In the Book of the Dead, the barbed-wire-wrapped volume causing the fuss in
"Evil Dead" offers the core audience for modern horror plenty of reasons to jump, and then settle back, tensely, while awaiting the next idiotic trip down to the cellar beneath the demon-infested cabin in the woods. The most reliable jumper cable, cinematically, is the old trick you already know: the sudden appearance of someone or something, accompanied by that hackneyed metallic YeeeeeeUMMMMPPPP!!!! sound effect.
The movie's gore, meanwhile, goes straight to 11. Many dismemberings. Limitless liters of blood. The weaponry include nail guns, chain saws and crowbars. Nothing stops these evil dead. As in the original, one character suffers a grueling act of supernatural, plant-based rape. As in the original, the scene is offensive and throws you straight out of the movie in the name of upping the stakes.
Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez, making his feature debut, manages a shrewd narrative variation or two on the original. What's missing, though — by design — is the jaunty, kinetic exuberance of Raimi's visual approach. You can't remake a sense of humor. Alvarez may well have one, but it'll have to wait for the next project.
To its credit, the new "Evil Dead" takes seriously the recovering-addict plight of its central character, Mia, played well and fiercely by Jane Levy. The premise here is simple: Mia's drug problems, and her withdrawal, confuse her senses. Her brother and her friends have brought her to the cabin in the woods to cure her. But is she seeing visions of demonic possession, or is this simply the cold turkey playing tricks with her brain?
"Evil Dead" never had much plot, and never made much sense. The demon jumps from human to human, setting demonized human against regular human. But once inhabited and transformed, the demonized human can be confined to a cellar? Really? Not in my experience.
Back in the early Reagan era, Raimi upped the violence to improbable levels. The original "Evil Dead" went out unrated rather than risk the demonic X from the
Raimi and Campbell serve as producers on the remake, which