Evil Dead (2013) – 31 Days of Horror: Oct 21

by Jovial Jay

Welcome back to my back-to-back review of the original Evil Dead and the 2013 remake.

The trailer for this film looks very much like the original, except made 30 years later with more of a budget.

Before Viewing

A female character is attacked by vines in the woods, there’s still a creepy demon-zombie in the basement taunting the rest of the cast, and the bridge is still inaccessible! But the gore and horror meter is ramped up. Now there’s scenes of possessed characters licking a razor blade, or vomiting blood onto another character.

I am not usually a fan of remakes, but this film looks like it has really upped the stakes for the franchise. Grab your backpack, and let’s head out to woods!

Presented below is the trailer for the film.

Spoiler Warning - Halloween

After Viewing

Evil Dead delivers the goods. Actually maybe it over-delivers! The 2013 version of Evil Dead starts very similarly to the 1981 version; a group of five college students visit a cabin the woods. This time it’s not for vacation, but top support one of their friends as she attempts to become sober.

This time the group includes David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), David’s drug addicted sister Mia (Jane Levy), and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas). Things progress much as in the 1981 version with the group discovering a strange book bound in human flesh in the basement. They read part of the book and demons come out of the woods.

What this film does is amp up the gore 100-fold! Mia ventures out, trying to escape partially due to the weird goings on, but also to get away from the intervention. She gets tangled up in some bushes and attacked by the vines, but this time there’s also a demonic version of herself present that puts something in her. She is found by her brother and returned to the cabin. Things continue to devolve from there. The demonic possession overtakes all the kids until David is all that is left, much like Ash in the original.

But in this film, the second half of the third act takes a change as David performs a ritual burial as shown to him in the Book of the Dead, and is able to purge the demon from Mia, bringing her back to life. He is then attacked by a possessed Eric and dies, leaving Mia to fend for herself, finally facing down the demonic doppelganger of herself. She ultimately defeats it, losing her hand in the process, but lives to walk out of the woods, as the sun rises on a new day.

Everything’s gonna be fine? Everything’s gonna be fine. I don’t know if you noticed this, but… Nothing’s fine. Everything’s been getting worse… every second.” – Eric

Evil Dead sure takes things to the extreme. All scenes of the attacks, demon possession and destruction have more blood, more gore and just more! I’m not a prude about such things, but there were moments when I had to turn away because it just got too much. The constant “in your face” attitude that it’s better to show everything is a big turn off for me, much as I mentioned in last years review of House of 1000 Corpses.

Given that, I think there were many things that this film brought up to date from the original. This film does not take place completely at night, but in the foggy twilight of a gloomy day. It eventually turns to night, but having a more atmospheric setting, rather than just blackness adds to some of the unease. I also liked the updated characters. No one wants to let Mia leave because they think she’s trying to score some drugs. This is a much more reasonable response than just having an hysterical woman as Cheryl was in the original.

The twist at the end of the film was a surprise and updates the story enough that it could stand alone. Apparently Mia surviving was supposed to segue into a sequel for Army of Darkness with her character. But that never panned out.

In conclusion, if you can stand some very overt gore, and disturbing scenes of body mutilation, this may be a picnic for you. However, I can only provide a passing grade due to the updated subject matter.

Assorted Musings

  • Stay tuned to the very end of the credits and a 3 second cameo from Bruce Campbell as Ash, “Groovy!”
  • Take the first letter from each characters name, David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, Natalie = DEMON!
  • The abandoned Buick in front of the cabin looks like the one Ash and team used in the original film. According to car aficionados, while it’s  Buick 88, it’s a different model year than the Sam Raimi vehicle.

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