Bitching about remakes seems to have become a regular conversational piece at the local press screenings: do we need them? Which one is next? When will it end? I do not object to remakes of bad movies, but when Hollywood attempts to mess with a beloved classic…well that’s where I draw the line.
A group of young adults head to a log cabin retreat in the wilderness, but little to their knowledge, they unwittingly summon a demonic force after reading from the Necronomicon (or the Book of the Dead). It is now a game of survival, and the naive visitors are dropping like flies to the influence of the book.
It’s a little hard to figure out exactly who should see Evil Dead, unlike the original schlock horror that was filled with old school scares and off the wall comedy, the tone of the remake is notably serious and absurdly violent, seriously its so violent it should be given a separate warning label. So I suppose that fans of the Saw franchise would get the most out of Evil Dead. If you’re a fan of the original, this new re-imagining sets itself apart rather drastically so be prepared for an film that lacks the charm of the original but at least carries the Raimi stamp of approval (which is beginning to feel less and less relevant by the day)
The Bottom Line
I was having a discussion with a local film critic about The Evil Dead remake, in fact I think we’ve been having the same discussion for the past year. As we are both fans of Sam Raimi and to a larger extent, his Evil Dead series, We always found ourselves in agreement over the opinion that Evil Dead: The Remake should not exist. Without even having seen the film, we were certain that it not only would fail to capture the essence of the story but also the fact that remaking a classic like Evil Dead is like trying to remake Casablanca - it is not a question of whether it can be done, but whether it should be done. I mean seriously, what would Evil Dead be without the legendary Bruce Campbell as Ash.
Admittedly, I am more a fan of the sequel to Evil Dead - commonly known as Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn - because it shows the maturity of the young Raimi as he hones his skills as a filmmaker and a writer of horror/comedy. And that is where the real difference comes in - the remake lacks humour and to lesser extent, charm. This is an Evil Dead for the current generation of cinemagoers that indulge in what Rowan has termed Torture Porn, a twisted genre where audiences indulge in the pain and trauma of characters receiving severe wounds to their person for shock value…and when it comes to shock, Evil Dead holds no punches back - this film may possibly be one of the goriest spectacles that I have ever had to sit through. I pride myself on my iron-clad gag reflex, but Evil Dead can lay claim to unsettling my stomach.
I suppose the real question however is can Evil Dead stand on its own, or does it merely stand in the shadow of the original? Evil Dead is a stylish slasher horror that looks like a Sam Raimi movie even if the legendary filmmaker operated as an execute producer, it is different enough from the original to warrant a viewing, but only if you either have no problem with excessive violence or if you are a fan with no expectations. The performances are forgettable at the best of times, most of the cast are newcomers to the film industry, but they are convincing for all intents and purposes.
Evil Dead may be an unneeded remake, but at least it defines itself from the original, because honestly, it doesn’t even hold a candle to it. The justification behind the film is nothing more than a scheme to take advantage of the cult status of the original, but I am thankful that Raimi was at least present to ensure that the film doesn’t turn into one of the more recent Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street releases. Fede Alvarez may be a young gun for such a beloved franchise, but he builds enough tension and exhibits a unique style that makes Evil Dead one of the more tolerable remakes, even if it is completely unnecessary.
My big question is, when do we get to see Evil Dead 4?