Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Evil Dead 2013 Review

         So just how Evil are the Dead this time around? Not evil enough, in this humble man’s opinion. Some atrocious acting aside, the fiery opening gave this film a sense of promise. It sorta reminded me of the opening of Drag Me to Hell, so extra credit. And certainly, the atmosphere surrounding the cabin itself was sufficient.

Unfortunately, that (for me, anyway) is where most of the goodwill and positivity it generated gets squandered.

There aren’t many people who will claim that the acting in the original was Award-winning. But there was a chemistry among them that not only made you look past the slightly strained performances, but also made you sympathize with the 5 of them. Least of all poor Ash, who endured traumas both physical AND psychological.

          Aside from Mia, I cannot say the same for virtually all of the other cast members. Mia’s brother, David, gives a ‘performance’ that I can only charitably call a lesson culled from the Tom Welling school of acting. For those unaware (and bless your hearts), that basically means you stand there, brood, look like you belong in a WB, er, PIX show, and display absolutely ZERO emotions of any kind. David’s girlfriend, Natalie, MUST have incurred the wrath of the writers, much less evil spirits. If she were any more underwritten, she wouldn’t exist. I have a very hard time recalling ANYTHING she said. The other couple, Olivia and Eric, fare only a tad better. Olivia is portrayed at first as THE very ‘concerned’ friend who wants to help Mia kick her heroin addiction (which, by the way, I will give credit for, as it is a nice departure from the standard ‘Let’s go to the woods and get fucked up’ formula), but very quickly is portrayed and performed as a snooty girl who simply knows what’s best for her friend, consequences be damned. And Eric? It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to see someone die onscreen, and early on at that. Obnoxious doesn’t begin to describe him. Now if the writers were intending to give us slasher movie fodder characters, then they wildly succeeded. But since it appears they wanted us to REALLY like them and not want any of them to die, then my advice is this: next time don’t make them so thoroughly unlikable that audience members are vehemently rooting for their demise.

          Another quibble I have is the film’s complete and utter disdain for its own set of rules. Heading into SPOILER territory, the book states that once 5 souls are possessed, the sky will rain blood and an evil creature of some kind will be unleashed upon the Earth. 4 were possessed, but David instead chose burning down the cabin, with himself inside it, instead. And Mia managed to beat the possession, so really they only claimed 3 ½ souls. The blood rained anyway. Which, incidentally enough, brings me to the positive side of this movie.

          Obviously, the blood and guts HAD to be a significant draw in this movie. It’s one of the ingredients that made the original so great. It’s a good fallback, admittedly: if everything else fails, as it did, then the crimson works will undoubtedly right the ship. 

And on that front, it DEFINITELY delivered. Third-degree burns, sliced faces, arms hacked off, hands crushed, needle stabbings, and, of course, the ubiquitous chainsaw-ing. I was a happy gore-hound as the red stuff flowed and flowed beautifully. One of the more inventive and legit b&g shows I’ve seen in a while.

          However, as the saying goes, too little too late. I applaud and respect that the makers attempted to build their own mythology, as it were, rather than aping from the original (though there are a few instances of that). It is ultimately, though, a flawed effort. A cabin I don’t really feel any desire to revisit anytime soon.

Rating: 2.5/5

EDITORS NOTE: This review does not reflect the opinions of everyone at Video Business Media.

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