Page 1 of 3
Kids of the Saw generation might give this one a pass, but fans of the original won't find much here to appreciate....
Sony / 91 Minutes / 2013 / Rated R / Street Date: July 16, 2013
The tone of Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead movies was what set them apart from the rest (and what keeps Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn high on the all-time best horror films chart). These weren’t punishing Texas Chainsaw-esque tales of nightmarish dismemberment and torture: they were subversive reinventions of the horror genre Raimi and Bruce Campbell and company clearly loved and admired so much.
The Evil Dead was a violent movie, but the humor that lurked in the corner of every sequence somehow diffused any examples of pain and suffering on screen. We got a wide exposure to grotesqueries of all different shapes and sizes, but they weren’t pummeling or disquieting – in The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi proved that with a little creativity and a wink at the audience, he could reinvent the horror genre that was stagnating to the Friday the 13th sequel mundanity of its age.
This new 2013 Evil Dead, though, zaps all humor out of the equation, instead retelling some very basic bullet-points of the original movie’s narrative through a Saw-inspired tracing paper. There’s a cabin in the woods and a book that, when read aloud from, summons ghoulies and killers from demonic dimensions, but Bruce Campbell’s Ash doesn’t fight them off with Paul Bunyan-meets-The Three Stooges grandeur. No, in this new tale, we have a drugged-out chick (Jane Levy) who tries to break her addiction cold turkey by retreating to her family’s deep-in-the-woods cabin with a group of friends, relatives, and acquaintances only to find that a hankering for a little contraband is the least of her worries.
Mediocrity is what anchors this new Evil Dead firmly to shore. There are fun death fashions on display here – these poor suckers sure get offed in particularly grisly ways – but even if the film gets its eerie feel just right every now and then, it quite simply isn’t much fun to watch at all. When remaking a film for a new generation of fans, it’s imperative not to carbon-copy the original note for note, but this new Evil Dead should have recognized that there’s a lot of fun to be had here, and they miss their chance to take advantage of this.
Somehow, in a cruel twist of fate, this new Evil Dead movie isn’t terrible – it’s just woefully uninspired.