Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013) – A Second Opinion
The original film The Evil Dead is not necessarily a great film in every sense of the word. It’s fun and I absolutely enjoy it but the legacy that film leaves is not really the film itself but the filmmaking style and personality that went into making it and its lead character Ash. The wave of independent films that The Evil Dead inspired is too numerous to count quite frankly. With that being said, when a remake to The Evil Dead was announced I for one thought it was a great idea. A horror film that was not perfect necessarily and has a mythology to it that can be explored in interesting directions; the options were endless.
Instead however, the remake was anything but interesting.
A remake, by definition, is the recreation of something that already exists. This puts remakes at an immediate disadvantage that most other films don’t have to face. Remakes can’t simply skate by, they must feel fresh, new, inspired. If they don’t and instead they retread the previous territory of the original, then the remake is pointless and boring and immediately fails. This is why remakes like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and so forth have failed but remakes like Dawn of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes and John Carpenter’s The Thing succeeded. The failures simply repeated the same scenes, the same formula while the successes took the basic idea from the original films they were remaking and then took off in an interesting and new direction. Evil Dead, the remake, falls into the failure category.
The film is just not interesting in any way shape or form. It’s boring and since it does nothing new, it’s predictable as well. You could literally take a checklist out of every interesting/memorable thing from The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 and as the remake goes along you’ll find yourself checking things off. These moments in the remake are homages, they are direct rip-offs and scenes lifted from the original films. Sometimes a homage works in the remake but it’s only when something is shown in passing, a majority of the time however direct scenes are lifted and simply redone. Except this time they are done with much less interesting characters.
In the original The Evil Dead, everyone was basically cannon fodder sure but they were interesting cannon fodder with personalities. In the remake, you get a brief conversation at the beginning that basically goes “he works at a body shop, he’s a teacher, she’s a nurse, she’s a drug addict” and that’s it. I’m not asking for rich and deep characters in an Evil Dead movie but something that comes across a little more than just half-assed would be nice. Adding to this is seeing the characters in action, which makes them all distinctly unlikeable. Everyone’s either a jerk to everyone else, a coward or dead. No one here exhibits a likeable personality whatsoever. The only performance worth noting is Jane Levy’s, who won’t blow your socks off but she definitely stands out amongst all the other crap.
Technically the movie is pretty good however. The gore effects are fantastic, the violence is brutal and the score isn’t amazing but works really well. The gore and violence however, no matter how good it is, doesn’t make this movie good. Horror is not simply about violence and unfortunately that is the only card this remake has to play. It tries to get a pass solely on its gore and gross-out factor but it lacks any suspense or tension. Well, if you’ve never seen a horror movie then you might find suspense somewhere in the film perhaps. The cinematography alternates between being either gray or just plain dark. The director of the remake, Fede Alvarez, brings absolutely nothing new to the table either. He either points the camera at things or directly rips off camera shots and movement from Sam Raimi. There is no distinct flavor or personality to his direction at all.
The only real moment the movie shines is in the last 10 minutes. The last 10 minutes is pure chaos and is everything I hoped an Evil Dead remake could be. Unfortunately you have to get through 80 boring and uninteresting minutes to get there.
Overall, this is simply another example of another poorly executed remake. It’s hardcore with its violence and gore to be sure and that seems to be the main reason people are giving this a pass. However this movie does the exact same thing every Platinum Dunes remake has done basically but the only difference is there’s no Platinum Dunes logo before the film starts. Maybe that’s why people are giving this a pass. For my money though this is a pointless remake and a pointless film in general. No amount of gore or violence can overcome how boring, tedious and recycled it feels.