When I was 18-years-old, my best friend Joe told us about this horror movie he watched that scared the hell out of him and insisted that we all watch it. So he got a copy, we assembled all our movie nerd friends and watched it at my dad's apartment. The movie was the original 1981 Evil Dead starring Bruce Campbell (Spiderman, Burn Notice). The movie was far from scary; hell, it wasn't even good but it was crazy and spastic and poorly funded but excellently shot and we had an absolute blast watching it. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, which is the third in the series, quickly clawed their way to the top of my favorite horror films. So when I heard they were going to do a remake of it, I joined the legions of furious fanboys who cried for the heads of those responsible.
As it turns out, those responsible were the people behind the originals, namely Campbell and director Sam Raimi (Oz the Great and Powerful, the Spiderman series). That lended a considerable amount of credence to the project. What really sold me on it though was when I heard they weren't going to try to recapture the silly campiness but instead go balls-to-the-wall and make a legit horror film. After that, the marketing for it sealed the deal; when I saw the disturbing trailer and a poster that made the boldest statement ever ("The most terrifying movie ever made!") I was saturated in interest.
This new reimagining of Evil Dead is an absolute masterpiece of horror. What director Fede Alvarez did was amazing, which is way impressive considering it's his first feature film. He managed to pay total homage to everything you hold dear about the originals and still manage to create a unique experience. This is every bit its own film and deserves to be hailed as possibly the best horror film remake in history (Alexandre Aja's The Hills Have Eyes is a close #2 though).
Make no mistake that this is a horror film that has the sole intention of scaring and disturbing you with an assault of relentless gore and macabre imagery. Once this rollercoaster clears the first hill it doesn't stop for the remaining 70 minutes. And every single bit from the originals that you loved so much is present and not even one of them feels cheesy or stupid. It is the only kind of film that could've been made for fans by fans. That's not to say people who have never seen the original can't enjoy it; you certainly can. But be warned that this movie was made ONLY for people with strong stomachs and an affinity for the horror genre, which I can't imagine anyone who hasn't seen the originals is.
I do have to admit that some of the casting is a little weak and considering it's a cast of only five people, if one person sucks that's 20% of the cast. But I'd imagine it was difficult to find young, attractive actors that would be willing to do the physical torture involved in shooting Evil Dead since everything is done without the use of computers, like true horror should be. Taking over the lead role is a woman named Jane Levy (HBO's Shameless, ABC's Suburgatory) and she's pretty good. At times she feels forced but considering the ridiculous over acting Bruce Campbell gave us, she seems subdued.
I couldn't recommend people see Evil Dead more. Well, let me clarify; I don't think that everyone should see it because it's probably the most graphic horror film to come out in the last five years (It had to be cut to earn an R-rating). But if you're someone who likes to have bloody fun at the theater, where you're encouraged to scream at the screen and can find the fun in the violence? Then Evil Dead is the orgasmic nut-punch you've been looking for...but try to watch the originals first. Evil Dead (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A
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