Evil Dead (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2013) – Five friends discover The Book of the Dead and awakens the dormant demons from the woods.
Returning for more blood, The Evil Dead promises more gruesome than groovy carnage.
“The most terrifying film you will ever experience”? I don’t think so. No one, not even Romero himself, can recreate the genuine fear I felt when I was twelve and easily susceptible to the Day of the Dead. Even so, that oversell can hardly deter a huge Evil Dead fan from witnessing the deeds of the book once more.
Reliving the Kubrick-esque drive down the winding road, the new Evil Dead soon veers off to a rather different set-up. Instead of taking time off at a casual weekend retreat, the gang gathers at the remote cabin for a purposeful rehabilitation effort in helping Mia kick her drug habit.
An unwitting chant of the Book of the Dead’s incantation soon summons the start of an inescapable nightmare. Because all it takes is that one dunce who does not recognise evil when he sees it, before it all goes to hell.
The company settling in may be a fresh group, but the cabin could very well be the same one that Ash and friends had found themselves trapped in. Familiarity creeps up when the woods attack and a Deadite peers through the cellar’s trap door.
Director Fede Alvarez gives nods like these to Sam Raimi’s original, while steering clear of complete mimicry. He keeps his directorial debut fresh with a few surprises, some dramatic elements, and a constant false trail of the Ash successor for fans to look forward to.
Being in an advantageous position with a much bigger budget, this new take shapes up to be a memorable one in the gore department – updated, gritty and unabashedly violent. Violence regrettably overwhelms the suspense, and that is ultimately what destroys the hyperbole claim.
The Deadites entirely abandons the dread-filled chuckle for forgettable bloody antics and insipid lines. Gore springs on the squeamish by going further than the nasty pencil in the ankle and exploding flesh, but none of that carnage is especially novel.
Successive possession rituals start to feel generic and tedious, allowing attention to waver as bodies hit the floor. They will not be missed very much, for the underwritten ones blend into the walls and only resurface when they turn bloodthirsty.
Thankfully, the nightmare’s epilogue pulls you right back in when the group is down to one. The immense production looks outstanding as blood rains by the bucketful (50,000 gallons reportedly), before The Abomination finally rises to the whirring of the much awaited, iconic chainsaw. Whoever holds it is for you to find out, though I can safely say Ash remains unmatched as the King.
Don’t be too eager to leave before the credits end, for patience begets a brief bonus that is very pleasant indeed. Return to Army of Darkness please, Bruce?