body horror

[Movie Review] Evil Dead (2013) ★★★★☆

Mia reaching for the chainsaw in Evil Dead 2013

Evil Dead brings the graphic gore and violence back from the dead.


Evil Dead is a supernatural occult horror film once brought to life by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell. It is a franchise still very much alive thanks to the book Naturom Demonto or the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis that gets dug up every time someone visits the creepy little cabin in the woods. 

It’s a remarkable franchise indeed for the sequel to the original The Evil Dead (1981) is much more of a reboot/remake than an actual sequel. Many sequences from the first film are repeated but with a new story, and with dark humor in Evil Dead II (1987). Then a third movie that is a direct sequel to the second one, Army of Darkness (1992) takes place in the Dark Ages where Ash ends up through the time vortex. Eventually when Ash gets back to his own time, he gets his own series Ash vs Evil Dead about 30 years later. 

This new film Evil Dead is therefore a reboot/sequel to the original film, with other characters, but with the same cabin, the same creepy basement, the same book and incantations, and of course the evil forest spirits who take control of the living and the dead (Deadites). Again this is a supernatural, occult violent, graphic, bloody, gory, gruesome film where bodily fluids flow richly and are shot right at your screen. 


Plot

Mia wants to quit drugs completely, again, but his time she gets help from her best friend Olivia, who is in training to be a doctor, her friend Eric, and her brother David who brings his new girlfriend Natalie. They retreat to an old cabin in the woods, a very isolated place, where Mia can’t leave. 

Mia has some difficulties with her brother who abandoned both her and their sick and dying mother, but now he promises to be there for her. When Mia gets attacked in the forest by the forest itself and sees a strange woman, they think it’s the drugs withdrawal, but the strange sinister occurrences are due to the incantation spoken out loud by Eric from the book they found in the creepy basement. Now history will repeat itself.


Why you should watch it

Evil Dead is both an ode with lots of fun references and familiar scenes and a reboot/sequel to the original film. It takes place some 30 odd years later, with different characters, but the rest stayed exactly the same. It’s a fun reunion for the fans. But this time the story has somewhat more to it than just the living getting killed and the dead rising again, possessed as Deadites.

It’s a story about a brother and sister too, who had some hard times. A sister who, maybe due to her mothers death, couldn’t cope and turned to drugs instead. A brother who wasn’t there in time of need, but now seeks redemption. It’s a little backstory that gives the plot more backbone. 

But of course in this franchise it’s all about how much practical and gory effects can be used. Every bodily fluid is used and used in abundance. There’s blood, vomit, blood vomit, urine, blood rain. There’s mutilation, chopped off hands and arms and legs, nails in faces, knives in jaws, chest or abdomen. There’s of course the shotgun, the chainsaw, but also an electric meet-cleaver, a nail-gun, a machete, a car even that can be used as a weapon. Speaking of cars and fun fact, you can see Ash’s car hidden behind the cabin overgrown with vegetation. 

It’s bloody, it’s gruesome, it’s violent, it’s icky and goes all the way just for the fun of it. But it’s at a cost. The first film, thanks to almost no budget at all, was a very creative film with inventive camerawork, artful shots and fun practical effects. It turned out to work very well for the film, that gained a cult status. This artful creative cinematography lacks in this new film, as does the dark tongue-in-cheek humor, but is made up for in a much more serious and bloodier way than you can imagine. With a crescendo of a choir, alternated with a sound that reminds of an air-raid-siren it has a beautiful climax that’s true to the franchise.

Side note: the dog dies, off screen but it is still a gruesome fate.


My favorite part

Actually the whole film is one big lavish gorefest, that descends into madness and gruesome deaths. When Natalie shows up with David, she doesn’t get much to do, but when she gets bitten by the locked up possessed Mia, she finally gets some screen time and she doesn’t disappoint. She is the one responsible for a lot of mayhem inflicted upon herself and onto others. She’s a real showstopper.

But when this whole bloody ordeal is finally over, there’s a redemption scene for David and Mia, but then Alvarez has a surprise for us. The third and final act is a blast and instead of David being a look-a-like Ash, he is not the final boy, but a new final girl has risen (from her earthly grave), and Mia proves to be a persistent survivor of both inner and physical demons. It’s a great choice to let the supposed victim come back stronger than ever, giving a modern take on and new meaning to a final girl. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★★★★☆

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★★★


Read more about The Evil Dead:


Cast and crew

Evil Dead is directed and written by Fede Alvarez and cowritten by Rodo Sayagues. It stars Jane Levy (Mia), Shiloh Fernandez (David), Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric),  Jessica Lucas (Olivia) and  Elizabeth Blackmore (Natalie).

Duration: 91 minutes. Music: Roque Bañnos. Cinematography: Aaron Morton. Edited by: Bryan Shaw. Produced by: Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi. Production companies: TriStar Pictures, Ghost House Pictures, FilmDistrict. Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing. 


Check the trailer below