Skip to main content

Review: Evil Dead


Some catering to fans of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead franchise was expected when it was announced that there would be a fresh start to the franchise two years ago. Cult classics only succeed with a passionate fan-base and Fede Alvarez's update of five kids going to the woods was met with a great deal of hesitance, but the dread of a soulless cash-in disappeared once Bruce Campbell and Raimi backed the project.

Even with this reboot though a great deal of the enjoyment to be had is dependent upon knowing the turns of where the original 1984 film goes. Misdirection and a subversion of audience expectations is more than half the fun of Alvarez's film.

Going cold turkey is never easy, so Mia (Jane Levy) and her four closest friends go away for the weekend to a secluded cabin in the woods for her to detox. Left with little to do, the five come across the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) and accidentally release the demons therein. Deadites abound, the group of five are picked off one at a time.

Placing Mia's heroin addiction center stage makes it a little easier to stomach that when all hell breaks loose, no one simply just says "screw it" and leaves.

Two major standouts spring out from the acting branch: Jane Levy and Lou Taylor Pucci. Levy puts in her time as the emotional wreck before she eagerly dives into playing a Deadite. Playing a vaguely hippie-ish teacher, Pucci isn't replacing Ash, but he is easily just as put-upon as Bruce Campbell was. And like Campbell, he too gets some of the best lines.

While Jane Levy and Lou Taylor Pucci are very game for the source material, the other three performances feel like they thought they were walking onto the set of a Michael Bay produced remake of The Evil Dead, not Sam Raimi's.

Evil Dead will leave fans wanting for nothing when it comes to props and makeup. Every corn-syrup drenched scene screams practicality, replacing computer generated foolery with hand-crafted scares. Very rarely is gore done well enough to be appreciated, yet the technical prowess here should be applauded.

Fede Alvarez, whether by choice, or not, recreates several shots from the thirty year old predecessor (demon speeding through the woods cam) and he is quite competent at composing scenes. Still, giving him a chance to create more scares of his own would have been appreciated. By referring back to the original in so many ways, Evil Dead is defined more by what it is than what it isn't.

Popular posts from this blog

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers

There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…

Review: The Voices

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) spends his days working the nine-to-five shift at his new job at the Milton Bathtub Factory. Jerry is chipper to the point that he may turn some people off, but he never stops trying to make friends. Friends are something that Jerry could use because the only other conversation he has is with his dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers. Things are looking up though, Jerry has been tasked with planning the company picnic and he’s asked a girl (Gemma Arterton) out on a date. Jerry is so excited to share the news he rushes home to tell his pets about Fiona. Oddly enough, both Bosco and Mr. Whiskers start talking back.

No need to go back and re-read that last sentence, yes, Ryan Reynolds has pets who talk back to him. His dog, Bosco, is quite affable, however, his cat, Mr. Whiskers, would feel right at home curled in the lap of Blofeld. Unfortunately for everyone around him, it’s the advice of the evil cat that Jerry heeds more often than not. For all of Jerry’s pleasant…