Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Review: "Evil Dead" by Ben Foutch

Director: Fede Alvarez
Writers: Fede Alvarez, Diablo Cody,
Rodo Sayagues, Sam Raimi (original)
Stars: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Tayolr Pucci
Rated: R
Run Time: 91 min



Director Fede Alvarez set out to make a hard R modern version of a beloved cult classic and that's exactly what he delivers in Evil Dead. His blood splattered vision is easily a top tier remake among the growing number that have been flooding movie screens as of late and should cater to most fans of the classic franchise. In most ways it benefits from a modern production, but at the end of the day, it's just more of the same in a prettier (probably not the best word choice) package.

Much like the original, five friends set out to spend some time in a remote cabin in the woods. This time, the reason for seclusion is to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her drug addiction, after she nearly dies from an overdose. The group gets more than they signed up for when Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) unleashes an evil entity with a fetish for dismemberment and death by reciting a passage from a book bound by human skin, which he found wrapped in trash liner and secured by barbed wire (probably not the smartest idea). The entity possesses Mia and carnage ensues.

Aesthetically speaking, this delivers the goods; retaining the look, feel, and complete disregard for taste that you would expect from a franchise known for violent tree rape. The practical effects and character makeup are a demonic delight, and there is no lacking in the blood n' gore department. Chunky/bloody vomit is spewed about, limbs are severed, and faces are stabbed/ripped apart; nothing is left to the imagination. In short, it is a well executed, if not flawless trash horror film. Except, it lost some things in the process that made the first film so special - originality and character.  

From the painfully uninspired score to the criminal overuse of visual nods to the franchise, this seems to be content to lavish in the grimy toilet bowl of already-been-done horror tropes that continue to degrade the genre. At times it felt like Alvarez was trying so hard to gain horror cred by paying homage to apparent inspirations that he forgot how to think outside the box. Also, Diablo Cody was brought in to touch up some aspects of the screenplay, but I just hope she wasn't the one responsible for writing the profanely twisted demon taunts - one line in particular might as well have been ripped straight from The Exorcist.

Inspired moments of graphically twisted mayhem seemed too sparse between unnecessary and ineffective exposition, but maybe I've just seen too many of these types of films. To the uninitiated and die hard horror fanatics this might be one hell of a trip down gore town, as it is gleefully violent and offensive. For a first time directing gig, Alvarez proved to be quite competent in the genre, and to be honest, the finished product is a completely respectful and welcomed take on Raimi's legacy. It's just not as fun.