Evil Dead (2013)


Film, 2013

The biggest reservation people seem to have about the new Evil Dead, people in my circle of friends anyway, is that it’s not funny. It’s a valid reservation. If the idea of Evil Dead without the humor- which is to say, a boilerplate gore movie- doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t see this movie. There’s nothing in it for you. But the part of that reservation I don’t think holds much water is that an Evil Dead film without humor is inherently pointless. While the humor and personality of the originals is what gave them a wider appeal, I think it’s worth remembering that the original Evil Dead film was not funny. The original Evil Dead was an attempt to create an extreme gore film. That attempt was eventually subverted when the original filmmakers’ sense of humor and distinct personality proved impossible to suppress, steering the films in an, admittedly, much more worthwhile direction. (Not to mention the third film, Army of Darkness, and Bruce Campbell’s increasingly hammy public persona permanently softening the reputation of a series of films that had previously been primarily known for the original’s X rating and being highly controversial in England.) But the new Evil Dead is an attempt to deliver on that original promise of unadulterated, grueling terror. And true to the original intent of the series, it is gruesome, repulsive, and shocking. Depending on whether or not you’d consider that last sentence to be a mark against or for the film, you will either hate or be thrilled by it.

I don’t mean to imply that the new Evil Dead is completely devoid of personality. Its demented supernatural elements and the over-the-top nature of the gore imbue it with some character, although much less than Sam Raimi’s direction and Bruce Campbell’s performance injected into the originals.

The writing is also, for a movie of this caliber, surprisingly competent. The character work is half good and a clever plot device, namely that the protagonist experiencing withdrawal from a severe cocaine addiction, manages to finally find a reasonable excuse for keeping the kids at the cabin way past when shit starts getting weird.

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