Last night, I saw an advanced screening of the 2013 remake of Sam Raimi’s cult classic, Evil Dead – and it was everything that I hoped it would be and more. As I write this review, I am still giddy from the experience. I’ll probably see it in the theatres once more before it comes to Blu-ray. You want to see this film in theatres. Do not miss it, especially if you are a fan of Sam Raimi’s work.
The film opens as a happy couple – David and Natalie – arrive at an isolated cabin in the woods to meet up with Mia, David’s sister, and a few of their old friends, Eric and Olivia. David and Mia have been estranged from one another for a while, and in that time, Mia has developed a drug problem. Eric and Olivia have brought her out to the cabin so that she can quit her habit cold turkey and under strict supervision. Mia hasn’t coped with her mother’s death very well, and it didn’t help matters when her brother skipped town when things went from bad to worse. As a result, Mia was forced to watch her mother die a slow, painful death, and she still hasn’t recovered emotionally. Eric and Olivia have taken care of her in David’s absence.
The detoxification process begins in the afternoon, as Mia tosses her stash down a well and makes an oath, promising to never touch the stuff again. Later on during the night, the withdrawal symptoms start to kick in. Mia curses and screams, and complains of a pervasive rotting smell in the cabin. When a cellar door is discovered under and old throw rug, the group reluctantly opens it, revealing the source of the stench. Once inside, they discover a room full of animal carcasses, which are hanging upside down from the ceiling. Other strange and disturbing artifacts are found, including a strange book, encased in a trash bag and wrapped in barbwire. Eric takes it into one of the vacant rooms and removes the barbwire and plastic, revealing a book bound in human flesh and containing strange occult images and incantations. Some of the words have been violently marked through and replaced with warnings, such as “Do not read these words”, “Stay away from this book”, and so on. Of course, Eric just can’t help himself, and, carried away by his own curiosity, he reads one of the sinister incantations out loud.
If you are a fan of the original film, you already have some idea as to what happens next. If you are new to the world of Evil Dead, I am going to spare you any spoilers by ending the synopsis right now.
The events which transpire in the next hour are incredibly horrific, extremely graphic, and darkly comic. Never before have I ever seen anything quite like this in a mainstream film. The mere fact that Evil Dead escaped the NC-17 rating is a mystery indeed. There are scenes in this film that will cause your jaw to hit the floor. Unlike the original - which was quite campy and often hilarious - the humor has almost entirely been stripped away, with only a few laughs here and there to break up the tension, especially during the final act. Evil Dead is a non-stop thrill ride with a perfect setup and execution. The entire cast is excellent, especially Jane Levy as Mia, and Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric. Director Fede Alvarez co-wrote the screenplay with Diablo Cody and Rodo Sayagues, taking the audience a non-stop thrill ride. The score by composer Roque Banos is appropriately eerie and heavy on the strings, creating the perfect mood. The scares build and build until the tension is nearly unbearable at times, but it is all in good fun.
Depending on your tolerance for gore – and this is quite possibly one of the goriest films in recent memory – you will enjoy this film immensely. This is one of the best horror films to come along in years. I would advise anyone going in to this film to just give in to the insanity, have a good time, and prepare for one of the most extreme cinematic experiences of all time.
Be sure to stay for the end credits. Your patience will be rewarded with a little surprise.
Watch the trailer here.