A different take on the classic tale.
The Evil Dead remake is somewhat a divisive film. Most of my friends did not like the film, and they make some valid points. First, this film is quite different from the original. In the first film, we have the wit and charm of Bruce Campbell and the overall wonderful mixture of horror and comedy. The remake opts for relentless horror. This change drove a lot of people nuts, and reasonably so, but the previews made it clear that this was meant to be a straight-up horror film.
The question the becomes: Does this version lose the spirit of the original? I say no, but this is only my opinion. As noted, there are a lot of valid criticisms of this movie. While I do enjoy this movie, this review is not going to overlook the negative aspects.
The worst part of the film is probably the characters. Honestly, there isn’t even much of a point in classifying them in this review. I think they differentiated everyone’s hairstyles so the audience could tell them apart—because that is about the only distinction. We have the added wrinkle of one of the characters being a drug addict, and they are at the cabin to make her quit cold turkey. Fine, interesting (I guess), but this aspect of the narrative just becomes a McGuffin almost instantly. Same goes for one of the characters being a nurse—instead of doing anything with this character, they just use it as an excuse to not go to the hospital.
The characters are props. “So, what?” you may ask. In a horror film such as this, they are potentially less important, but it is less effective when the audience cannot even remember the characters’ names. I do not know why they chose to construct the characters this way. The first chunk of the film (outside of the brutal introduction) is all just folks gabbing exposition at each other. Argh. There has to be a better way to get things rolling.
Anyway, characters aside, the meat of the film is good. The unseen demons are excellent. One thing I love about this movie is that the evil does not screw around. The first forty-five minutes aren’t a spooky ghost opening a door in the middle of the night, or moving something around the house. Nope, instead we have people beating their pets to death, boiling their skin off, and ripping their faces off. Getting to the point makes the film an excellent shock-show of brutality.
The setting is also quite good. Good settings and good effects aren’t enough to fully carry a film. Though, the film might be worth watching just for these elements, but you’ll still walk out annoyed.
Perhaps what truly hurts the movie is the completely ridiculous final act. I am not going to give details, but the momentum of the film comes to screeching halt and the stupid factor goes through the roof. The cool additions and relentless gore are overshadowed by a corny and dumb final act that should have never made it off the writing room floor. Watching this movie will give fans of the genre a lot of highs and a lot of lows. For me, it eeks out being better than worse, but a lot of people disagree. 6/10