Evil Dead, 2013.
Directed Fede Alvarez.
Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore.
Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.
“Dying wouldn’t be so bad right now, I just don’t want to become the devil’s bitch.”
From the outset, you know you’re not going to have an easy time of it. The film begins with a sequence showing the effect that the Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead, will have on anyone who dares to read its passages. This grisly opening really sets the tone of the film whilst efficiently setting up a back story for our ill-fated protagonists.
The film is a reimagining of the 1981 cult classic of the same name and follows the story of five friends who visit a remote cabin to help one of their number recover from a drug addiction. Unfortunately for them, they discover a book which helps them summon up a dark force in the surrounding woods. What follows is a rapid descent into abject terror as they try to escape with their lives.
Loving the Sam Raimi Evil Dead trilogy immensely, I went into this film with a certain amount of trepidation as I honestly thought that it would ignore everything that made the originals so successful. I am pleased to say that fans of the classic trilogy need not despair, though as there are many nods to the previous incarnations in terms of story lines, dialogue, props and even a certain mechanical cutting device. However, this is accomplished without taking anything away from what the director is trying to achieve with this reboot, but does show a love of the source material. Further to this, there are even some brilliant Easter eggs that only the most ardent of fans will find. The film also manages to fit in references to classic stories and movies such as Psycho, The Ring and even Little Red Riding Hood which goes to show that there is much more than just one influence in this movie.
Thankfully though, there are differences from previous instalments. Where the originals had an almost slapstick sense of humour, the comedy in this film is about as black as the plague and only those with a darker sense of humour will be able to chuckle. This is not to mention of course that the actual story is noticeably different due to the fact that our star is not the square jawed hero Ash, but the frail and terrified Mia, played brilliantly by Jane Levy. Levy gets a lot of the grunt work in this film and is marvelous in her portrayal of a character that very few women would and could play.
What this film does very well is create a blend of varying horror staples such as body horror, torture porn and a skin-crawling tension that left many at the screening gasping and squirming right the way through. Whether it’s the sight of self-mutilation or the feeling that a character might not be around too much longer, the film makes you comprehensively uncomfortable and it doesn’t let up until you’ve walked away. Even the end credits assist in you leaving with an uneasy feeling.
One aspect of the film that didn’t sit particularly well though was the usage of animals in this picture. Without saying too much, animal lovers might want to prepare themselves for scenes which, even in the incredibly gruesome and visceral context of the film, are quite upsetting. Faint hearts aside, the consequence of this is that you do become much more engaged in the story due to a large emotional investment in the characters.
A good result of this film nevertheless is that it does pose the question; why, after seeing horror films of this ilk, would you go to an isolated cabin in the woods for any reason?
All that can be said of this movie is that it is very disagreeable viewing in parts but will constantly engage you and does have the effect of making you feel as though you could be next to shuffle off this mortal coil. And even though I felt awfully uncomfortable whilst watching it, as one character puts it “I had to do it. I feel much better now.”
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★ ★