Evil Dead Review

Evil Dead

You know how you can romanticise the past, and even get tempted to rekindle something that’s long been dead?

Well, maybe you’re better off trusting your head over your heart and leaving that memory alone.

Evil Dead is a wholly unnecessary remake of the cult Bruce Campbell classic of the same name, only director Fede Alvarez has managed to slice off pretty much every redeeming quality from the camp and highly quotable original with this horribly generic incarnation.

As with seemingly all horror films these days, we begin with a bunch of vacuous and lobotomised pretty young people who’ve ventured deep into a deserted forest.

So far, so bone-crunchingly predictable.

There’s some loose pretence about the lead girl, Mia, being hooked on heroin and travelling up to a cabin to finally kick the habit, as well as a vague sort of reunion between her and her group of dumb friends with Mia’s brother David, who left the family home as well as their mentally disturbed mother some years ago.

But now he’s back, and ready to make amends for the sins of his past.

The rest of the one dimensional characters are made up of Mia’s best girl friend, blah, some guy who seems to have a broken heart over David called meh, and David’s incredibly blank blonde girlfriend called I couldn’t give a damn.

Something along those lines.

Anyway, this by numbers scooby gang have ventured into a deserted forest and some ramshackle, ah, shack that Mia and David used to holiday in.

Only when they get there, our happy campers find the lock’s been forced with a crowbar, blood stains leading from the living room to the basement and the awful stench of death from some rotten and mangled animal corpses hung below in some apparent ritual.

Now, any fool with even half a brain would take any of these signs as a rather spiffing cue to make like a baby and head out of this god forsaken forest; only thing is, all these kids have been lobotomised.

Ok, so I’ve added that particular fragment of backstory myself, but trust me when I say Evil Dead only works if you accept this to be true.

Lou Taylor Pucci in TriStar Pictures' horror EVIL DEAD.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a mysterious book shaped object wrapped in a black bin bag and bound by reams of barbed wire.

Now I know what you’re thinking; why in the name of Bruce Campbell’s chin would you want to open something that someone’s so obviously gone out of their way to warn you away from?

And the only explanation is my lobotomised theory.

Even accepting that you ignore the blindingly obvious, stay in the creepy shack and open said object that’s been wrapped in barbed wire, once you find a book inside with the words “do not say these words out loud or he will come for you” inscribed within, why would want to say these quite literally god damned words out loud?

Lobotomised theory.

No doubt you’ll be able to guess what happens next, as will anyone over the age of six.

And every time one of these poorly written, mentally deficient pretty young people gets gruesomely sliced, diced or burnt alive, I wanted to cheer; the only problem is their deaths did not come anywhere near quickly enough for my tastes.

This new Evil Dead film is without doubt the most dreadful film I’ve ever had the misfortune to sit through, and I’ve watched Batman And Robin.

Not only is it devoid of any redeeming features, it also goes into negative credit by tarnishing the iconic Sam Raimi directed and Bruce Campbell shaped original.

Jane Levy in TriStar Pictures' horror EVIL DEAD.

I remember first watching this eighties classic back in my uni days, as a friend of mine was a keen fan of the ridiculously over the top performance Campbell delivers.

Director Alvarez has spectacularly failed to grasp that this was the best thing about the Evil Dead films, as the story itself was a load of nonsense.

What made them a cult hit was the outrageously quotable Campbell quipping his way through a series of ludicrously gory scenes, and Raimi’s inventive use of special effects on a budget.

All the horror was delivered with the devil’s tongue firmly in Campbell’s cheek; how else are you meant to play a scene where you cut off your own hand with a chainsaw because it’s turned evil?

And then continue to battle with your newly dismembered paw because it still wants to kill you.

Insanely, Alvarez has done away with any attempt at humour and played his Evil Dead straight up; which also means doing away with cult hero Ash and having a group of lobotomised young things queue up for their turn to die as horribly and gruesomely as you can imagine.

Of course, Evil Dead 2.0 is still bloody hilarious, only difference being this time the filmmaker’s aren’t in on the joke.

I could go on all day and night about how bad this new Evil Dead film is, so I may as well just draw a line under this review and pray to whatever deity’s are out there that the careers of everyone involved in making this film suffers as grisly a fate as most of the new characters they’ve created.

Maybe then, my memory of the original Evil Dead films can rest in peace.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2013