Evil Dead

evildead

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: TriStar Pictures, Ghost House Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Fede Alvarez

Review Rating: 7.5

Five friends attempting to aid one of them in kicking her drug habit, spend the weekend in an isolated cabin, where they inadvertently encounter the Book of the Dead and unleash something horrible in the woods!

What we start off with is more or less what you’d expect from an Evil Dead movie: death, abrupt ranting monologues, and hey did I mention, more death? It seems the sacrifice at the beginning of the film explains what one needs to do in order to stop the unleashed thing from the Book of the Dead. The segment also seems to indicate that these folk are related to two of our five, brother and sister David (Shiloh Fernandez) and Mia.

Which leads us to present day, and the cabin. Mia (Jane Levy) wants to kick her drug habit, looks like heroin to me, and is heading to the cabin with friends in tow to help her. Trouble is, Mia’s done this before, with friends to help even, so this time the general consensus is that noone is letting Mia off the hook this time. Of course, this leads to Mia being the first one taken by the Evil in the forest, once Professor Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci)  and David discover cat-sacrifice land in the basement and the Book of the Dead there. Eric just has to bring the book up to the cabin and just has to peel off the barbed wire (?!) and morgue plastic bindings, and just has to read the silly thing, aloud even. Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) is David’s girlfriend, and while it appears she’s trying to help David with his sisterly troubles, she has all the personality of a lump of snow. And Olivia (Jessica Lucas) is the, I’m terribly sorry but I do have to go there, token black character who’s also the tough girl. She has maybe a breaths worth more of backstory and personality than Natalie does, but that isn’t saying much. This is our cast of characters, hardly a thimbleful of story amongst the five of them. Let us instead concentrate on the story of the Book of the Dead and what it does when the unleashed spirit proceeds to vine-rape (I kid you not) Mia and use her to take out the rest of the cabin dwellers in the most horrific ways possible!

So this demonic spirit has possessed Mia and suddenly she has makeup and contacts right from a mutant hellbaby spawn of demons crossed with The Walking Dead. Her voice gets up—or is it down?—graded, and suddenly it’s all about tossing Mia down the basement door with the reinforced chains and whatnot they had to open to go down there and find the Book in the first place. Let the hellacious twitching commence! Except now that demon Mia is stuck down there, the cell door gets lifted maybe a foot, enough for her to peer out of and make maniacal statements from, oh and enough for her to transfer demonic spiritual possession, but no not enough to escape from. Rly? Alright. The useless, lifeless girlfriend is first. Then it’s the tough girl, Olivia, and boy is she scaring the bejeesus out of the professor. That’s another thing: there isn’t enough screaming, yelling, or ranting from the supposed Protags. The only time a good solid ED style soliloquy comes to any of our cabin-goers, is when they’ve been possessed already. Come on, I wanted the quiet Professor to go ape-shit before he got possessed and went on a rampage! Well anyway. Inevitably it comes to a showdown between brother and sister, David trying desperately to save his demonic sister by following instructions from the Book of the Dead (cuz that’s worked out so well so far) but with a twist. He should’ve known, you can’t cheat the Deadites.

What it comes down to, is yes, if ED had been made first like this, it would still be a classic Horror film. But nowhere in here is the classic snark that made Raimi’s films so beloved. Even without Bruce Campbell, the zany Evil Dead series had a unique style all its own, and a lot of that heart is just missing from this new version. The long running shots from the evil POV are still there, as are the rants from the Deadites, the nasty Book itself, and yes they did leave it open for a sequel, but come on. There isn’t a single solitary thing to laugh at in this new Evil Dead, and even the Deadites need a laugh now and then.

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