You know how your mother always used to tell you that she wasn’t mad at you, just disappointed? That’s kind of how I feel about the remake of “Evil Dead”. I’m not mad that they tried, I’m just a little disappointed with it. I’m not saying I thought it was terrible, but it didn’t live up to my expectations based on the incredible trailer and all the hype around it.
For those unfamiliar with “Evil Dead”, and it’s history, “The Evil Dead” originally came out in 1981 and was written and directed by Sam Raimi. The same Sam Raimi who directed the Toby McGuire trilogy of Spider-Man flicks. The movie also starred Bruce Campbell, who you can find on the TV show Burn Notice. “The Evil Dead (1981)” was a total camp-fest of a horror movie, but it worked on all levels. The bad acting only played into the overall tone of the flick; the weird camera angles and movement worked because the movie didn’t take itself too seriously; getting raped by a tree was actually kind of funny when it absolutely should not be… The fact that the movie didn’t take itself seriously is what made it such a cult hit, and fun to watch.
Which brings me to “Evil Dead” (2013)… Sam Raimi’s production house produced the flick, along with Bruce Campbell, so I had some high expectations for it. The movie didn’t include Bruce’s iconic Ash character, which actually made me feel better about the whole thing, as they weren’t going to tarnish the character. So while I was a little leery of everything at first, the fact that those guys were apart of it and they were going to go a different direction with it, put my mind at ease. It wasn’t until the trailer came out that I actually started to get really excited for it though. The trailer had everything I thought “Evil Dead” should have, the book of the dead, the cabin, chainsaws and lots of brutal violence and gore. It actually seemed like this movie could be good…
I don’t know why I get my hopes up for these remakes all the time… the only one I think I’ve semi-enjoyed in the past 10 years was “The Hills Have Eyes”, only cause I like Alexander Aja, and I didn’t have any connection to the original even though I’ve seen it. So why I got so excited about “Evil Dead” is beyond me, but I left the theater pretty disappointed when I probably shouldn’t have been. The movie delivered on what it said it would, not ruining the original, keeping everything grounded in more of a reality, and being more of a re-imagining than a remake. There were some things I did like about it, so let’s talk about those first. The movie was ridiculously violent and bloody, some of which was over-the-top, which I liked because that’s what you remember from the original. At the same time though, the over-the-top blood doesn’t work if the rest of the movie doesn’t have the same tone. So while I liked it, I didn’t feel that it fit the tone of the movie. That being said, the fact that 90% of the effects on screen were practical effects, and not CGI, was awesome! You could tell at points people were doing things a certain way due to the fact that they weren’t going to do things with CGI… I know that sentence is very vague, but I don’t want to give anything away. And finally, I enjoyed all of the little nods to the original. They were subtle enough that only a true fan of the original would catch them, and they didn’t feel forced into the new flick. And yes, you do get to see Sam Raimi’s old car in the movie, which he sneaks into every one of his films.
The movie did have some good qualities to it, and I’ll definitely be watching it again when it comes out on Blu-Ray, but the bad qualities of it were hard to overlook when I had such high expectations. The acting was pretty terrible on all accounts. It almost took me out of the flick whenever anyone had any line of dialogue it was that bad. And I don’t know what influence Diablo Cody had on the script (she re-wrote some of it), but I have a feeling it was her influence that I didn’t like. It’s not like it was “Juno”-type dialogue, but there were some awful lines. Combine that with bad acting and it just didn’t work for me. I know, it’s just supposed to be a fun horror movie, but if it was meant to be campy like the original it should have committed to that instead of going the more serious route. There were also some really dumb choices made by the characters that took me out of the flick as well. Again, I know, people make dumb choices in horror movies, it’s part of the fun, but not when the tone of the movie is the opposite of fun. The biggest one coming near the end when one character is trying to revive another character using a make-shift defibrillator, yet the whole time he leaves a plastic bag over his/her head/face… How do you expect them to breathe once you do revive them? Dumb. It was things like that coupled with the acting that just kind of disappointed me.
I’ll give it another go once it hits home video, but for now I’m going to have to say I was a bit disappointed. Coming after flicks like “Cabin in the Woods”, which was just plain fun and knew what it was, this one just seemed to fall short for me on all levels. Which is sad, because I really wanted to like it.