination” really is!

1981’s The Evil Dead will always be one of my favorite films. Nothing will change that. But I was blown away by this new Evil Dead, and when I’m in the mood for a bloody good time, chances are this will be the version I'll reach for.

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