Filled to the brim with practical gore effects that have been missing from most of the modern day horror films, Evil Dead delivers on all of its promises.
The theater was mostly packed. Each seat filled with either a good pack of film nerds and cinefiles, while others were holding your casual horror film crowd. Everyone knows the casual horror film crowd. They shout “Don’t go in there,” “You’re so stupid,” and our theater’s case, “America! Fuck Yeah!” I hated every second of our crowd, but it made some of the scarier scenes that much more effective, because the crowd would go dead silent. At that moment, you knew Fede Alvarez had struck a chord.
It’s been thirty years since Raimi first introduced Ash to the film world. His original The Evil Dead stands the test of time due to its visceral nature and DIY exuberance. It is not a film that will ever be forgotten and, for once, its remake didn’t feel like an attempt to erase it from our memories.
The film has a basic premise. Four friends join up with Mia (Jane Levy) as she attempts to kick her drug habit for the umpteenth time. Every other attempt has ended up with Mia giving up and ODing, so they all figure “why not go into a creepy cabin in the middle of nowhere. That’ll do the trick.” With nothing else to do, the friends decide to navigate the premises and stumble upon an ancient book we would all know as the Necronomicon. Demons are unleashed, bad shit happens. It is your basic plot.
With the exception of a few scenes, we are getting a largely original piece of work. All the while, you get the sense of a true admiration of the original. If you are familiar with the Raimi trilogy, you will have a lot of Easter eggs to mull over.
The best part? THE GORE. The way everyone is killed off becomes increasingly inventive from reel to reel to the point where you seriously do not know what is going to happen next. Levy gives a solid performance, as I knew she would. I knew her as Mandy from Showtime’s Shameless while most people will recognize her from Suburgatory. Matching her with ability is Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric). Both characters also have the privilege of being fully realized on screen and on the page.
The other characters were serviceable. No one was there to win an academy award, but I just never got comfortable with Shiloh Fernandez (David). He was just too typical for a film like Evil Dead. Some of you may not agree with me.
Final words. Stay for the credits (I unfortunately didn’t, but I know what happens and I’m pissed at myself). Get ready for the bloodiest wide release in some time. Forgive your awful audience. If they were not sitting next to you, we may not get anything else quite like this film. Trust me, they are literally scared out of their wits.
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.