How many times has the remake versus original conversation taken place over the last few decades, whether over the net with like-minded bloggers or over beers and Scampi Fries with friends? Although the number of remakes in recent years has sky-rocketed to ridiculous levels, the general consensus remains that remakes are generally weaker than the original. We’re not here to discuss that argument today, though feel free to leave your comments on the matter below, but instead we’re simply going to review the film on its own merits as much as possible. This ‘new’ Evil Dead takes the premise to it’s most basic premise – a group of friends are tormented by horrific forces whilst staying in a cabin far from civilization – and dispenses with much of the humour of the originals. It’s gory, it’s grim, it’s great.
You know the original story, right? Group of college kids head off to a secluded cabin for a weekend. Evil Dead takes a cue from its modern gritty brethren and adds a millennial generation twist – one of the friends is an addict (I want to say heroin?) and her friends are taking her out to the middle of nowhere to get clean. That’s a bad idea in and of itself, but we already know from the prologue that things are likely to get worse (the prologue showing a nice bit of capture, setting on fire, and headshots). Before long a certain book is found, a certain verse is read, and a certain ancient evil is awoken. From that point on the film moves at a frantic pace as people are possessed and injured and killed in gruesome ways.
The cast is a step up from the original, that much is obvious. Sure, we don’t have Bruce Campbell, but we do have Lou Taylor Pucci – a vastly gifted and underappreciated actor, and Jane Levy as the female lead who tows the line between addict, demon, and warrior. The story does try to merge the whole getting over addiction thing with a violent exorcism but lets not pretend we’re here for anything other than blood and guts – the story does what it needs to, removing some of the gaps from the original and adding some emotion and character. What we lose is much of the humour, the slapstick invention – it’s here, but in much smaller doses. It’s a fine balancing act – the original succeeded because no-one has really seen anything like it, but having that mix of comedy and gore nowadays is especially difficult as we have now seen so many attempts at it.
I can see some fans of the original series being too precious to get on board with this remake, but I believe most fans of the original are fans first and foremost because they love horror. This is a horror movie, with all the blood and violence you could hope for, as well as some fairly effective scares. It’s not going to change the world like Raimi’s movies did, but it is going to entertain and gross-out. It’s easily one of the better remakes of recent times and is deserving of your time. Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this remake or if you feel it is another inferior and needless cash-in.
What did you think of this remake? Had you seen the original already, or did this make you want to go back and find the 80’s classic? Let us know in the comments!
This one was gritty, gory, enjoyable, but like you said it doesn’t have the charming comedic backbone to it the original had. And while I do agree with you about the importance of looking at a films own merits rather than just comparing it to the original, I’m always slightly frustrated when a remake is actually a decent flick because it just makes me want to see an original idea with the same talent. Or just a straight up sequel, but it seems things are just rebooted now instead of added on to.
In a lot of ways this one reminded me of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Well done movie that I’ve watched and would watch it again, but I’ll admit bias because I’d be such a bigger fan of it if it were a sequel or original movie.
Yeah, I feel the same. Some, maybe most remakes are inferior on most levels, but some as genuinely better or at least on par. Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead is one of my favourite movies ever, while Snyder’s is an excellent thrill ride. The remake of The Hills Have Eyes is much better than the original I think. I feel that most audiences are getting tired of remakes, and while the rebooting doesn’t look like slowing down for a while I agree that we need more original ideas. People are scared of taking risks with money now, though when you look at most of the films which are being remade, those originals were mostly small budget or almost indie films which had the right mix of talent and timing. With all the shit going on in the world the timing feels right for the next breed of low budget people with talent to come along and make new classics!
Hm, that’s a really interesting point about the original movies usually being low-budget productions. I think it is indicative, though, of the fact that when a movie has a passionate director or crew behind an original idea you get a better movie with more feeling to it. There’s a general vision that isn’t hindered by being in the shadow of a previous movie, especially if it’s a fan favorite.
I really do wish that there were more active horror franchises, but yeah, I think major studios don’t take as many risks and for some reason a reboot with a loosely familiar story sells better.
Yes, that’s probably the same for most mediums – a young person or group making their first movie or song or book will likely have much more enthusiasm, energy, and optimistic belief in what they are creating. If the talent is there along with that energy, then the end result will inevitably be better than something that an equally talented but tired group can do if they are making it by the numbers. Once something sells though, everyone jumps on, I don’t think we’ll ever escape that fact.