Thursday, 7 August 2014

Evil Dead (2013 version) (4 Stars)

This is a remake of the classic 1981 horror film with the same name. I don't like to generalise when it comes to remakes. Some are bad, some good, and a few are even better than the original.

As in the original film, five teenagers (two boys and three girls) go to spend some time in a remote cabin in the woods. In the original it was just a vacation, but in this film it's four teenagers taking their friend Mia to an isolated place to get over her drug addiction. They refer to the drug as "dope", which is a generic term for several drugs in the USA, but judging by her extreme withdrawal symptoms it must be heroin. The teenagers find a strange book in the cellar, and one of the boys reads it aloud, leading to Mia being possessed by a demon.

What is it about books written in foreign languages and illustrated by mystical symbols? Why do teenage boys feel compelled to read the words aloud, even though they don't understand what they're saying? I wouldn't do that. Would anyone? Or does it just happen in films?

I gave the first film five stars when I reviewed it in February 2011, and I've only given the remake four stars. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. The original was a classic, it was a film that's important in film history, but is this film any worse? It's different. It was made with a $17 million budget, compared with $90,000 for the original version. It's a very modern film. There's a lot of gore, with realistic special effects. The gore is pushed to the limit, surpassing anything seen in the original film. Normally I don't like horror films that rely on gore rather than suspense, but in the case of "Evil Dead" that's what the film is all about. If the original was a classic horror film of the VHS tape generation, the new version is a classic of the Blu-ray generation. Sam Raimi's collaboration as producer has made sure that the film didn't end up looking like a cheap imitation of the original. Four stars is all I'm giving it today, but I might increase the rating next time I watch it.

While watching the film I was trying to guess who would be the Bruce Campbell. What I mean is that in the original film one character survived for the sequels, namely Ash, played by the legendary Bruce Campbell. Evidently the film makers expected viewers to be thinking this way, because there were false clues, and we didn't find out who was the Bruce Campbell until close to the end.

Apart from that, the real Bruce Campbell appears in the film in a brief cameo. If you blink you'll miss him.

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