In the world of horror movies, no word can entice more anger or sighs than the word “remake”. These days when Hollywood is not churning out a cheap shaky-cam shocker like ‘Paranormal Activity’, it is also pointlessly remaking horror classics like ‘Halloween’ as property cash-ins. Needless to say, much cynicisms and speculation arose when it was announced that a reboot of 1981’s ‘The Evil Dead’ was in the works. The only factor that gave the proceedings any credibility was the involvement of original director Sam Raimi as producer. Unfortunately, it seems to be that the only reason Raimi approved of this remake was because it posed zero threat of topping his original.
Not necessarily a remake but still following the same framework as the original, the plot centers around a group of college friends spending a weekend at a remote cabin in the woods. However, in this 2013 edition the friends are also trying to help out their friend Mia with her drug problems (not that this matters since it’s dropped after the first 15 minutes). After finding and unwittingly reading a barbed-wire wrapped Demon book that practically screamed “DO NOT OPEN THIS!”, Mia gets possessed by a demon and thus insanity ensues. By insanity, I mean over-the-top gore, self-mutilation, possession, blood vomiting, stabbing, and characters making one bone-headed decision after another.
Although the original directed by future Spiderman trilogy of fame Sam Raimi starring childhood friend Bruce Campell was very low-budget with amateur actors, what made it a classic was Raimi’s raw kinetic creativity. While the original also had its share of blood and gore, but it also possessed a trashy Gothic atmosphere, intense cinematography, an un-predictable nature where anything could happen, and it’s underlying dark humor (which became more prominent in it’s sequels). This new one directed by Fede Alvarez boasts a bigger budget but seems un-interesting in offering compelling scares and instead cranks the gore up to 11. Alvarez dedication to making everything look wet and dingy cannot hide the yawn-inducing un-inspired direction and lack of energy.
Admittedly, the extra money was put good use since the gore effects are all practical with CGI only used for touch-ups. It all looks real and better looking, but it’s the only aspect of this remake that improves upon the original. Alvarez aims for a more serious and somber tone, but it only serves to remove the wicked fun of the original, reducing the proceedings to a joyless exercise in sadistic torture-porn. Plus the film borrows so many scenes and scenarios from the original that it at times feels more like a collage than a stand-alone film. The only original bone in this film’s body is it’s climax where it literally rains blood, but by that time it’s too little too late.
Once in a while there is a dime a dozen horror remake that does stand on it’s own, but it is not this one. Pointless and forgettable, this 2013 remake of a classic is all guts and no glory.