[Review] Evil Dead (2013)
Evil Dead franchise has long been considered as an icon of 80s horror classic. When the likes of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers terrified (or satisfied) audiences with their creepy mask and over-the-top bloody kill, Evil Dead went on a different way. It picked sick and disturbing over gruesome. You’ll find yourself more likely to hide your eyes or cringe as it puts more focus on the process rather than the result.
Remaking the franchise wasn’t an easy task. Plenty of modern horrors may have terrified the audience or made them jump on their seats but very few managed to provide that long “Ewww!” sensation. Up to the task is Mr. Fede Alvarez on the director’s seat. To capture the same spirit that embodies ‘Evil Dead’ and to appeal to this generation’s crowd is Alvarez’s focus duty. And dare I say he’s quite successful in doing so. Well, more or less.
The premise wasn’t much different than the original: five teenagers going into a remote cabin in the woods accidentally found an ancient book filled with demonic symbols and writings and (stupidly) set evil on loose. In the place of Ash from the original, we got Mia and his brother David as the main protagonists. Mia was a junkie who attempted to get over her addiction – a plot device Alvarez used as the trigger which set the whole tragedy into motion. I’d rather say the plot was derivative; we’ve seen this recycled thousand times over, and you won’t see anything new. But to expect some originality in a remake, let alone a horror flick, was just plain dumb. So put your criticism somewhere else.
The usual scare tactics were used excessively, which definitely won’t satisfy any horror purist. And after a while, one can easily spot the next jumpy moments from two miles away. In fact Evil Dead’s greatness lies somewhere else: the disturbing factor. No matter how predictable what happens in the corner, it’s still hard to digest someone slicing off her own cheek with a knife. Or tearing their own limbs apart. To see the result is painful enough, but to witness the whole process as it goes by… That requires a much stronger gut.
Roque Banos’ score also played a pivotal role in intensifying what the audience have already perceived visually. But what makes it more beautiful than it already was is that it served as a cue to what’s coming after. When the melancholic melodies were slowly shifting to a faster, more upbeat tempo, you know they aren’t finished with you.
However the film’s strongest suit was in fact, Jane Levy’s outstanding performance as Mia. Mia has the most complexity of a character, and to say she’s the backbone of the film was an understatement. However it wasn’t so for the rest of the cast. Just like slasher flick, most of them were there merely to up the body count and nothing else.
Evil Dead wasn’t a perfect horror flick. It lacks the originality and the humor that makes the original Evil Dead such a cult classic. But it was rather a tribute to its predecessor and an achievement for Alvarez trying to revive the franchise long abandoned. This generation will see Evil Dead just like how the earlier generation saw Raimi’s Evil Dead: a sick, horrifying, brutal horror flick that will haunt you (at least) for the going home trip.