As a huge horror fan, I am immediately skeptical on remakes. However, when I heard of the cult classic Evil Dead being remade, I was pretty excited. The original is one of my favorite films and even had some of the original cast and crew involved in it. It seemed promising.,.. but I was DEAD wrong.
Much like the original, the setting for this film was in an old cabin in the woods. It differs with the reason of the group being in the woods. In the original, the group of 20-somethings are there for recreation and relaxation but in the remake, directed by Fede Alvarez, the group is there to support Mia (Jane Levy) in kicking her drug habit. Much like the original, the group includes Mia, her 2 friends Eric(Lou Taylor Pucci) and Oliva (Jessica Lucas), her brother David (Shiloh Ferandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). Mia and her brother have a very turbulent history (wow, how shocking) so when David shows up, it’s a revelation for Mia. Unlike the original, the cabin in the remake is not a random cabin, it is one that has been in the family for years. After they arrive, things start to go downhill.
The cabin is not what Mia and David remember, in fact, it’s in terrible shape. The group assumes teenagers have taken it’s toll on the place but when they smell a foul stench coming from the basement, they discover something completely different. It appears that whoever occupied the cabin before was into some type of witchcraft and the remainder of their ceremonies (which included animal sacrifices) were left behind. What’s also left behind is a strange package that is wrapped in a garbage bag and barbed wire. They try to clean up and ignore the previous tenants and move on with their goal.
Olivia warns David that this is not Mia’s first time at the rodeo. Mia has tried to sober up before and gave up midway through. This time, they make a vow to not give in to her instability with the withdrawal symptoms and see the whole process through. In the meantime, Eric has opened up the book, read the content and unknowingly unleashed something beyond their wildest nightmares and as predicted, Mia freaks out (due to her withdrawal symptoms), steals a car and disappears in the woods where she begins to see the consequences of Eric’s actions.
Let me be completely honest here, if you’ve ever seen the original you know that this is where s%^t hits the fan. The book Eric was reading out of was the necronomicon (book of the dead) and anyone who reads this book is pretty much doomed. Eric reading out of the book has released something unnatural and it has “attached to Mia’s soul like a leech.” This is about where the interesting parts end.
It saddens me to say that the film had no real plot besides that I described to you. After they discover that Mia is possessed, it’s gratuitous gore and blood the rest of the film. If that’s what you look for in a horror film, then you’re all set, but if you’re looking for something with a better plot, I’d look elsewhere.
The original that made Bruce Campbell a household name was meant to be a serious horror film, but gained notoriety by being so campy and so cheaply made that it was good. This film was suppose to be a serious horror film and actually got decent reviews from critics, but I can’t honestly understand why. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who originally wrote, directed and starred in the original, were producers on this effort and fully supported it and said it was great. Once again, I can’t understand why. My husband says I’m not fully satisfied with the remake of Evil Dead because I am too attached to the original, but honestly, I think it’s more than that. The original set a standard. A standard that made the original (and its sequels) legendary in the cult classic and horror categories. Yes, they had gratuitous violence in them too but still had enough substance to keep you entertained and interested. With the remake, once the possessions start, the whole film becomes a gore and blood fest and to top it off, the ending could be considered a ‘happy ending.” WHO ACTUALLY LIKES A HAPPY ENDING IN A HORROR FILM?!
My overall opinion is as a separate entity, the 2013 version of Evil Dead is better than most films in this genre nowadays, but compared to the original, it doesn’t hold up in the eyes of this fan. Decide for yourself. It’s in theaters now.
Written by: Katie Sperduti