What I'm Watching: Evil Dead (2013)
It's probably no surprise that I'm a fan of the original Evil Dead movies.
For what it is, that first movie is amazing. But it's also terribly dated, and a little silly. Let's be honest here, folks.
Still, it's a landmark film for the genre. It was really only a matter of time before it got remade. So here we are in 2013, and we get that remake, so naturally I had to see it.
The biggest problem the movie has is, trying to be an Evil Dead movie, and try and do yet another movie about a bunch of kids in a cabin that gets attacked.
This subgenre is a little tired, and I'm not sure this movie brings enough new to the game to escape the trappings. But that said, it doesn't seem to care about any of that, and still manages to be a pretty good movie, if you don't mind seeing another movie about killer beasties clawing away at an abandoned cabin.
If you've seen the first two Evil Dead movies, you have pretty much seen this movie. Or at least 60% of it. The plot is almost identical, with a lot of identical occurances. The big difference comes in why the gang is at the cabin in the first place. Everyone has gathered there to help Mia get clean after her latest drug overdose that left her dead for a brief period of time.
This seems like some incredible lengths to go through for this, but okay, fine. I can go along with some unbelievable stuff to get us going. And it does give the group a good reason to not immediately get the fuck out of Dodge when things get weird, since they can just brush it off as Mia having bad withdrawls. That's a good way to deal with that, really.
Sadly, Mia is the only character to really get any time spent on her to build up a personality. Her brother David gets some, as her brother, but the other three cast members are pretty much ciphers to varying degrees. You really don't care much about anyone besides Mia, and a little bit of David.
This is a shame, since the first 30 minutes or so are a slow burn building up to what we all know is coming. That time could have easily been spent building the others up a little bit more. But since Mia is the lead character, and Jane Levy is likely the best actress in this movie, it's also not entirely unexpected this happened.
Once the shit hits that fan though, the movie does not let up. The original movie has a reputation for being pretty damned bloody and set a standard to be matched. The remake blows it out of the water. Or more accurately, drowns it in all the blood this movie throws at you. I used to say movies had almost as much blood as a Tarantino film, in recent years. Now it shall be 'almost as much blood as the Evil Dead remake.' This is a compliment.
I am about to get into spoilers here, so if you don't want to know how things end, turn back now. This is stuff I wish I didn't know going in, and it was inadvertently ruined for me by the press for the movie.
They hyped up Jane Levy as the movie's new lead, it's new Ash. I really wish they had not done this. It became quickly apparent that nope, she was just this movie's new version of Ash's girlfriend. She gets locked in the basement for much of the movie. So I was disappointed on that front. But then she escapes, she gets cleansed, and then she very quickly goes down the TRUE road to Ash-dom in the last few minutes of the film. So the news was accurate, but it took way too long to get there, and it felt like they rushed through making her the new Ash.
If they had never said anything, and just said that Jane was cast in the film as the female lead, well, then I would have had the thrill of going through the movie and seeing her actually become this movie's Ash. Instead, I was expecting it, NOT getting it, but then having it quickly thrown at me.
Still, she does a great job protraying Mia trying to come off her drugs, then being possessed, and she has a few minutes of badassery at the end, so it all ends up good in the end. I just hate how they were pushing the Ash angle so much, so soon.
The infamous tree scene is still there, so that might be one reason some people might want to steer clear of this. Also, I was a bit disappointed in the other two females being the least developed, and the quickest to be killed off. They really were just there as nothing more than fodder for the meat grinder, which is a shame these days.
But leaving aside my expectations, the movie is decent enough. It is a solid remake, does enough for the old fans, and enough new stuff to be it's own thing too. It takes the solid story we are familiar with, and updates it for modern times. It is still a little silly at times with the effects and monsters but...it's an Evil Dead movies. Those Deadites always were a bit odd, weren't they?
I did really like it, despite it's flaws, and it is worth seeing for fans of the original. It honours the source material and does things mostly right you would want from a remake. Check it out!
And stay through the credits!!
If I learned one thing from this movie: After 30 years, people still do not realise that you do not speak Latin in front of the books.