“There was something in the woods, David. . . and I think it’s in here with us. . . now.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 1981, you’ve inevitably heard about the masterpiece that is The Evil Dead. In 1981, The Evil Dead starring Bruce Campbell was released and it was horror movie gold. It was a masterpiece, and it has set the bar high for movies of its kind. Sam Raimi was the producer on the original film and had a budget of around $350,000 to produce it, but the outcome turned out to be one of the best films in history in my personal opinion.
The thought of an Evil Dead remake had been tossed around for a while before this one was actually done. Most people immediately rejected the idea, not wanting to ruin the gold and the namesake of the original. Finally, in 2013, Fede Álvarez made his directorial debut and teamed up with the original geniuses behind the series, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Tapert to create the reboot of The Evil Dead. This was another one of my Sam Goody hauls, a movie that I had seen and felt the need to introduce my roommate to.
The reboot stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore.
The beginning moments of this movie are as intense as the final moments. It starts out strong and ends just as strong.We see a young woman running through the woods, clearly from someone or something. She’s captured by what I describe as a redneck, inbred looking group of people and is soon seen tied up in the basement of a house. The ring leader of the group is a woman and she’s seen telling someone that they know what they have to do. It is revealed that this is the young woman’s father. She pleads him not to kill her, while everyone else urges him to do so. We soon find out that she is possessed and the father shoots her. Talk about an opening scene. My favorite moment from that scene in particular is when the young woman is pleading for her life, begging her father not to kill her, and then utters, “I will rip your soul out, daddy.”. It is in that moment, I think I had the biggest smile on my face because I knew we were all in for a treat.
Flash forward to present day and we meet our antagonists for the film, David (Fernandez), Natalie (Blackmore), Eric (Pucci), Olivia (Lucas), and Mia (Levy). David and his friends are taking his younger sister to a cabin in an attempt to help her beat her a drug addiction she has been battling for some time. When they arrive at the cabin, we learn that David moved to the city, and left Mia to take care of their sick mother alone, and he had been absent from him friends lives for a while. Mia immediately starts having withdraws and begins smelling weird things in the house. They discover that in the basement/cellar there are rotting animals hanging from the ceiling, a shotgun, a pole where someone was clearly burned to death, and Eric discovers a book. He brings it upstairs with him and begins to study it. Unbeknownst to him, he reads a spell out loud and brings to the surface a devilish force.
Mia, having left the house wanting to go home after their findings in the cellar, is outside alone at the same moments that Eric reads the book. She rushes inside and tells the group she’s seeing things and they have to leave, she promises she’ll continue the treatment at home. Olivia tells her that they aren’t taking her back, thinking that they are doing her a favor, but Mia steals the car keys and leaves, eventually wrecking, crashing the car into a swamp, after seeing a figure standing in the road. Mia tries to make her way back to the cabin, but she gets tangled in a thorn bush. The figure she saw earlier stands before her now, and it is a demonic version of herself. The more Mia tries to get away, the more she becomes in entangled in the vies. The demonic form of Mia releases a black vine from her mouth that enters Mia, yes the much talked “tree-rape” scene from the movie. David and Olivia find Mia and take her back inside, but it’s clear Mia is not herself anymore. She begins acting weird, and David is now convinced she is just going into a deeper stage of withdrawal and leaves her alone.
David goes outside to clear his head and finds his dog killed, he assumes Mia did it while she was outside and rushes back inside to find Mia locked in the bathroom. He breaks in and finds that she has scalded herself with hot water in the shower, and at this point attempts to rush her to a hospital because this is clearly something they cannot handle on their own. Only, jokes on them, the rain has cause the road to become flooded so they’re trapped.
At this point, the group is freaking out and frantic because they aren’t sure what to do now. They are quickly sent into panic when Mia enters the room holding a shotgun, she shoots the gun aimed at David, hitting him in the arm and says, “You’re all going to die tonight”, then passes out. Chaos ensues from this point on, and you have to watch it to get the full appreciation.
I know I’ve give a lot more information that I usually do with reviews, but there is just so much to appreciate about this movie. From the quality to the acting to the gore, it is a top notch reboot of an even better original film. I have a hardcore appreciation for Jane Levy and this film is one of the reasons why. The entire film was filmed without CGI, which means everything is very real. It was hard not only on the crew, but also on the cast. Interviews with Levy show her saying that she was terrified almost every day and had nightmares the entire filming process. She said that she wasn’t told a lot of what was coming her way in order to emit a real frightening response from her. The concept is cruel to the actor, but genius as far as getting a good scene goes.
If you don’t like gore, I don’t suggest watching this movie. It is full of blood and gore, and a lot of really uncomfortable scenes. Ranging from cutting your own face off to an uncomfortable scene with a kitchen appliance to that dread tree rape scene, its full of scenes that will have you peeking through a few fingers. The final moments of the movie are filled with more blood and guts than most can stand, but if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll love it.
Overall, as far as reboots/remakes goes, this one stands on it’s own and does a fantastic job at giving people who were fans of the original a satisfying new take on the story. If you’ve only seen this one and not the original, I strongly recommend the original series as well. My sister’s husband introduced them to me about 5 years ago, and I can’t believe I had done without for so long. This will hopefully one day be a classic film the next generation can enjoy.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Trailer: Evil Dead (2013)