Friday, August 23, 2013

Evil Dead (2013): Why this remake is so DEAD but not EVIL

In the much anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film, five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
Directed by:  Fede Alvarez (his first feature film)
Screenplay by:  Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues, Diablo Cody (for polishing)
Starring:  Jane Levy (Mia), Shiloh Fernandez (David), Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric), Jessica Lucas (Olivia), Elizabeth Blackmore (Natalie)
Running Time:  92 mins

"The most terrifying film you will ever experience."

That's actually the most deceitful movie tagline of all time -- and I'm not amused. Using a gazillion gallons of fake blood is not terrifying. A deadite basically knocked-off from The Exorcist isn't terrifying. A series of quick "scary inserts" and loud sound effects supposedly meant to make the viewers jump off their seats isn't terrifying. Lots of severed limbs and vomiting isn't terrifying. NO. NO. NO! Not one bit in this movie is terrifying! 

Okay, I'm not at all a biased reviewer. So let me start with the good points. First of all, the cinematography/photography & lighting is really good. It definitely has that eerie atmosphere fit for a horror movie, and there are great shots that add to the visual quality of the film. But then again, there's a shot somewhere which greatly reminded me of The Walking Dead, is that a good or bad thing? I don't really know, but it makes it less special.  Secondly, it's really nice to see a movie which utilizes practical effects rather than an overload of CGI (that to me is the bane of today's film industry), which is also a nostalgic nod to the Raimi original. Third, is the smart decision not to do a FULL REMAKE of the original. Alvarez did a slightly different take on the story and mood, and that to me is his advantage - because seriously, who could ever replace Bruce Campbell or remake the original Evil Dead? 

So now, please let me compare just a little bit & tell you what makes the original ED (1 & 2) 10x better than this hugely disappointing 2013 remake. 

Mood. So the humor is gone. I get it, no biggie. I wouldn't even complain about that one because it's actually a good idea to see a serious Evil Dead film. But then again if you're gonna remove the humor which made the original trilogy what it is right now, PLEASE, put something that's gonna make the remake stand out. This remake is just boring. Plain and simple. Dull, boring, not scary, not even cringe-worthy. 


Cast/Characters. Bruce Campbell alone will swallow all the souls of the remake's cast. Two out of five are as wooden as that plank where the original bitch was burnt. So that leaves us with three more goofy characters. David (Fernandez) is stupid okay? He hears his sister telling him to come down the basement so she could suck his lollipop and all he can say is "Mia?" Who do you think it is down there? Would you prefer if it was Eric who said that? lol. Next is our Loreal guy Eric (Pucci) with the nice hair and geeky aura. So he's the "academe" in the group. Wow. Amazing. He's also the cause of all the gore-fest nightmare we've seen because he's too stupid or "academic" to ignore the page by page warnings he saw. Lastly, we have Mia (Levy) which gave a better performance than the rest, but still not enough charm to carry a movie like Bruce Campbell did. Obviously, I don't like all the characters because they're as stupid as garden gnomes, and so underdeveloped that I really don't care whether they die or not. To be honest, I wanted all of them to die halfway thru the film. 

Script/Lines.  Script is cringe-worthy. Several times, it made me wonder if they were meant to be funny or what. It's just so painful to hear these actors talk. Please let me quote Eric, and I mean it when I say this, "I don't know if you noticed this, but... everything's been getting worse... every second." Uhm yeah, I know. One girl tries to remove half her face then tried to kill Loreal boy, the other was puking blood all over and shouting obscenities to everyone who happens to be nearby, and the other what's-her-face just sawed off her arm. Thanks, Captain Obvious. But I can forgive that actually, because obviously, David is too stupid to realize that by himself. Stupid enough to insist that Mia just might be crazy like their mom, or that she somehow caught a virus from the cats. LOL. Nice script!!! Oh and could you please stop going in the basement, for crying out loud! And stick together! Damn the cliches!

I was also looking for the awesome one-liners that I've truly enjoyed in the original movies. Not one GROOVY. Not one TOOLSHED. Not even a bit of CHAINSAW. Of course, it's not wise to copy the original lines, so they made some of their own. And my god, these geniuses. You give me "FEAST ON THIS, MOTHERF----R"? Are you guys for real? Seriously, please give me back Ash!!!! 

The woods scene. Now this is the part where I couldn't keep quiet. Not because I was screaming my lungs out, but because I was horrified to see such an iconic scene from the original being "raped" by Alvarez. The 2013 scene was so blah, I was just sitting there  mentally questioning myself why Sam Raimi would permit his name and legacy to be linked with this atrocity.  The original is actually that one scene which seriously made my heart race and shout at the actress to please run faster. In the remake, I think I was picking at my nose, wondering when Mia would climax.

Deadites. Raimi's Deadites have distintive characteristics which made them all the more interesting. We have the screaming deadite, the laughing one, and the obnoxious one. In 2013, what do we have? A Linda Blair knock-off. Thank you very much, coz we really needed that. -_- NOT. 2013 may have the better materials for make-up and effects, but if you lock Raimi's deadites in the basement with Alvarez' "demons", the deadites will be raping them in hell while laughing so mischievously.

Raimi's Evil Dead, aside from the delightful campy tone and over-the-top acting, is a classic because of it's originality and experimentation. It was something new when it first came out, and even to this day you still see something precious in it. The remake is so generic and unoriginal that it practically swallowed all the horror cliches out there and threw it in this production. There's simply nothing new to see.

Now let's review Evil Dead as a horror movie, not considering that it's a remake, semi-remake, semi-sequel whatever. Is it still a good horror movie? I gauge how scary a horror movie is by how many times I cover my eyes, dread the upcoming scenes, how it traumatizes my soul and hurts all my senses, or how it's so hard for me to pee alone, and how many times I look over my shoulders to check if there's some otherworldly presence watching me. I felt none of that. The whole time I wanted the movie to end because I was damn bored. From the first scene up to the last. Since this is a splatter horror flick, then let's consider the gore. Yes, it's gory, especially made obvious by the veritable fountain of blood. But is it cringe-worthy? I don't know if I'm too old for this or I've seen too much gory movies, but this didn't do anything for me. The only genuine reaction that this movie elicited from me was when Mia was trapped in that small niche and Abomination Mia was plunging that big ass machete or something, hitting Mia in the leg and arm. That's it. Otherwise, the gore was over-the-top it became funny at times, which considering the serious tone they presented to us, I'm sure it's unintentional. There's just too much blood and repetitive crap that after a while there's really no more shock value. 

We also have a bunch of uninteresting characters that I really couldn't care less seeing them getting hacked, bashed, slashed, nail-attacked etc.  Alvarez spent a good chunk of the first act trying to establish an emotional connection with the characters, but they're still so severely underdeveloped. Mia was okay. Now, I'm not saying that Ash and his gang were the epitome of fully fleshed out characters, of course not. But Raimi didn't focus on that, he didn't expect us to invest on the characters' personal lives. He gave us a fun-filled, gory, scary cabin action. 2013, on the other hand, tried to add depth, but failed. It's a wasted opportunity really. They could have just spent the time telling us more about the demon, (no Deadite term referenced at all in this movie) instead of wasting our time making us like characters which are utterly, so painfully unlikeable.

I really really wanted to like this film. So the disappointment was bigger than necessary. Alas, I have to wait for the next one (a Mia-Ash crossover?), hopefully Raimi will be sitting on the director's chair, to satisfy my ED expectations. Seeing Bruce Campbell's chin post-credits, even if it was corny esp. with that stupid sound, made me giddy and nostalgic. 


My Rating: 1.5/5 - I don't like it. I don't hate it. I don't care about it. Those expecting a good remake or just a good horror flick, turn around, this is not it. Unless you enjoy a movie with lots of blood, dismemberment, & stupid characters, then fine. Go ahead, feast on this mother-effer.

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  1. This film is a disaster :) I prefer the original!!! lol

    You are an outstanding writer :)

  2. thanks! and even without comparing it with the original, this movie as a standalone horror flick still sucks. poorly written script, cliched style/material... just blah. not one moment did this movie get me.

  3. Totally agree with your review! It was a terrible remake. Bruce Campbell was so iconic in the first film and I loved the campy humor and the crazy climax, when Ash is basically losing his mind as the demons taunt him. he most disappointing scene is the tree rape scene. In the original, it was terrifying and disturbing, in the remake, it was too quick and dumb. I was expecting a bigger cameo from Bruce in this remake, but all he says is Groovy! Huge let-down. One thing I will say is that the gore effects where pretty impressive, especially the scene where the arm is sawn of with the electric meat knife, and the shower scalding scene really made me cringe. That being said, the remake sucks overall and is very weak when compared to the original film.

    1. I don't know if there will still be a Mia-Ash crossover, but if there is, I just hope it will be at least as entertaining as the original franchise.

      The rape scene is like a spit and slap on the face to the original hahahah I was like wow, do they really think this scene is worthy ?



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