HT Schuyler: Evil Dead Review

Posted: April 13, 2013 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews


Rated 18A for extreme violence, terror and gore.

Directed by: Fede Alvarez.

Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore and Inca.

Evil Dead is a remake to the 1981 Sam Raimi “classic” The Evil Dead, in which a group of people visit a run down cabin in the woods, discover an evil book that ultimately unleashes a terrifying evil that consumes the characters and leads to a crazy, violent, bloody, and awesome mess. In Episode One of our show NO REFUNDS, PG and I reviewed the original Evil Dead trilogy, and for those of you who didn’t hear it I’ll just sum my opinions up by saying I very much enjoyed the original, and while I found it flawed I still had a great time and really respect it for what it’s done to the horror genre and how it created something so big out of so little. I ended up giving it a 7.5/10, which in retrospect seems rough, but while I enjoyed the film I found it very flawed at some points and couldn’t quite bring myself to call it great, though I still respect the Hell out of it. I went in to the remake with an open mind and decent expectations; it looked like it was really bringing the horror back to the forefront, the design looked great, and it was still utilizing practical effects, which I love. So with all this in mind, did the remake excel and soar, or did it crash and burn?

David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend (Elizabeth Blackmore) and his dog Grandpa (Inca), come up to David’s old family cottage to meet up with his old friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) to help his drug addict sister Mia (Jane Levy) quit cold-turkey and recover from her addiction. They discover that their family’s old cabin had been broken in to, and a witchcraft act has taken place in the basement of the cabin. Upon discovering a book covered in wrapper and barbed wire, Eric flips through the morbid pages with pictures of demons and warnings not to say a certain set of words, which he decides to say anyway, which unleashes a wave of EVIL which takes over Mia and eventually everyone else as David struggles to save his friends souls and hopefully his sister’s life.

The acting is….pretty damn bad. In fact, in the opening scene I was actually cracking up out how terrible some of the dialogue and delivery was. Shiloh Fernandez does a decent job and actually plays the hero quite well, but his character was written so poorly (as were the rest), that it became hard to really care for him as his character was just so dull. Jane Levy’s character Mia comes off as very interesting at the start, and you really wonder how her character is going to develop, but she doesn’t, and is unfortunately just as uninteresting as the rest. Lou Taylor Pucci’s character Eric does very little (aside from unleashing the EVIL) besides complaining and bitching at David for not taking the correct action, and getting the living shit beat out of him. Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore’s characters are so forgettable and under developed, (besides an awesome scene involving an arm…) that it seems almost pointless talking about them. Don’t get me wrong, they serve their purpose in the film, but they lack any emotional connection due to the poor writing and acting. In fact I wouldn’t even blame the actors too much, it’s mainly what was written for them which makes them so bland.

The Good:

I usually dislike when characters aren’t well written and bland, but here I give it a minor pass because it’s not the characters that are the star of this film, it’s the atmosphere and practical effects. The visuals are brutally effective. Terrifying and disturbing atmosphere, creative shots revealing the bleakness of the location and amazing gore effects. This film is nothing short of the term HARDCORE. The violence is top of the line. It’s brutal, plentiful, painful, and covered in blood from head to toe. It’s the type of horror violence movies always promised on the DVD case, only for me to take it home and watch it to discover it was actually lame. Movies this violent are so rare I honestly can’t remember the last horror film that was this violent. It literally RAINS blood at one point. The practical effects are incredible, and while they may not have gotten to me personally (due to my brain being desensitized to almost everything), they were still damn impressive. The audience was constantly squirming and shaking, pleading with the characters not to do what they were about to do, and cringing at the end result. The direction is also very good, providing many very suspenseful scenes and some genuinely creepy imagery. When the film picks up it really gets going and provides one over the top bloodbath after another, and without spoiling it, the ending, while I have issues with it, is pretty damn badass and awesome. The nods to the original film are constant and clever, some subtle, some not, and some that even create a reality out of an image that was only seen in the original. It also does a good job at staying true to the original while still remaining its own piece, as there are lots of little changes that contradict the original, establishing it as its own entity. The film is an utter pleasure to watch and simply enjoy the craziness and even absurdity in some moments. It’s better experienced with a crowd, but even on its own I could still see it being a fun watch.

The Bad:

When the film picks up it really excels, but unfortunately, like the original, there’s a decent stretch where it’s pretty darn dull. I do realize that certain scenes where there just to establish character, but with characters this weak it seems overall pointless. While staying in the vein of the original, they included the possessed taunting the living, and while I know this was meant to be scary some of the lines they said just came off as funny and ruined the tension previously established in the scene. There were times when the film would try so hard to do what was done in the original that it just came off as distracting, such as the haunting camera rushing through the woods and different little directing techniques, which look fine, but seem a little out of place with the tone and style which this film set-up. Throughout the film there is a sort of mystery in the audience’s mind (who is a fan of the original), as to who the survivor will be. Who will be the next Bruce Campbell type hero? And for the most part, I was on board for that, and everything that was happening made sense and was very satisfying. But then the ending came around. The film completely switches gears and I was a little upset with how it actually went, despite there being a fantastic set piece at the end. In a way it just seemed like yet another way to tie this film in with the original, including all the iconic imagery of it, which was a bit of a shame.

Oh, and I really hate it when a horror movie (or any movie) has a dog in it just so they can kill it off for no real reason. Yeah, spoiler alert but it’s a cliché that’s becoming really fucking annoying.

In Conclusion:

So, is Evil Dead “THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE?” No, not really, but it’s still a total blast! While the film did try a little too hard to copy the original, I enjoyed many of the nods, and it’s still one of the most separated and creative horror remakes out there. The direction is great, visuals amazing and blood over the top and awesome. Yeah it’s not high art but it’s still a damn fun film that I would actually say is right up there with the original. I’m not saying it’s better, the two are different enough in style and tone that for what they both represent, they are evenly matched. This is one of the bloodiest and most extreme horror films to come out in awhile, and for that alone it’s a must see for horror fans.


P.S. There’s a scene at the end of the credits, and as bizarre and random as it may be it’s worth sticking around for if you’re a fan of the series.

  1. r361n4 says:

    I’m so pissed I missed the scene at the end of the credits! Also I totally agree with you about the dog dying cliche, such bullshit. Other than that though I was really happy with this one and as a fan of the original, I can’t think of too many ways they could have remade it better considering the fact that they didn’t have Ash this time around.

    Great review :)

    • htschuyler says:

      Thanks! Yeah the scene was cool but in all honesty you’re not missing too much. I agree, it really couldn’t have been remade better without Ash.

  2. Be back after I see it next friday :D

  3. hmmm i thought the original was pretty dumb absurdly overrated. but i do think some aspects were effectively scary. it sounds like this is version are pays homage to the original, which is not a draw for me. but i do like that you mention the visuals are better in this one (i thought they were absolutely wretched in the first one).

  4. […] 02 and Part 03. A good score from The Warning Sign, moderate scores from The Cinematic Frontier, PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews, Committed to Celluloid and 3 lackluster scores from Scott, Griff and Adam over at 3 Guys 1 Movie […]

  5. Just watched it and I am very disappointed, laughed more than I was scared :(

    Good Review :D

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