Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
First, it is worth saying I am writing this on two assumptions
1. That you have seen at least the original, if not all three parts of the Evil Dead series.
2. That you’d prefer this to be as spoiler free of a review as I can muster. I won’t give away anything big, but in order to review the movie – you have to talk about the movie.
With those disclaimers out of the way, this is a hard one. When you love the original version, cherish it and stick it on a mattle as a milestone in indie horror and just as a damn good movie, it is hard to go into the remake free of baggage. Admittedly, it is hard to give it a fair shake and this version does deserve that.
Much of the driving plot is the same, some tweaks and embellishments, but it never strays so far that it feels outright foreign. The front is faster-paced. Gone are the car ride and the character build that separated the original Evil Dead from so many teenaged screams that came before. The new version dives right in without much hesitation, even smartly getting a couple of anticipated iconic scenes out of the way.
They do manage to tease at times, setting you up for a familiar moment only to drift off in a new direction.
Perhaps the most interesting plot choice is how the remake stuffs most of Evil Dead 1 and Evil Dead 2 into one movie. Not entirely, as it doesn’t end with a bizarre vortex leading to an ancient time, but elements of both are there.
The remake is dead on with their handling of special effects. Gore, blood, the evil forest, and lots of interesting wounds are all well executed with minimal CGI. Everything looked and sounded real.
I’m most torn about the change in the movie’s overall tone. The originals all have strong humor elements, and although there were times that it was brought into this version, it was never with that pure gleefulness that punctuated the previous incarnations. This largely lies on the shoulders of the decision not to rehash the Ash character, but even the Deadites in the first pass had a wicked sense of humor that seemed mostly lacking here.
Did we enjoy it? Yes.
Are we happy we saw it? Without question.
Will some scenes linger long after the credits rolled? I believe so.
(Speaking of which, stay through the credits for a little surprise.)
As a horror movie, there isn’t a lot to pick apart. It is well acted, shot, paced, and looks fantastic. Its got some really enthralling scenes and you never can completely trust what direction it is going to go in.
As a movie that is trying to rise from the shadows of an iconic parent, I think it will largely fall on how much a viewer really is attached to the original version. I say that in part because although it is a really solid movie, it almost feels sacrilegious to like it.