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article imageReview: 'Evil Dead' is your greatest fear realized Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Apr 4, 2013 in Entertainment
'Evil Dead' is a remake of a 1981 cult favorite of the same name about a group of friends that battle ancient evil during a weekend getaway.
The Evil Dead franchise is almost sacred to fans of Ash and the Deadites. Campy, gory and sometimes scary, the series has never been matched. So when rumors of a remake surfaced, there were few exclamations of joy. But it had the blessing of writer/director Sam Raimi and Bruce "Don't call me Ash" Campbell, so Evil Dead (2013) had earned at least a watch.
David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) have returned to David's family's neglected cabin in the woods to help his sister Mia (Jane Levy) through detox as she attempts to quit heroin cold turkey. But a persistent stench leads to a grisly discovery in the cellar. While Mia struggles with her addiction, Eric examines a mysterious and clearly dangerous book found amongst the horror below the house. He then unwittingly unleashes an evil that none of them came prepared to battle.
Where Raimi's film was low-budget entertainment, this picture attempts to replace the camp with funded terror. Writer/director Fede Alvarez's decision to make the horror serious removes the most enjoyable element of the original. Instead of a group of friends looking to unwind, the story begins with an execution and addiction. It looked more like a scene from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Furthermore, because it's trying to transition from a humorous source, there are several unintentionally funny moments due to the comparison. In the end, the remake turns a genre classic ordinary by making it another run-of-the-mill, bloody cabin movie
A picturesque aerial shot of a jeep travelling down a road lined by forests transitions to less impressive jeep commercial. Fortunately, since the original never really lacked in creepy demons, rather than try to reinvent the monster they simply polish the rough edges. Alvarez also mimics the invisible force racing through the woods towards the house as the words are read from the book. Though the physical manifestation resulting in the first possession replaces a key event and does not have the same effect.
Additionally, a significant difference between the two plots changes the audience's relationship with the characters. Other than the common sense that a book bound in human skin probably isn't good news, Ash had no idea what he was reading. Eric, on the other hand, ignores multiple warnings and purposely disobeys them. It's difficult to root for characters who seal their own fate. Though it’s somewhat amusing to watch them repeatedly have to pull pointy things out of themselves.
Rather than capitalize on Raimi's successes, Alvarez beats them into the ground. Where one character loses his hand, multiple injuries are inflicted to several people's upper body appendages. It's overkill and boring.
The worst affront was saved for the end – when it wouldn't. A ridiculous plan works, representing the movie's first conclusion. An extension that includes a sacrificial act equals yet another close. These false endings are incredibly damaging to the narrative. By the time it reaches the final scenes, the impression that it's dragging things out is overwhelming.
Conversely, the picture's overall impression is forgettable.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez and Jessica Lucas
More about evil dead, Fede Alvarez, Sami Raimi, Shiloh Fernandez, Elizabeth Blackmore
 
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