Evil Dead (2013) follows Mia, a heroine addict who is attempting to kick her habit cold turkey. She and her best friends have holed up in a cabin in the woods so that Mia can safely detox from her drug habit. She recently overdosed and knows that if she cannot overcome her dependency, it will inevitably kill her. When Jane’s friend Eric stumbles upon a copy of The Necronomicon in the cabin, he reads aloud from the book and awakens an ancient evil that lives in the woods outside. Mia and her friends are all forced to do battle with an unholy entity that wants their souls.
Evil Dead (2013), which turns five this year, was the cause of much controversy when the project was announced. The Internet was afire with people declaring that they would never see the film and that rebooting a classic like Evil Dead is ill-advised and sacrilegious. After a lot of trash talking, a teaser trailer was released and much of the badmouthing ceased. Fans of the original realized that Sam Raimi might not have been so wrong to entrust the franchise to up and coming director Fede Alvarez (Panic Attack!). From the teaser, it is easy to see that this remake sets out to pay tribute to the source material but has no intention of doing anything to damage the reputation of the film on which it is based.
In spite of all the controversy that Evil Dead (2013) caused, it wasn’t such a bad idea to remake the film. Sam Raimi saw it as a passing of the torch. Raimi could see Fede Alvarez’s potential and gave him nearly free rein to remake one of the greatest horror films of all time. The Evil Dead launched Raimi’s career and he wanted to give that opportunity to someone else.
He put his up and coming cast through the wringer (hours in the makeup chair, battling the elements, being buried alive, etc.…) but everything they endured was worthwhile. The end result is a film that will turn a whole new generation on to the Evil Dead series. Jane Levy (Suburgatory) really shines in her portrayal of Mia and Lou Taylor Pucci (Carriers) is a brilliant choice to play Eric, the bookish schoolteacher who opens the gates of hell.
In addition to directing, Alvarez also co-wrote the film. His decision not to try to replace the Ash character and to make the lead a female solved many potential problems. Ash is a character that should not be played by anyone but Bruce Campbell because the role was written for him and like a finely tailored suit, it will not fit anyone else. Alvarez cleverly makes Mia an addict so that her behavior, when possessed, will seem to be a reaction to withdrawal, rather than what is actually taking place. This keeps her possession from being detected early on.
Also, the battle that Mia fights with the deadites is a thinly veiled metaphor for the internal struggle that is addiction. This film is much deeper than the prototypical horror picture. And it has more replay value than a flick that has no deeper message than what’s laid out on the surface.
Evil Dead (2013) does in incredible job of separating itself from the original. This isn’t a rehash. It is a loose reimagining that is fully capable of standing on its own and that is what a remake should be.
When it comes to makeup effects, Alvarez is a huge proponent of practical FX. The use of practical makeup effects lends a much more sinister quality to the film than if all of the FX had been added in post. It’s also easier for the talent to deliver their best performance when they are in makeup and look the part, rather than trying to imagine what it might feel like to endure some of the hardships these guys go through.
Director(s): Fede Alvarez
Writer(s): Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Stars: Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci
Studio/ Production Co: Ghost House, TriStar
Budget: $17 Million
Length: 92 Minutes