Evil Dead (2013)

If I had written a review for Cabin in the Woods it would have contained the line : "Cabin In the Woods is the perfect popcorn horror film." However, I did not write a review of Cabin In the Woods (I liked it just in case you were wondering), so I will recycle that basic premise. But Evil Dead is NOT the perfect popcorn horror film...in fact it may be the worst film to have any food in the near vicinity of. I'm pretty sure watching Evil Dead with fruit around would instantly cause that fruit to shrivel and die. Meat would turn rancid. Lettuce would wilt! My clumsy belabored point is Evil Dead is a nasty, disgusting, gore fest that will blacken the heart of even the most jaded horror fans. In other words it's pretty damn good.

Much like the original version of The Evil Dead, a group of young twenty somethings head off into a cabin, they read from the book of the dead, then bad shit starts to happen. The framing device in the new version is pretty damn ingenious though. Four members of the group (David, Olivia, Eric and Natalie) are out to help the fifth, Mia (Jane Levy), kick her heroin addiction cold turkey. The added dimension this adds to Mia's behavior (is she possessed or just kicking?) gives a layer of subtext to the film that the original, folks just out to have some fun, really didn't have. Unfortunately, that's kind of where any depth or subtext ends (and truthfully, not enough is done with the premise either.)

Evil Dead suffers from the same thing that plagues a lot of similar films. The characters are just so damn paper thin and unlikeable that, except for a few minutes at the end, none of these characters mean anything to us. Shiloh Fernandez (David) is essentially the lead for the first 3 quarters of the film. Therein lies the problem. Whether it's Dead Girl, Red Riding Hood or here in Evil Dead, no one can suck the energy out of the room like he can. Call him the anti-Bruce Campbell if you will. The rest of the cast is serviceable. Jane Levy as the unlikely heroin addicted heroine (see what I did there?) is quite good given the limited amount of time she's actually able to "act."

But who really goes to see Evil Dead for the acting? It's not like it 's One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. While the acting may be rather pedestrian, it's the gore and the effects that make Evil Dead stand head and shoulders above the crowd of horror film remakes/sequels/re-imaginings. There are no words to really describe all the crazy shit that goes on during the film. It literally rains blood...yes in that cool Slayer way, for the last 15 minutes of the film. All the effects are done practically - no CG. But it's not that just that the effects are real, it's that they are done so well. How the filmmakers were able to pull off everything they did and still manage an R rating is beyond me.

Whether it's a sequel or a remake (there are clues - you can figure it out), the new Evil Dead is like getting a new car. It has all the bells and whistles, and maybe it drives a bit faster and is a little slicker but it just doesn't have that innocence the original had. It's like comparing the Star Wars prequels to the original trilogy - if the prequels had been good.

Evil Dead is a very good horror film. Don't compare it to the 1981 version. It's not fair to either version. This version is hard hitting and relentless. What it lacks in story and character development it more than makes up for in balls and audacity. Check it out if you have a chance!

**** stars out of *****

Thanks for reading and "Enjoy Every Sandwich"

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