or “Requiem For a Deadite”
When it comes to remakes, I can generally leave or take. I don’t believe in “sacred cow” thinking, which can make peoples’ pubes bristle at the mere notion of a movie being “updated”, “rebooted”, “re-envisioned” or whatever synonym you like to label it. Though some tend to end with me regretting the time wasted watching them, I still make it a point to go into every one of them with the same limited expectations I give every movie that falls into my eyeballs. As such, let’s see if this experiment in cinematic cloning and gene-manipulation bears fruits or farts!
“Only the evil book can undo what the evil book has done!” – Nameless Appalachian Sorceress
Or some gasoline, matches, a shotgun and a chainsaw work too.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a group of friends head out to a secluded cabin in the middle of Hickfuck, Nowheresland for a weekend of R&R (in this case, “recklessness” and “rehabilitation”), only to discover the grimmest of grimoires while poking around in the basement. Unable to leave well enough alone, hipster dingleberry Eric decides that a book written in blood, bound in flesh, sealed with barbed wire and covered with warnings of “leave this shit alone!” would make for some good light reading. This deep-dish dumbass breaks the cardinal rule of NOT speaking the contents of a terror tome aloud, thus unleashing an entity of all-encompassing evil unto the world. Once one of the ladies is “forcibly inseminated” by the local fauna (yep, they kept the rapist tree stuff) in a graphically grotesque and greasy exchange that would make Smokey the Bear reconsider his stance against forest fires, the demonically possessed heroine gradually attacks the other members of the group, spreading the titular supernatural sickness like herpes from Hell. Eventually good living wins out over the evil dead and our solitary survivor walks off into the rising sun in a kinda-happy ending.
As you can see, as far as remakes go, Evil Dead sticks almost exclusively to the original’s formula. Much like the first movie was a far more serious delve into horror than its sequels, ED 2013 pulls WAY back on the comedy in favor of a gritty allegory for drug addiction and the mental illness it spreads to the user’s friends and family. Everything is brown and gray, wet, visceral, muddy and uncomfortable. It’s a budgetarily slicker modern production compared to its predecessor. The classic “first person camera phantom” gimmick of the Raimi original is also tossed in favor of giving the entity a physical form akin to Asian horror staple/trope “wet ghost girl with long dark hair and freaky eyes”. There’s even a very “split-faced woman” moment in the movie if you’re familiar with that particular urban legend. If Takeshi Miike made a Lifetime Original about heroin addiction and the Necronomicon, this is pretty much what you’d get.
All in all, if you’re looking for something new, you won’t find it here. It’s a remake for fuck’s sake, so you’re not gonna escape the “been there, done that” feeling. You could always just stick with watching the 1981 original, in that case. But, if you’re okay with a more depressing atmosphere, a less likable cast of characters, a couple of brief awkward tonal jumps, and you’re up for a few hours of horrific gore and violence that would activate Eli Roth’s gag reflex, then I can’t recommend ED 2013 enough!
Director Fede Alvarez could’ve done way worse as far as first time features go. He parlayed this success into the enjoyably sadistic Don’t Breathe and… the glorified fan fic adaptation, The Girl in the Spider’s Web… oof.
Oh, and here’s a trigger-warning in case my fellow lovers of the four-leggers need it: I’m sorry to say that our flick opts for the ultimate horror movie cheap heat by killing off the group’s lovable canine companion, Grandpa. Additionally, hillbilly witchcraft includes a lot more dead cats than Pumpkinhead would have us believe. You’ve been warned.
Moral of the Story: Ladies, if you’re gonna spend the weekend in a haunted forest, be sure to wear your Rapex. Trees don’t know the meaning of the word “no”.
Four copies of “A Farewell to Arms” out-of-Five
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