Review: Evil Dead



I find remakes to be very interesting, even if mostly unnecessary. When Hollywood decides to tell a story made immortal decades ago, adapting it to a modern audience, it is not unnusual for the result to lost the original movie’s essency – also ignoring it’s technical achievements by using excessive work of cheap CGI effects. Luckily, uruguayan director Fede Alvarez understands what made Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead so special, and makes his own Evil Dead one of the finest remakes to date.

The plot sticks to the same premise as the 1981 movie, with only s few modifications smartly used for the narrative’s sake. We now have a group of five young people that host on a cabin in the woods looking not for a good time, but for help when one of them needs a detoxification after a deadly overdose (exorcising your inner demons, how appropriate). While exploring the place and it’s hidden chambers, they discover a mysterious book that releases demoniac spirits, possessing them the one by one.

Surely contributing to this Evil Dead‘s sucess is the close presence of the original movie’s producers (as well as director Sam Raimi and leading star Bruce Campbell) on the project’s development. Alvarez nods to Raimi’s movie with elegant tricks, such as wisely using some specific audio files (listen carefully to a demon screaming “one by one we will take you!“) and the iconic first person shot running through the woods. There is also the obligatory chainsaw, necklaces’ chains shaping a skull and a lot of small references guaranteed to please hardcore fans.

But if the case was to merely copy the original, this 2013 version wouldn’t be worth the ticket. In his feature film debut, Fede Alvarez shows a keen eye for creative shots (and Aaron Morton’s cinematography is impeccable by showing dark evironments with limited light sources and the scenes dominated by a ghastly, sinister white fog) and also an inteligent approach to the creation of suspense: in several scenes we realize that the usual jump scare could easily be used to provoke the audience, by Alvarez chooses the prolongated tension – exacerbated by Roque Baños dense score (that constantly features a disturbing noise similar to an evacuation alarm). For that reason, the movie doesn’t scare that much, it prefers to shock the audience with it’s galons and galons of fake blood mercilessly splashed through mutilations, vomits and even an imaginative “rain” of the liquid. Very important to remind that Alvarez used a lot of practical effects, leaving CGI effects to a minimum – and you can see the difference.

As mentioned on the second paragraph, the movie brings modifications in the plot the work surprisely well. The whole cycle of drug-addict Mia (Suburgatory‘s adorable Jane Levy) is perfectly placed within the supernatural context, since the young woman’s early experiences with demons and rapist trees are seen as “a side effect from her abstinence”, an argument that sounds less cliché then the usual ceticism. However, if the eficient transposition works, Rodo Sayagues and Alvarez’s script (with an uncredited revision from Juno writer Diablo Cody) doesn’t even try to make us care with the supporting characters, and expect us to not care when bringing an absurd solution to the fate of one them – sounding a bit like “how/why didn’t they tried this earlier?”.

With a conclusion that takes the franchise’s trash spirit by the core, Evil Dead is a remake potentially able to please fans of the original movie as well as a new generation. The result is so inventive, that there are even ways to connect this movie’s storyline with Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Keep your eyes wide open.

Obs: Apart from an audio narration from the original movies, there is a short scene after the credits. Fans will love it, but non-fans will be very confused.

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