Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead (2013)Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

Directed by Fede Alvarez

There are pretty much two questions we all had going into Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead "rebirth" (a term the director used that seems rather fitting, more so than remake anyway): one, is it going to be good. and two, is it going to be good enough to stand on its own merits?

The answer to both those questions is HELLS YEAH.

Breathe a sigh of relief, fiends- Evil Dead delivers the goods and then some, even managing to step out and create its own universe that still wholly adheres to the one Sam Raimi concocted over three decades now. The amount of intensity, violence and downright nastiness that Alvarez manages to cram into Evil Dead is brutal, visceral and will prove to be an endurance test (in a good way) for anyone out there who goes into it thinking this is going to be another "by-the-numbers" studio remake.

The story of Evil Dead is pretty straightforward: Five friends go into the woods to help one of them kick a drug habit at their old family cabin located in the middle of nowhere. When they get there, the group discovers that someone has broken into the cabin previously and left quite a terrible mess (and a copy of the Book of the Dead conveniently enough) in the basement. Of course one of those friends just happens to take an interest in the book, and soon enough demonic forces are unleashed, limbs start flying and all hell breaks loose inside that tiny cabin.

And when I say hell, I mean the unholiest hell you can imagine- there's dismemberment, people cutting their own faces off, someone getting scalded and covered with grotesque scabs and sores, a relentless nail gun attack and a ton more that I wouldn't dream of giving away as it would ruin some of the gore-soaked fun (all of that stuff is referenced in the trailers so no spoilers). Suffice to say, when Alvarez said that on this Evil Dead they were going to push the R rating as far they could, he wasn't effing around in the least bit.

Oh, and if you think Raimi crossed a line with his "rape vines" in the original Evil Dead, Alvarez doesn't even consider the line while he's crossing it at all. We start off with the scene we're expecting and then - BAM - Alvarez takes it a notch further, making for a truly uncomfortable but highly effective moment of horror. It's a great homage to the original's iconic scene and really sets the tone for all that follows.

The Evil Dead cast across the board are pretty great, but Jane Levy truly owns this flick as the things she's forced to endure make her performance all the more authentic and downright badass. There are also some interesting things that happen with her character which I won't necessarily discuss here, but the way that Alvarez and co-writer Rodo Sayagues play with the concepts of victims and villains in Evil Dead is some rather fascinating stuff to watch for longtime horror fans who come to expect certain things from their favorite genre movies.

If forced to nitpick, the only downside to Evil Dead is that during its finale it seems like no one was quite sure how to resolve everything satisfactorily, and so things feel a bit rushed, with the story even seeming to betray its own rules at one point. Does it take anything away from the movie as a whole? Not really- but I was hoping Alvarez and company would finish as strongly as they started, and that wasn’t necessarily the case. We also get tied up a bit in some of the characters' personal business in the first act that kind of slows things down a bit, but thankfully, business picks back up in no time at all as Alvarez, for the most part, keeps the movie going forward at a brisk and sometimes frenetic pace.

As a whole, though, Evil Dead truly delivers on the bold promises its poster made last fall- it is downright intense, at some points even terrifying and by far one of the most brutal flicks (with an R rating) I can remember seeing on the big screen in ages. Most fans of the original should love Alvarez's version for its sheer ballsiness and gut-punch, no-nonsense approach; but I'm sure there are others out there who will be pissed this isn't "funnier" (it seems like people forget Raimi wasn't making a horror comedy back in the day), but that's not necessarily the point of this movie.

It may not be the "reimagining" we were expecting at all, but that's what makes this Evil Dead so great. Not once does Alvarez pander to the fans; he made the movie he wanted to make and tells the story he wanted to tell, and that passion and his own unabashed bloodlust show proudly here. THIS is where you all want to be come April 5th.

Oh, and make sure to stay through the credits, too.

4 out of 5

Discuss Evil Dead in the comments section below!


Terminal's picture

Kyle, I'll just have to find a way to go on with your disapproval. I'll manage, I think.

Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 03/10/2013 - 1:05am.
thehorrorchick's picture

Rebirth is a term the director used to intro the movie and I found it very fitting. I can only write the word remake or reimagining so much...

Submitted by thehorrorchick on Sat, 03/09/2013 - 5:34am.
Terminal's picture

"Rebirth" is such a stupid way of saying remake. Just say remake. That's like calling used cars pre-owned, or strippers exotic dancers. I mean just call it what it is, cut the pretense crap.

Submitted by Terminal on Sat, 03/09/2013 - 3:54pm.
thehorrorchick's picture

It's funny to me that out of my whole review you're hung up on one word....get over it. Don't like it? Take it up with the director or just stop reading my reviews altogether. After all, I'm just a "chick"- what could I possibly know after working in the industry for almost 7 years, right?

And you'll also find that most press there last night share in my enthusiasm for the flick too. It's just wicked, nasty fun. Either way, hope you enjoy it when it comes out.

Submitted by thehorrorchick on Sat, 03/09/2013 - 4:15pm.
Terminal's picture

You being a "chick" has nothing to do with it.

And puh-leeeeeease spare me the sexist card. I don't give a shit about your breasts or gender, so that excuse is old hat right out the gate.

I don't care if you were born from the frozen womb of Mary Shelley with splooge from Clive Barker and baptized by Lucio Fulci, that doesn't make your opinion gospel. Although that'd make for a bad ass novel.

I don't care if you and Wes Craven play golf on the weekend, or you have a time share with George Romero (That'd also be cool), I don't give two fucks about your "industry" work. Save it.

And no not everyone is high on the movie, from what I've read. See, I've been reading around and such, and don't follow one opinion only like your plant Kyle Key, or whatever friend or roommate or boyfriend you asked to sign up to the site to give me a good scolding to keep me from hurting your feelings.

If you've really been working for seven years in the "industry" then you'd know not to get so damn sensitive and pissy about someone wanting to seek out other opinions before spending money on a movie.

I want to keep an open mind and be cautious before spending money. Ever hear of "Buyer beware"?

Humility is not your best trait, my friend.

I'm talking about the movie from here on in, so you and your best bud Kyle feel free to email me if you want to continue our lovely dialogue: rpgforms@yahoo.com


Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 03/10/2013 - 1:21am.

"See, I've been reading around and such, and don't follow one opinion only like your plant Kyle Key, or whatever friend or roommate or boyfriend you asked to sign up to the site to give me a good scolding to keep me from hurting your feelings."

Haha, so you're bitter, jaded, and think people are out to get you. Looks like you're even more lonely and egotistical than I thought. Sorry to burst your conspiracy bubble, but I'm merely a random reader who felt like pointing out the douchiness of a "terminal" commenter.

Submitted by Kyle Key on Fri, 03/15/2013 - 2:54pm.
thehorrorchick's picture

No offense dude but you come on to almost EVERY SINGLE review of mine and trash it...yeah, I don't take that personally at all. My job is all personal- I gave up my entire life, financial security and everything to do what I love and it will never not be personal for me. If people don't like what I write or don't agree- that's totally cool. I'm always open to a real, intelligent discussion. Coming on and just trashing my review because I used ONE word the director likened the flick to is just dumb. Sorry.

And in terms of Kyle, not sure who he is to be perfectly honest. My boyfriend (who also works for DC sometimes) would go under BrianDreads and frankly, he knows I can hold my own. Never asked him to fight one battle for me and don't plan on starting any time soon.

Frankly, you're the reason I stopped reading comments on my reviews for so long- for this one I came back on because it's such a huge moment for the fans out there but thanks for reaffirming my decision in continuing to just never go back to my reviews at all after their posted.

I'd welcome you to continue this discussion by offering MY email but frankly I don't really care. Have fun trashing the rest of my reviews in the future sir!

Submitted by thehorrorchick on Mon, 03/11/2013 - 6:04pm.
Terminal's picture

More people than I tend to criticize your review style and yet you only really take issue with my responses. And I simply said "I'll wait for more opinions." I don't know how or why that hurt your feelings so much, but pardon me for wanting a wider verdict on the film.

You seem to think "I wrote it for Dread Central, that should be all you need for this movie." Sorry, but even with sources I respect and trust like the AV Club or Roger Ebert, I still wait to hear more from other people.

Congratulations on sacrificing for your work. Join the club.

Just keep writing for DC, shit, thicken your skin, you're going to need it in your "industry" work.


Submitted by Terminal on Mon, 03/11/2013 - 8:16pm.
Gareth Jones's picture

I suggest that "Rejaculate" enter the venacular.

Very stoked to see this now.

Submitted by Gareth Jones on Sat, 03/09/2013 - 10:27pm.

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