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Friday, April 5, 2013

Evil Dead (2013) Review (with Minor Spoilers!)

(Minor Spoilers!)

First off, I'm not a big horror movie fan because I think that the genre has become diluted with slasher films, "gorenography," and found footage bullshit. There are very few movies that have actually scared me because having something jump out or appear in a mirror is just startling. It's no different than if I hid behind a door and jumped out at a person walking through. For a minute you are aghast at the unexpected, but you don't have nightmares about it or anything. I've always been a fan of Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft instead of Wes Craven and George Romero. Something about the unseen makes it better, because nothing is scarier than your own imagination.

The scariest movie in recent past, for me, was The Strangers. This isn't the best movie out there, but the idea of it is scary. Three people in masks break into a house and terrorize a couple for no real reason other than fun and you never find out who or why. Plus, for the first twenty minutes of the film you can see the "strangers" walking past the windows in the background. To me, that is scarier than any exorcism movie or slasher film because this stuff can actually happen.

However, I do enjoy the original Evil Dead series for what it is. It's campy and fun and I like Bruce Campbell as Ash. When I initially heard about this remake, I was a little mad because the Evil Dead series is pretty classic, but since nothing is sacred except money I guess they decided to cash in on the horror remake money train, too.

The first trailer screamed "gorenography," which I guess was alright because the original is pretty gory and gross for it's time. My problem with gore is that it's used to "shock" people rather than scare them. Honestly, the watered down Hershey's Chocolate Syrup in Psycho is scarier to me than a roomful of blood, puke, and guts. The horror industry seems to be competing to see who can shock the audience more, by cramming as much bloodshed into a movie as possible, but for me, it isn't working.

I was sort of excited to see the new movie, because there was a lot of hype and buzz about taking this classic, campy-horror series and making it into a full-fledged horror franchise. I watched the original The Evil Dead to re-familiarize myself with the story and series before seeing the new one.

First, the good:

I will say that despite no Ash character in this (which is fine because it'd be hard to replace Bruce), the nods to the original film were somewhat subtle and tastefully done. Without giving too much away, the opening scene depicts a father having to choose to kill his possibly possessed daughter. The father is Professor Knowby from the tape recording Ash finds in the original (played by the same actor, Bob Dorian). During the film, some famous things from the originals make brief cameos (such as Ash's famous car all rusted up behind the cabin). Little nods like that helped even the causal fan connect with some nostalgia of the previous films.

The film isn't really a reboot, remake, or sequel, but an amalgamation of the three (think requel?). The nods to the other films suggest that maybe this is happening in the present day, as the previous movies happened 30 years ago. The book of the dead still exists and is still terrorizing the living.

Now for the bad and the ugly...

What really ruins this film is the acting. It is absolutely horrendous. All of these twentysomethings are the least convincing people on the planet. Jane Levy, Mia in the film, is probably the best because she goes from drug addict to deadite. The rest of the cast makes paint drying seem like a Scorcese picture.

Shiloh Fernandez not only wins the award for the worst name ever, but also for the worst actor ever. He plays Mia's brother, David, who apparently hasn't been home in a long time and everyone is mad at him about it (that's all they ever say). Basically he makes this face the entire movie.

Elizabeth Blackmore plays Natalie and she is supposed to be a nurse and maybe David's girlfriend. She does nothing nurse like or girlfriend like and literally serves zero purpose in the film.

Jessica Lucas plays Olivia who is Mia's friend and also really doesn't do anything.

Lou Taylor Pucci plays Eric, who is a teacher and apparently can decipher the cryptic text in the Necronomicon. He appears to understand what's going on, but he doesn't ever say anything. He's a huge dick for no reason. He looks like Giovanni Ribsi doing his worst John Lennon impression.

If the delivery of the lines weren't bad enough, the poor dialogue really kicks it over the edge. Nothing like cramming every detail of back story into one sentence to save space and time. One of the lines is something like "It's been awhile David, but thanks for coming out here to help us help your sister get off of drugs." The gore didn't make me sick, but the dialogue was really scary!

For being such an effects heavy film, some of the effects look really, really bad. Apparently vomited blood looks like V8 shot from a firehose.

"She could've had a V8!"
Evil Dead seems like a movie that was miscast and written poorly in order to capitalize on the horror remake and "gorenography" boom.

Evil Dead is dead before dawn with 3 out of 10 Chainsaws!

Also, if you can sit through it, be sure to stay for an unrelated (to this movie at least) after credits scene.

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