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Evil Dead (2013)
Finally, a remake done right.
The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience? That may be a bit hyperbolic (it looks good on the poster) but this new Evil Dead is certainly a lot of fun. The movie starts off with a bang (quite literally) and then we join our five 20 somethings on their way to the cabin in the woods. This time around they're not there to engage in partying and sex. Mia's friends and her brother David (the first letter of each of their names spells out DEMON) have dragged her to their mother's old cabin as a drug free, get clean retreat. The movie doesn't quite seem sure if it wants to be an addiction allegory with Mia literally fighting her demons or if it just wants to use her heroin addiction as an excuse for why these characters are at the cabin and later, why none of Mia's friends believe her when weird things begin to happen.
The film's biggest flaw is that it amps you up at the beginning and then introduces quite a bit of exposition. We hear a lot about Mia's addiction, how David left her with her mother...etc. etc. While I'm not opposed to a horror movie fleshing out it's characters, it only seems to care about fleshing out two (the others are just Deadites waiting to happen) and it does so with a decent amount of downtime before the horror. I read a review that stated that the original Evil Dead films had characters who were defined by how they handled and reacted to the horror, not what happened before the horror and I believe this is the re-make's biggest sin. Yet even the exposition is made tolerable by clever winks at what's to come.
Exposition aside, this film does SO much right. Winks at the original films are all over the place, from Raimi's car to Mia sporting a Michigan State sweatshirt, to a necklace that looks awfully similar to Linda's in the original Evil Dead. Oh yeah and one word: chainsaw.
The movie revs up once Eric (the third most fleshed out character after Mia and David) discovers the Necronomicon. This Necronomicon looks less like a face stretched across a book and more like someone sewed several chunks of flesh together. When Eric finds it it is wrapped in a plastic bag and barbed wire. This doesn't turn Eric away any more than the writing carved in the book explicitly telling him not to read the incantations. In fact Eric takes a rubbing of the crossed out translations.
It is then that all hell breaks loose. Throughout the movie the Necronomicon shows pictures of each stage of horror. At times you wish the book didn't spoil what was going to happen but other times it adds to the tension. One scene in particular works especially well because the book has shown you what is going to happen.
While the movie isn't exactly "terrifying" it is often cringe inducing and those looking for blood, gore and practical effects will find a lot to love here. For those fans of the original who can't fathom a remake, especially without Bruce Campbell's Ash, give it a shot. This is what every recent horror movie remake should have been, a loving homage to the original film.
P.S. Stay after the credits. It's Groovy.