“… a very solid attempt to bring The Evil Dead to modern audiences.”
Being a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise, last night I finally got around to watching the 2013 reboot Evil Dead. Now I had heard fairly positive things about this reboot so I went into it with an open mind. The film is about a group of friends who decide to stay at an old family cabin to help one of the friends, Mia, get over an addiction. Of course they find the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and accidentally (though that could be debated) unleash evil spirits that poses and terrorize the group.
So like I said, I went into this film with an open mind and it took a while for me to get invested. I guess it came down to my immediate dislike of remakes (it’s a habit that I’m trying to kick), but I was finding a lot of issues with the beginning of the film. Looking back, those issues were minuscule and honestly not even worth describing. When the film started to get into things, I started to become invested. What I found was a very solid attempt to bring The Evil Dead to modern audiences. Of course some things had to be changed, mainly due to the ever-changing horror genre, but I thought that most of the changes were alright. Of course, I’m a piece of shit and I like to see the bad in the world, so let’s talk about the things that I didn’t like.
The first change I noticed was with the Deadites. Now Deadite is just terminology for someone who is possessed in the Evil Dead world. The first thing I noticed about the Deadites in Evil Dead was that they seem to be a lot more vulgar than I remember. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is just different. It was very reminiscent of The Exorcist, and it initially caught me off guard, but ultimately I think that it was alright change. The look of the Deadites is different as well. This will merge seamlessly into my next point, but honestly they looked more like zombies. Instead of the classic sunken-eye, pronounced brow look, what we got was very generic and frankly disappointing. To go along with this none of the deadites actually fucking spoke. Despite the one in the basement who would add colour commentary every once in a while , these Deadites actually just behaved like zombies that could use tools. Again, this was disappointing because it took its source material and just kind of made it less unique.
The human characters weren’t much better, most of them being the stereotypes that horror films have set up before. This wasn’t so much of a problem, except for the character of David. David is Mia’s brother, and given the exposition we can assume that they are not the best-of-terms. This adds an interesting relationship between the characters, or should I say that “it should have added…”, the only thing that scared me during the beginning of the film was that David’s paper-thin character would float away if anyone exhaled too hard. I mean he looked disinterested most of the film which really took me out of the experience. The character of Eric, besides being a complete fucking idiot by seeking out the magic words from the Necronomicon, was apparently made of pure steel because that fucker just would not go down. I know that the film wasn’t really meant to be a comedy but I couldn’t help but laugh whenever Eric would show up after seemingly being dead for a good 20 minutes. The other characters were just kind of there honestly. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t really get another Ash Williams out of this film, like I’m sure many executives were hoping we would.
Story-wise I appreciate that this was a different take on a similar situation, as opposed to being a carbon-copy. I also appreciate that there were many nods to the original film, without pandering to the audience. One change that was interesting to me was the fact that the Necronomicon was literally an instruction manual this time around. I mean there was no mystery at all, that thing, despite being in another (dead) language, was not an obstacle at all for the characters to figure out. This makes it all the worse that it was read from in the first place.
And finally, the effects. The Evil Dead franchise is known now to be a hyper-violent take on the horror genre, and this film definitely delivered on that. There was one instance (again, during the beginning of the film) that showcased some god-awful CGI, but luckily that was not a sign of things to come. What we got was a solid gore-fest that payed adequate homage to the original film in terms of the fucked-up shit that happens. Practical effects were used very well, and CGI was used sparingly and discreetly enough that it was difficult to notice.
Ultimately Evil Dead (2013) does not hold a candle to its original counterpart, but it does put in a good effort.
I give Evil Dead (2013) a B