Evil Dead (2013) Review
Director: Fede Alvarez
Cast Headliner: Jane Levy
Cast Headliner: Jane Levy
Original Release Date: April 5th, 2013
Horror films are entwined with the idea of “risk.” Indeed the characters risk their lives against supernatural or earthly but twisted horrors. But even more so, the risk is of the movie being good or bad. There is a thin line between “quality” and “mediocrity”. A few select horror movies are good films overall, good when compared to any genre. Most ride that line, being fun in a cheesy way. And unfortunately, some are in a pit of trash. Luckily, Evil Dead is one of those quality films.
This version is very much based on the 1981 Sam Raimi-created one. As in that one, five young people spend time in a creaky cabin in a forest. This time the group is David (an average a joe as one can be), his girlfriend Natalie, his old friends Eric and Olivia, and his sister Mia (Jane Levy). This 2013 premise is much darker, because turns out that Mia is a cocaine addict. What would certainly make for an interesting movie situation by itself is extremely worsened up by the arrival of demons from an ancient book. The movie then descends onto a downhill rollercoaster into an ocean of blood and guts.
This is one of the goriest films I have ever seen, EVER. This adds to the horror and tension, making the viewer gripping their seat tight at they are on the edge of it every moment to the end. There are many twists in Evil Dead, and the plot is smartly handled with great pacing and surprises. There are not many jump scares, the horror comes from the fact that the film itself seems to be demonically possessed. The special effects appear unsettlingly realistic, and the score is great. An impressive scene is when, to quote 80’s metal band Slayer, “raining blood from a lacerated sky.” That’s not even the bloodiest thing of this movie. I’d also like to note some very crisp direction and homages to the original by Fede Alvarez.
The highlight of this film is the grim tension and gore, but what of its soul? It mostly lacks one, but I feel that helps in its effect. Jane Levy is pretty decent as Mia, who surprisingly was a villain for well most of the film. I’ll just say she redeems her terrible acts by the end. She’s thrillingly scary in her demonic form, and makes you feel bad when going she’s through drug addiction issues. However, I found the supporting cast to be mostly “meh” in both character development and acting. David, the sort of-Ash Williams of this movie (although his Mia has been given half that role as deutrogonist) is not very interesting. He’s sort of a dunce (at first), and I literally put my palm to my face when he barely reacted to the news that his sister overdosed and heart-deaded recently. Also, his girlfriend and Olivia the other girl are barely involved in the film before their….turn. Luckily, Eric is a decent character but everyone else is sort of forgettable. This is interesting, because another review mentioned this as one of the major horror films in a “post-Cabin in the Woods world.” I loved that movie because it went beyond just horror, putting in some charming characters and smart comedy into the Evil Dead formula. This film doesn’t have those things, which to a non-horror fan makes me wish it did.
But, that’s not what Evil Dead is about. Its motive is to deliver a gory horror experience, and that it does. Fans of the original trilogy have no need to worry, as the quality and fun is right up there with it. There is actually way more gross gore and scares than those, or most other films in this genre, have ever had. A quality time that delivers on the promises it was trying to spread, and opens up exciting possibilities as to what Mia will do next. 8.1 out of 10