subscribe: Posts | Comments

Evil Dead – Movie Review

Comments Off on Evil Dead – Movie Review

Evil Dead – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

[youtube id=”lWG_w5w8ZLs” width=”620″ height=”360″]

When remaking a beloved horror film, how does a filmmaker present his own take on the material, while also keeping the spirit of the original? Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy has been watched over and over again by its cult fanbase and Bruce Campbell’s Ash is one of the most iconic heroes of the horror genre. Those are some massive shoes to fill and while new director Fede Alvarez does not quite reach the same level, he still manages to present a solid version with a new and respectable feeling. For this remake, he has made a fun splatter flick that also manages to be quite tense.

Ever since The Cabin in the Woods brilliantly skewered horror genre clichés last year, it has been difficult to watch a horror film since then. That includes Evil Dead, but it thankfully does add a touching human element that allows it to rise above typical Dead Teenager Movies. At center stage is Jane Levy’s Mia, a recovering drug addict, whose continuing frustration is evident and you can sympathise with her emotional reactions. This is further aided by her brother, who is stuck with caring for his sister’s habit and subsequently, given the ultimate test when she is possessed. This dilemma is actually sweetly portrayed, even when Mia’s demonic face is throwing obscenities at him. Jane Levy, in particular, is fantastic in both regular and demon form. In the latter, she launches herself into the character and has a lot of fun, while caked under the incredible makeup. Evil Dead is at its most enjoyable, whenever Levy is on screen, to the point of wishing the rest of the film became just as nuts as she did.

Speaking of the makeup, C.J. Goldman’s work on transforming Mia into the demon is good enough to warrant comparison to Dick Smith’s revolutionary makeup in The Exorcist. She becomes an entirely different character and the slow and detailed transition to demon instantly brings to mind what happened with Linda Blair in that horror classic. The practical special effects utilised in Evil Dead are incredible, showing an impressive craft and while I am somebody who finds computer generated effects to be an amazing artform, it is refreshing to see a major studio production make use of classic techniques. The way arms are ripped apart, Mia transforms on-camera and a tree comes alive to assault her leaves one to wonder how they put all of these effects together.

This includes the massive amounts of blood and gore that is sprayed in every nook and cranny. Those with a weak stomach for gore will probably not last very long in the screening, as Alvarez never stops. So much fake blood is used, that the entire climax fills the screen with red and it is surprisingly effective, since he pushes the audience’s gag level with multiple shots that will leave people squirming. However, gore is not scary and so Evil Dead proves to be more disgusting than actually frightening. In this horror film, disgusting cuts and bruises provide more of a reaction than cheap jump-cuts, which Alvarez holds back on. His biggest accomplishment with the fright level in Evil Dead is how he builds tension in many different scenes. Since we know danger is around the corner, he paces things delicately and thus, the heart gets pumping more and more until the big reveals.

One element that is missing in this Evil Dead is a presence like Ash. While Mia is an interesting character, she does spend most of her screen time in possessed form. Shiloh Fernandez gives a good performance as the lead male character, but he does not hold the charm and presence that Bruce Campbell holds in every role and certainly not as memorable. On the other hand, this is an entirely new take on Evil Dead and Alvarez deserves some credit for not rehashing the material in the same way. However, some clever homages to the original are thrown in, like the quick zoom-in camera movements and shots of that famous chainsaw. Fans of the original should also stick through the end credits for a special treat.

Evil Dead is not as good as the original trilogy, but in keeping the tradition and splatter of Raimi’s films, it deserves to sit alongside them. Fede Alvarez does a commendable job on his first feature film and if he moves to more original projects, he has a bright future ahead of him. This Evil Dead is a gory, squirmy and altogether, fun remake that does not embarrass itself in trying to capture the bloody icon that is the original.

Review By: Stefan Ellison

THE SCENE

Evil Dead

Evil Dead

THE SCENE


Page 507 of 545« First...102030...505506507508509...520530540...Last »