What does a 454 big block, an amp that has a volume knob that goes to eleven, and the new Evil Dead all have in common? They are all balls-to-the-wall bad ass. Currently in film and television the zeitgeist is gritty reality, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but for those of us who are fans of the original movie, it is awesome to experience an over-the-top, completely unrealistic horror movie.
Evil Dead is a sandwich of bug nut crazy and gritty drama. The film opens with an intensity that pegs into the red. When I write intense, I mean cranked up to eleven. Seriously. What you see in the first five minutes of the movie really sets the levels for what’s to come. That’s why I cannot admonish strongly enough that you strap in and hold on tight.
Writer/Director Fede Alvarez then backs off, thankfully, to allow you to catch your breath. Here you are introduced to five twenty-somethings: Mia (Jane Levy), Olivia (Jessica Lewis), David (Shiloh Fernandez), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) who have come out to the secluded cabin to help Mia quit her heroin addiction, cold turkey. The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis is found, passages read, and strange things start happening—to Mia.
Quitting cold turkey can lead to disturbing behavior, so Mia’s friends are understandably incredulous when she starts going mad. As you know, or could guess, from here on out it’s just a matter of how many of the five are going to die before they realize that the twitching, blood shot eyes and explosive vomiting are more than just symptoms of her detox.
Without ruining anything, by the time they catch on there is so much feces on the fan that it is completely lost under a metric-ton mound of muck.
Evil Dead is a fan movie. That is, it’s made by a Evil Dead geek, for Evil Dead geeks. If you are a fan, you will enjoy this movie. If you enjoy gore, this is a movie for you. If, on the other hand, you expect a little more than sensationalism from your movies this does have some flaws. First, the gritty reality slows down the film, and juxtaposed to the sheer intensity of the gory parts, the film feels disjointed and uneven. Second, the self-reference, the parts that the geeks will slobber over, can be a bit much when looking at the film critically. I am absolutely one of the window-licking geeks when it comes to Evil Dead, and the little kid in me loved all the call backs to the original movie. But, and there’s always a but, there were so many that rather than being a nice homage, it was as if Fede was too scared to allow his version of the movie stand on its own. The tributes were like training wheels on a Harley.
Thankfully Bruce Campbell does not make a cameo in the film. Ash is without a doubt an icon, but he is best left to the original. If he had been in this film it would have been too much, and even he admitted so himself in the Q&A following the film. This is something new, and as such deserves a clean start (which is why the amount of homage can be bothersome). Mr. Campbell loved working on this film as a producer. Besides, he’s ready to let someone new, and younger, take all the buckets of blood and yuck to the face. I can not blame him for that.
Speaking of the Q&A, just so you know, Fede Alvarez is already working on a script for a sequel—and, no, Bruce Campbell will not be in it, either.
Evil Dead is sick, intense, gory, puss-filled joy ride of a film, made by and for people who loved the original film. Taken in those terms this movie absolutely rocks. When available, this DVD will live proudly on your shelf next to the originals.
Evil Dead will be in theaters April 5th (US) and April 19th (UK). Watch out for another review of the new Evil Dead movie coming soon!
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