Evil Dead: The Gory and the Groovy

Movie Review by Philip RearichImage

Rating: 5/5

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Produced by: Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Robert G. Tapert

Written by: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues, Diablo Cody (uncredited)

Starring: Jane Levy as Mia

Shiloh Fernandez as David

Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric

Jessica Lucas as Olivia

Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie

Bruce Campbell as Ash (uncredited)

I want to make one thing perfectly clear about this movie: it’s not a remake. Despite what you may have heard about it, it’s not a remake. This is just my opinion on it, from speculation before it came out, and after seeing it, I’m convinced it’s not a remake of the 1981 horror classic The Evil Dead. With that said, it’s not exactly a sequel either, albeit not a direct one. I would say it loosely follows the previous movies. What really describes this movie is that it’s more of a revival of the franchise. Not a remake, not exactly a reboot or sequel, but a revival. This movie brings the franchise back to its straight-up horror roots, rather than the horror-comedy that the sequels were. Also, I think the difference in titling for both films kinda signifies how it’s not a remake (the original had “The” in the title, this one doesn’t).

I was amazed by this film. Truly I was. When I first heard about it, I thought that there was no way it was going to happen. The original film, along with the rest of the trilogy, is iconic and a cult classic. There have been so many horror remakes, few of them being good, but the bad ones are bad in their own way that just remaking The Evil Dead would be a slap to the face to horror fans and fans of the franchise as well. Then I heard that the movie was actually being made, and it had the involvement of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and others that helped make the original film as well as the sequels. Even Bruce Campbell said it was going to be good, and, well, he delivered as promised and so much more.

It’s almost hard to describe this movie, really. The only word that comes to mind is brutal. That’s the best way to describe it. Imagine all the characteristics of a Michael Bay remake or any bad horror remake in general, and this movie is the exact opposite of that. It’s that good. It has the premise of the original film, a bunch of people at a cabin who get attacked by demons, and they have to survive it until it’s over. It does have the look of a remake, very dirty and grimy, gore, uh, galore, and emphasizing a lot on the scare factor, which to this film’s credit does very well. As I am a horror fan, I wasn’t really scared by it like most people I know, but it did have really shocking moments. Also, that “tree-raping” scene from the original that had its own rendition in this film? It is a lot more graphic in this film, but that’s only a tiny bit of how brutal this movie really is.

Now, there are moments that will shock, scare, frighten, and anything else fear-related that will make you feel fear in this movie. The constant attacks from the characters being possessed onto their friends, the brutality of the execution of those attacks, and the surrealism of it all. Heck, the film begins with a bunch of people trying to free a possessed person and she seems nice, but then she just says “I will eat your soul” in such a nice way but then goes demonic. Then later the environment gets all freaky. There’s dead cats, originally thought to be just a “bad smell” and a delusion from Mia, but she turned out to be right. And the demon, well that was a little strange in more ways than one. When it possesses Mia, it turns her into a combination of a deadite, Gollum, and something from The Grudge or The Ring, I don’t know. It’s weird and quirky but still quite frightening, especially the ways in which she frightens people.

Now of course, like with the original film, the demon was released by the characters kinda being stupid with the THINGS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT MESS WITH aka the evil book. I mean, it’s all unleashed by a teacher, a guy who appears to be a hipster, Woodstockian guy with glasses, beard, long hair, and everything, yet he still continues to screw everything up by opening a book wrapped in a garbage bag (I guess), having barb wire attached to it so that anyone would have a hard time opening it if they were stupid enough to open it, and then read the book when there are clear instructions NOT TO READ IT. Then of course almost everyone is against Mia for believing that there’s evil demons out there, thinking that it’s her drug addiction, and they get their comeuppance for really helping her out, though they were in their own way. Heck, her saying “You’re all going to die tonight” pretty much sums up their fates. Though I am sad for David and in some way Eric, even though he was an idiot for unleashing literally Hell on Earth.

Still, this is a great horror film. Again, it’s not a remake, but a revival, bringing the franchise to what it was in the first place. Having the sequels to the original being more comedic was inventive and iconic and will remain so, but I can’t still get over the fact how awesome this film was due to its brutal horror nature. And if you don’t believe me that it’s not a remake, just stay through and after the credits. If nothing in the film indicated that it wasn’t a remake, then that will. Not gonna say anything more, only that it will. And it pretty much gives you a good idea of what will come next in different ways. Groovy (really wanted to say that).

Just remember this: Good, bad, I’m the one who reviewed this movie for The Spartan (sue me, I really wanted to work that other awesome Ash Williams line from Army of Darkness).

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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