“I just don’t wanna become the devil’s bitch.”
Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin far away from civilization. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons patiently waiting for the chance to manifest themselves in the mortal world. They were warned not to read from the book, but now it’s too late. Now they must fight like hell to survive the night or succumb to a fate far worse than death.
In 2011, the decision was made to remake one of my all-time favorite movies ever made: Evil Dead. This news was not received very well by yours truly. An Evil Dead movie without either Sam Raimi or the great Bruce Campbell involved? This was my response:
I didn’t care if the makers were fans of the original or not. I didn’t care if they were going to go with all-practical effects instead of any kind of CGI. In my mind, there was no justifiable reason whatsoever to remake, reimagine, reboot–or whatever other buzz word they’re using nowadays–this classic in the horror genre. So, it was clear that I was not only going to be watching this whatever-it-is of Evil Dead, but I was going to take some perverse pleasure in watching the flaming reviews on this when it came out.
But then…then, I began reading the various reviews, stating that the Evil Dead remake (or whatever) was actually…not bad. Pretty good, in fact. From sources that I was expecting scathing venom from. So…maybe it was worth a watch. But, I still waited a while after it was released on DVD to give it a go. I had my principles, after all.
Anyway, what I was trying to say through all of this was, I was ready to check this out, to give it a chance to either impress me, or fill me with rancid bile. And so, I did. Trust me, I wanted to not like this Evil Dead with a passion. Like with the Night Of The Demons remake, I pressed play daring it to impress me.
Aaaaaand…*sigh* okay, I concede. This updated take on Evil Dead was actually pretty good.
The first thing I want to point out is, the story line is very much its own entity. It doesn’t just carbon copy the first one, substituting young, nubile actors who look like they were developed in a eugenics lab doing the usual shtick. Well, they are, but at least the story involves a bunch of kids gather together in the famed cabin to help one of them kick their heroin habit cold turkey*. While setting up for the stay, they of course stumble upon the Necronomicon in the basement, this time with a bit of a different look but still rather creepy cool and effective, there. It’s wrapped in what looks like black plastic and tied off with barbed wire, so obviously one of the group had to open the thing up take a gander. And all the first pages with the big, bold DO NOT OPEN THIS UP! AND IF YOU DO, DON’T READ IT OR SAY ANYTHING OUT LOUD! warnings are met with a chuckle and “pshaw” from the hipster, who proceeds to do just that, which leads to the junkie getting possessed by the Evil Dead. Junkie Girl starts exhibiting odd and erratic behavior…which everyone chalks up to the withdrawal process. Of course, things escalate when she proclaims that everyone is going to die that night, before going full-blown Regan-from-The-Exorcist on their collective butts. Next thing you know, each one of them is being mutilated and taken over by that evil force that book has conjured up, and it’s up to Junkie Girl’s brother to try and stop the thing from destroying everything. Wackiness—and an ending showdown which really dropped the ball by not including Slayer’s “Raining Blood” as the music—ensues.
All things said, I didn’t really get the feeling that this was a remake of Evil Dead; really, more of a supplemental continuation of the Evil Dead mythos, maybe? Like one of those Legends of the Evil Dead or something. Call it what you want, though, this Evil Dead was indeed a very well-made and well-executed horror flick that pulled no punches, and really went that extra mile where all other modern horror movies that make it to the cinemas nowadays would have petered out around the PG-13 mark. There were homages, yes, and you could tell that the makers of this were fans of the originals, but it remains that this Evil Dead is its own entity that surprised me pleasantly.
Mind you, the originals are the best. But with this Evil Dead, it’s worth checking out without feeling embarrassed about it.
[*= it occurs to me that, this is the second horror movie that I have watched in less than a week that involves bad things happening while trying to detox from heroin…what kind of message is that sending, I wonder?]