Film Review: “Evil Dead”

“Evil Dead” transcends its callow gore fest roots and becomes a captivating meditation on drug abuse.


Review by David Feltman

“You have to get me out of here.”

The “Evil Dead” remake is 0% groovy. There are no kings to be hailed or babies distributing sugar. All of the blood from the Sam Raimi’s movie is present but none of the splatstick. And while that might be initially disappointing for some, that doesn’t stop the remake from being a good movie. In fact, “Evil Dead” attempts a story much larger and deeper than any of its namesakes.

Heroine addict Mia (Jane Levy) goes to an isolated cabin in the woods to detox with the support of her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and her three friends. It doesn’t take long for the friends to discover the Necronomicon and unleash some Candarian demons. First time writer/director Fede Alvarez utilizes the premise of Levy going cold turkey to create a parallel between her inner demons and the ones out in the woods. Levy uses deceit and subterfuge to manipulate her companions. So when the demons come to posses her, her friends put it off as just another dope sick ruse.

“Evil Dead” transcends its callow gore fest roots and becomes a captivating meditation on drug abuse. Levy’s friends cease to recognize her as she gradually transforms into a monster and the group is torn apart and consumed by her demons. Cinematographer Aaron Morton pays occasional homage to Sam Raimi’s staccato, quick zoom montages, but sticks to slow pans and unnatural angles to create extra layers of unease and disorientation.

There’s a lot to like about Alvarez’s remake, but the film feels too far removed from the “Evil Dead” franchise to wear the name. Iconic moments from the original series, like spewing fountains of blood, hand dismemberment and the rape tree, are shoehorned into the story as mere fan service. The script feels like it started life as a different movie before someone decided to use it as an “Evil Dead” remake. There may be enough here to keep franchise fans happy, but “Evil Dead” is a film that begs to be enjoyed on its own terms.

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