“Swallow your soul.”
The good news is I don’t need to invoke the Paulie C WTF did I just watch-sticker for Evil Dead (2013).
Having seen Evil Dead 1, 2 and Army of Darkness on DVD I count myself as a causal deadite fan. I enjoyed the first two movies more than the third. The horror aspects of #1 win out over the comedy of the second and the third.
It’s no surprise Evil Dead came back. Let’s be honest if Freddy, Jason and Michael Meyers have been bouncing around for a while why can’t we go back to Evil Dead since it worked out so well for Cabin in the Woods?
Director Fede Alvarez keeps the film to it’s roots without stumbling down the well beaten cellphone cannot get reception path. There are the obvious homages: The cabin, the shed, the book, the tree rape and the dead steady cam. What he does instead is push the door open on the Evil Dead universe just enough to show there are more victims of the Book of the Dead than Ash. This is a great idea to open a movie because it shows that our titular character is not the only one the Evil Dead want to destroy. If the Aliens/Terminator franchises had embraced this a bit more instead of dumping on the Ripleys/Connors of the world they may not be so stale.
The opening scene before the credits shows an unnamed victim that calls back to the survivor walking to freedom but she is eventually caught by the backwood rednecks and tied to a post where her father chains her up and douses her with gasoline. It’s in these blood soaked fiery haze minutes we find out that nothing is what it appears and evil will do anything to get out.
The film’s star is Mia played by Jane Levy, a drug addict that is dragged to the family cabin for one last intervention by her brother David played by Shiloh Fernandez, his girlfriend, Natalie played by Elizabeth Blackmore. Rounding out the cast is the resident geek, Eric played by Lou Taylor Pucci and nurse Olivia played by Jessica Lucas.
The iconic cabin and Ash’s car hang over everything while things go from okay to worse when the cabin’s basement is found and deep within are dead animals hung by barbed wire and a book made of human flesh wrapped in a plastic bag and tied up with barbed wire. The pages within are written in an ancient language with scribbled notes in english that read like the wall of a psych ward.
As we all know this where anyone in their right mind gets the fuck out. And the movie ends.
But this is horror movie territory so the soon to be victims of the dead begin to line themselves up to be a hot lunch. Each of them is given just enough back story but not enough to actually make you care about them which is the movies downsides. Eric’s backstory is just enough for him to raise the evil dead floating camera and lasts the longest since he’s the magic helper to David.
Along with the thin back stories the line delivery every so often is just a bit off. The tension between Mia and David about their mentally disturbed mother dying in the ward while he was absent gets the most play since it’ll have a call back at the end of the movie.
The violence in this movie is not the faint of heart. I would not classify it as torture porn violence more like: yes you can get shot with that many nails into a limb and survive. Yes you just got tree raped now what the fuck is going to happen? Or will you actually void your bowls when you’re taken over? If you did not flinch at those three sentences then you really should see Evil Dead.
At times the violence is the only laugh out loud moments because of how much blood either comes out of people’s limbs or in one scene their mouths. The body mutilation is nothing we haven’t seen before and is a breath of fresh air since Walking Dead is on hiatus and the only horror making the rounds right now is PG-13. Demonic possession either goes the CGI route or practical and I assume Evil Dead went practical.
After The Thing (2011) let down with too much CGI Evil Dead from a SFX standpoint was nice to see.
From the electronic carving knife to the iconic chainsaw, the gallons are flowing. Even from the clouds themselves which makes the final act between Mia and her demons perfect in my mind. There are moments where you want to scream at the screen to make sure the characters move because you know what happens when characters in horror don’t move they get squished or in Evil Dead’s case a crow bar to the face.
Supposedly this was rated NC-17 by the MPAA so when the eventual unrated DVD drops it will be interesting to see what had to be cut.
I won’t ruin the end credits even though it’s been posted to youtube and online but I was happy to see some connection to the previous trilogy.