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Evil Dead Review: She-Banged by Hell's Bitch

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | April 5, 2013 | Comments ()


Jane-Levy-in-Evil-Dead-2013-Movie-Image4.jpg

We've seen enough horror remakes over the last decade to know which ones work and which don't. The ones that are successful are less interested in duplicating the plot of the original, and more invested in recreating the energy. Nobody can ever duplicate the energy of the original The Evil Dead: It was two childhood friends -- Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell -- and their family and friends, hump-slogging through a miserable shoot in a remote cabin with a meager $100,000 budget and the kind of inventiveness and originality that comes from the hopefulness and desperation of youth and ambition (the editing process of The Evil Dead, which Joel and Ethan Coen assisted on, famously inspired their first film, Blood Simple). But eager Fede Alvarez, making his feature directorial debut with Evil Dead, has the hunger and the sensibility, and comes as close as you could expect to replicating the energy of Raimi's original, albeit with a much bigger budget ($17 million), most of which was spent on fake blood.

Indeed, Evil Dead rains blood (literally): It inhabits every nook and cranny, it's in between every toe and skin fold, and it oozes out of every orifice in Evil Dead. It is a blood-drenched holocaust, and horror hounds and hoochies who gets their kinks from gore geysers and puncture wounds will be Priapistic for hours. How it managed to avoid an NC-17 is a mystery to me: it comes up to the line, smashes its skull against it, and then slices its jaw off with the cranial shards. It is beautiful.

Jane Levy, she of Suburgatory fame, is also outstanding as both the chain-sawing protagonist and the demonic she-bitch who offers -- literally -- a soul sucking blow job to her brother. Evil Dead misses the unhinged go-for-broke energy of young Bruce Campbell, but Levy's gleeful unrestrained fiendishness almost makes up the difference. She is magnificent, combining the ghoulishness of the The Ringer girl with the wide-eyed madness of Jack Torrance. There's a moment, in fact, where Levy's blood-drenched succubus climbs in between the legs of her female victim, takes a drink , and then slices her own tongue through the middle that is one of the most disgustingly fun scenes I've seen in a horror film in a very long time.

The story, more or less, is a straight-up remake of the original, with a few details modified, one of which is a marked improvement over the original. Here, Jane Levy plays Mia, a heavy drug abuser whose friends have brought her out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere to dry her out. Her estranged brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend also arrive for emotional support, and they're working toward keeping her in the cabin until she overcomes withdrawal symptoms. The setup better allows Mia's friends to dismiss her demon sightings and tree rape as the delusions of a cocaine addict trying to get it out of her system. But of course, they are not delusions: Her friend Eric unleashed hell when he opened the Necronomicon and stupidly, stupidly recited the incantations the book specifically told him not to recite. The recitations deliver the devil's estrogen into the body of Mia, and you can guess how a one of Satan's bad menstrual cycles transforms her relationship with her friends.

The rest of Evil Dead's cast is largely a collection of nobodies, plus the poor man's Paul Dano (Lou Taylor Pucci), but that's to be expected for the expendable roles. There is no Ash, only David (Fernandez) and he obviously pales in comparison to Bruce Campbell. I do appreciate, however, that Alvarez made no real attempt to reconjure the spirit of Ash Williams, shifting the focus away from the brother and on to Mia's journey through demonic possession.

Where Evil Dead falters, however, is in Alverez's overt nods to the original: While I appreciated the fan-service, it's better left alone when it serves as a reminder of Evil Dead's inferiority (this is especially true of a sequence in which David is thrown against the walls), but there are enough new wrinkles and methods of undoing to enliven the remake, and it's certainly more fresh than most of the other classic horror remakes over the years. Where it's better than the original is in the level of gore: Alvarez has taken bloodshed to Eli Roth levels and beyond, but along with Diablo Cody (who polished Alvarez's screenplay) he's also injected as sense of fun. It never achieves the level of fist-pumping greatness that Raimi's original does, but thee are certainly enough blithesome moments of hellish glee to make it worth your while.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • crispin

    1) There's zero sense of fun in this movie until the final 5 minutes. 2) The fact that Mia is a junkie is rendered pointless pretty quickly. 3) The actors, outside of Levy, are completely uncharismatic and are, frankly, horrible. 4) If Mia was such a risk, why did they leave her alone so much? 5) What was the point of the pendent? 6) Mia was left as a demon way too long. She went from unlikeable, annoying junkie to demon and then we're expected to cheer for her when she becomes "normal" at the very end? There isn't a moment where we actually get to like her, hence no payoff for her victory 6) The demonic voices were terrible and are trumped by the original. 7) What was up with the air raid siren in the score? 8) Torture porn is not scary 9) Just because something looks glossy and shiny doesn't make it better 10) Finally showing the "boss" demon in an Evil Dead movie better be good. It wasn't.

  • Anna von Beav

    *** SPOILERS AHOY ***

    So, I saw it. I'm glad I only paid the $6 matinee price, because I'd
    have been pretty goddamn disappointed if I'd paid full ticket price. I was quite disappointed enough as it was. It seemed like they were going to try to do something new with it (the drug detox thing, I thought, was an excellent *idea*), but then tried WAY to hard to hew to the original to make that part work. It felt like they were going for the serious horror movie, and then later tried to throw in a couple of "funny" things, which didn't work. The tree scene didn't work AT ALL, and they should have just left it out rather than try to do anything
    with it, especially at that stage of the film... it felt like it was there to just specifically be like "hey look we did the tree scene!", and that made it feel out of place. I didn't like the music for the most part. I HATED the opening scene, which was utterly pointless, and it annoyed me. I didn't like the tongue scene, because it felt like an excuse to have some hot horror girl-on-girl action, but it was shot poorly and you could barely tell what was going on. It literally took me nearly the entire scene to figure out that is was, in fact, supposed to be hot horror girl-on-girl. And I'm not really sure about how I felt about Mia being, essentially, both Cheryl and Ash, AND a little Ash from ED2. It made David's presence pretty much pointless, which is a shame, because if they'd worked a little harder on the detox story, that could have been terrific.

    On the up side: The gore was utterly over the top and deliriously great, and I loved that. I did like the way they handled the chainsaw thing. I did like the part where Mia was in the cellar peering out from under the trap door and Pointless
    Blonde Girl cut off her own arm, and I liked the twitchiness of the girls when they were possessed. Levy's maniacal laugh was super. The end credit sequence was nifty, I thought. Although the stinger was ... kind of silly. I mean, I heart Bruce Campbell to death and stuff, and I *wanted* to get behind it, but yeah. Silly. Overall, I guess I just found it uninspired, and really really REALLY wish they'd just gone more with the detox aspect and not tried so hard (and ultimately failed) to get so much of the original in there.That could have been such a great movie.

  • xFILESx

    Saw it this morning. Liked it very much. I just have one theory that no one has seemed to touch on...

    MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

    SPOILERS

    SPOILERS

    During the very first scene when everyone arrives at the cabin and David goes and greets Mia, did anyone notice how terrible and cheesy the acting and dialogue were just for that first scene or two? After that it was normal (quite good actually, especially from Levy).

    I think that clunky dialogue was actually an homage to the original, which as much as I love it, has some rough pieces of writing and acting throughout, though that is also part of its charm. I think the fact that everything was better after that scene is a reflection of how the writing and Campbell's acting improved steadily through the first movie and the series as a whole.

    It's also possible it was just a poorly executed scene, but it was just so noticeably bad, especially in contrast with the mostly solid acting of the rest of the movie.

  • crispin

    Those dialogue scenes STANK of Diablo Cody's stank.

  • AudioSuede

    I have to say, I really disliked the original Evil Dead, if only because it was so cheesy and ridiculous, and it was so clearly trying to be something it couldn't be, and when it turned out to be schlock, Sam Raimi told everyone it was a joke (it clearly wasn't) and birthed a career.

    So if that tempers the following statements at all, then I can't help it: This remake was superior in nearly every way (minus the unbearably worthless dialogue, which sounded completely unnatural even when demonic possessions weren't a topic of discussion). More importantly, it was the single most disgusting film I've ever seen, and I nearly vomited twice watching it, which no movie has ever come close to making me do before. Since that was clearly the intention of the filmmakers in its creation, I can only say that it was a resounding success. Whether I enjoyed the experience is another question I'm not suitably able to answer.

  • Skyler Durden

    How it managed to avoid an NC-17 is a mystery to me: it comes up to the line, smashes its skull against it, and then slices its jaw off with the cranial shards. It is beautiful.

    <soapbox>

    This gets an R rating, but Blue Valentine got an NC-17. NEVAR FORGET.

    </soapbox>

  • Shazza

    Actually it did get an NC-17 so they edited some stuff to get an R.

  • manting

    saw it today and Id say its in the B to C+ range. WIthout Bruce Campbell there is no Evil Dead. There is an odd endering quality about him that makes watching him take a beating awsome. I did like the heroines (ha) performance and the tweaking of the story but it lacks soul. Like remaking Enter the Dragon without Bruce Lee.
    Also Rami fans will notice the rusted out car in a few scenes - its the classic! I think its in every Rami movie except The Quick and the Dead.

  • PaulRingo

    Soul bearing time: Love Horror - hated Cabin in the Woods...I feel free!!!!

  • the_wakeful

    My roommate went to highschool with Levy, so he's going to have a hard time immersing himself in this movie, but I'm going to enjoy the fuck out of it this weekend.

  • ViciousTrollop

    I must be one of the only horror fans who doesn't like The Evil Dead (please don't kill me!). The gore really grossed me out. I can deal with a certain level of gore but nothing over the top. I wish I wanted to see this movie.

  • melissa82

    I'm the same - a few of my favorite movies are -the original versions of- Black Christmas, Halloween, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (when the first girl gets put on that hook, OMG...I still cringe thinking about it) none of which are overly gory.

  • mats19

    Serious question... how can you be a horror fan and not like gore? Not that they are solely one in the same but most of the great horror movies are gory? I'm even having a hard time thinking of a non gory/graphic movie that is horror that was good... can you give me an example?

  • ViciousTrollop

    Good question. The original Halloween? You don't see much blood.

    I have a problem with fake looking gore. The blood in The Evil Dead was all thick and gooey. Plus, there were all sorts of other bodily fluids that looked disgusting. That kind of thing just grosses me out.

    I can barely watch Quentin Tarentino movies because of all the over the top, fake looking gore.

    I like my murders to be realistic, ya'll.

  • PaulRingo

    Umm there are a bunch of horror movies that don't have gore - many that involve the supernatural have no blood whatsoever - like The Others or The Changeling - Rosemary's Baby - The Haunting of Hill House - Frankenstein - Dracula - The Ring - Insidious - Misery - The Orphanage - I mean that's just some...

  • PaulRingo

    Don't Look Now!!!

  • PaulRingo

    Session 9 - one of my faves has blood in like one scene...

  • PaulRingo

    All those Paranormal Activity movies all 17 of them!!

  • Fredo

    When you say the "original Evil Dead" are we talking about Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, which was itself kind of a semi-remake of the original (at least the first half)? I find that, when talking about it, most people say the "original Evil Dead" and refer to Evil Dead 2 and had no idea the first movie was nothing but outright horror -- no Ash quips and quotes.

  • junierizzle

    Ive thought the same thing. I recently watched the original Evil Dead and while it has it's charm it's not that great of a movie. I think people are recalling Evil Dead 2 as the classic.

  • AudioSuede

    That's the only explanation I can think of. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness are fun, campy, entertaining movies. The Evil Dead was a boring, plodding, cheesy, completely sick-for-sick's sake horror movie that everyone thought was a joke because it was so schlocky, so they made a sequel with a bigger budget that was basically a funny version of the first film. And, as they say, the rest (including Sam Raimi's entire film career) is history.

    Also, if anyone's hoping for great fun quotes out of this movie, they need to look elsewhere. Same if they've eaten in the last hour. It's all gore, all the time. I've never seen anything quite like it, but then, I don't know if I ever wanted to.

  • manting

    was at the premier at SXSW but couldn't get in - seeing it today at 1 pm after crim law class (which Im sitting in now learning about negligent homicide) Cant wait! Bring on them deadites! I want the gore from the windows to the walls.

    Am I mistaken or are you saying there was a re-animator like moment in the film? By that I mean deadite cunnilingus.

  • crispin

    There's no real "deadites" in the film. More like Reagan's from "The Exorcist".

  • JoannaRobinson

    Fantastic review, Dustino. Naturally. Though I agree with most everything you wrote, I also want to say that when I was watching Evil Dead I was unable to immerse myself completely in Alverez's world and it's all that bastard Joss Whedon's fault. A group of friends (including the brain, the jock and the cute...well Levy's not a redhead here unless you count the blood in her hair...) go to a cabin in the woods and recite the words. I know Whedon and Goddard were basing THEIR film on Raimi's, but in a post CITW culture, it was hard for me to shake all the snark of their satire from my mind.

  • junierizzle

    Same here. I'm recommending CITW instead of the Evil Dead remake.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Joanna, as a non-fan of the horror genre, I am completely confused by what the Evil Dead has to do with The Children In The Wilderness organization. Or did you mean the Canadian Institute of Treated Wood?

    http://www.childreninthewilder...

    http://acronyms.thefreediction...

  • abell

    You know, I didn't so much see CITW as being snarky about Evil Dead style movies (though that was certainly there) as an indictment of the people who watch them.

    Less, "look at how silly this is," and more, "look at how pathetic you all are, you sick fucks." Also a bit of, "what, you don't want to see a horror movie about merpeople?" (/spoiler)

  • John G.

    So has Whedon destroyed the horror movie genre? Or has he demanded that it be re-invented?

  • mats19

    Wishful thinking says re-invented... pessimistic realistic world thinking says destroyed for anyone with a brain?

  • Pamela Franck

    til I saw the bank draft which was of $8902, I be certain ...that...my sister was truly earning money part time from there labtop.. there neighbour has done this for only about eighteen months and resently cleard the mortgage on their home and bought a brand new Toyota. this is where I went. Big31.com

  • Jared Jones

    Could not agree more with this. CITW makes all other CITW-style films (minus the original Evil Dead, of course) just seem inferior in hindsight.

  • PaulRingo

    What other films do you consider to be CITW-style?

  • randomhookup

    I'm sensing a trend with your photos today.

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