Director: Fede Alvarez
Written by: Fede Alvarez (screenplay), Diablo Cody (screenplay)
Starring: Jane Levy | Shiloh Fernandez | Jessica Lucas
Synopsis: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.
I have to admit that I was a bit scared to watch this film. In fact, I attempted to talk myself out of seeing it a few times but realized that the trailer had made this film almost a right of passage for horror films this year. While the trailer may have hyped up the scare factor for me, this film did not disappoint in the horror realm.
If you’ve seen Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead then you pretty much know the plot of this film. This remake takes those plot elements and then adds some of its own to make the film a bit more believable and add some deeper character connections. This of course makes the film a little less witty compared to the original. The wit isn’t completely gone, there are a few moments that attempt to bring about a smile in between the shock and gore, but with less wit comes a more serious film which drives the scare factor up. The scare factor is what drives this plot (as it should) because with this genre the plot is usually simple and simplicity is what makes the audience attach and understand quickly so that their attention is focused on the scare. Although I understood the purpose for the simplicity of the plot, it was still very predictable. I could tell which characters were going to die at certain moments, what was coming when they looked back into a mirror or heard a strange noise, and how the film would begin and end regardless of knowing what I knew about the original film. The stupidity of the characters was almost comical and that was most likely the intention. Speaking words that have a warning to not be spoken, thinking your friend has a strange disease (rather than possession) and wanting to stay rather than leaving, and not thinking to pick up a weapon until the last minute are things that most people would be able to reason through. Of course stupidity is what gets most people into these situations, I just had a hard time believing that there was no common sense among the group.
My favorite element of the film was the cinematography. A dreary and silent setting was beautifully depicted scene by scene which paved the way for horrifically abrupt moments and an eerie story. While many of the scenes are stereotypical for a horror film, the use of grays and dark greens blend well together to make a believable yet artistic depiction of an eerie cabin in the woods. The setting was depicted so well that I could almost smell what they were smelling, hear what they are hearing, and feel what they are feeling, which grabbed my attention more than any other element in the film. I could feel the rot in the wood as they stepped down the stairs, I could hear the silence of the isolated cabin, and could smell the putrid smells of the dead from the way the scenes were presented. The visuals were a lot more creepy than the story which was unexpected. I was expecting the creepy possessed sister to be the most frightening element which was creepy, but not as scary as I anticipated.
Judging this film compared to films across all genres would leave this film lacking, but it excels in the horror genre. While the plot is simple and the setting is familiar, it is also somewhat nostalgic by using these typical elements and building upon them with other horror stereotypes. Although I have a strong stomach, the gore may be a little excessive for most. It’s not the most realistic prosthetic and gore work that I’ve seen, but the moments leading up to it create an anticipation that slowly makes you cringe as it happens making the reality of the situation more real in your mind than it is on the screen. This isn’t just a startling film, it’s an unsettling concept with a ton of gore that will make your stomach turn. If you like horror films, then this is definitely one for you, but if you don’t enjoy this genre and are looking for a film with a lot of substance, then I suggest you steer clear. Oh and for the original Evil Dead fans, make sure you stay past the credits.
Evil Dead – 7.0 out of 10.
A must see for fans of the original and horror-philes