The Evil Dead
April 18, 2013
In my past years of movie reviewing, those weekends spent, wasted and utterly enjoyed whilst surviving on a diet of popcorn and Coca-cola, of the thousands of movies viewed, previewed and reviewed on the big screen, the film that had the biggest impact on my life was one first glimpsed on the small screen in my parents’ living room. A low-budget, gore filled horror flick that was more dark humor than horror. This would be Sam Raimi’s cult-classic Evil Dead II.
It launched my love of the horror genre, introducing me to my first anti-hero, Ashley J. Williams, (portrayed by B-movie master thespian Bruce Campbell—Hail to the King), for whom my daughter is named after (Ash not Bruce). More importantly it taught me a valuable life lesson: “Evil can be conquered; you just have to speak softly (with heavy sarcasm) and carry a boomstick.” And yes, it fueled my already deep affection for chainsaws.
There are three films in the original Evil Dead series: The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness. What makes this series truly unique is that none of them are sequels. The only consistencies carried through out are the basic story of a group of young people go to a remote cabin in the woods for a weekend outing, the adversary- Demonic forces resurrected by the Necronomicon (book of the dead) and the chainsaw handed, shotgun toting anti-hero Ash. That aside each is basically a retelling of the same tale with an alternative outcome.
In that respect the 2013 remake Evil Dead is actually a collaborative recreation of the original The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, combining elements from both films to retell the same tale with yet another alternative outcome. But is it as good as the originals? Is it even worth watching? Well that all depends on who you are.
The Average Moviegoer: Unless you’re a fan of horror you probably won’t be missing much by not seeing this on the big screen. It’s a dismembering gore-fest strung together on a floating plot line. No one will be nominated for an Oscar here. Wait for it on Red Box and then cringe, jump and be grossed out in the privacy of your own home.
A Fan of the Original: You’ll want to see this on the big screen with Dolby surround sound and all the trimmings. You will enjoy all the little tidbits and homage you spot throughout the film. From the rusted out Delta 88 behind the cabin to the sawed off shotgun. You’ll revel each time you catch a line from the film’s predecessors. But in the end you will walk away disappointed. Adam Long put it best in his review last week, it lacks the dark humor that made the originals so much fun. There is no slap-stick, there are no laugh out loud bits and aside from a post-credits cameo there is no Bruce Campbell. It’s not an actual remake, it’s a complete retelling. But you’ll see it anyway just so you can b**** about it later.
Hard Core, Die Hard, Evil Dead Fans: You own a boomstick and somewhere in your home there is a chainsaw specifically set aside to slay evil. Probably below your Army of Darkness poster. Not only have you seen the originals, you’ve read the scripts. You would watch this film on a 13” B&W screen in hell if you had to. And you would love it! Oh you’ll miss the humor but without Bruce it would just seem stupid anyway. No one else could ever fill Ash’s shoes and sadly you realize and accept that Mr. Campbell is a little too old to play a teenager. Like the regular fans you will catch all the homage but you will note that the entire film is a homage. Every bizarre camera angle, every line, it’s all there. It’s just been thrown in a blender and mixed up with a lot of corn syrup and red food coloring. No it’s nothing like the original but if you wanted to see a perfect remake of the original why not just watch the original? .........................................GROOVY!
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