Evil Dead – Film Review
Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, Shiloh Fernandez
by Dan Berlinka
Back in 1981, Sam Raimi’s low budget indie shocker The Evil Dead was (in some quarters anyway) seen as genuinely terrifying. A dangerous ‘video nasty’ – despite its quaint DIY effects and stunt double ‘Shemps’.
Now, just over 30-years later it returns. Remade and rebooted, with a bigger budget, glossier gore and fleshed out characters. Some of whom even have a proper backstory! But although this new version is certainly passable it lacks those elements that made Raimi’s original such a hold-your-breath-hell-ride. The kinetic camerawork, the sound design, the unabashed exploitation mitigated by humour and, dare I say it (yes I dare), charm.
“Nothing even comes close to the scares of the original”
Suburgatory’s Jane Levy is an engaging lead and there’s no stinting on the splatter. Fans of the original should stick around to the very end for a respectful nod to its progenitor.
Sure, remakes of genre favourites are always going to encounter resistance, but there are plenty of examples where later versions have equalled or surpassed their forebears. Carpenter’s The Thing, Cronenberg’s The Fly. Others, such as Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, take something great and at least give back something good.
But while we’re not quite in the depressing depths of the recent revisiting of say, Halloween, the biggest disappointment is not that Evil Dead fails (it’s entertaining enough if you like horror and are in the right mood), but that without the original’s brash fearlessness, there’s nothing that even comes close to the scares (“Jack of Clubs!” “We’re gonna get you…”) that made such an impact the first time around.