Evil Dead (2013)

Summary:

Evil Dead achieves gory fun in this expertly paced descent into madness and horror. Dark humor, likeable characters, and an interesting story helped keep the movie from being too much of a gross out film and more of a memorable ride that’ll keep you invested from start to finish. Acting can be stiff but there is enough meat to the story to make up for the weaker aspects of the performances. Jane Levy is a standout that nails the junkie persona and is able to deliver a creepy demonic performance. The decision to stick to practical effects is highly rewarding and shows that excessive CGI isn’t needed to make a good movie. Evil Dead may not be the most terrifying movie you ever see but it is one of the goriest. 

Boasting to be, “the most terrifying film you will ever experience,” the Evil Dead released to theaters nation wide this past Friday. I’m a newcomer to the Evil Dead franchise and I purposefully held off watching the originals to be able to approach this review without nostalgic memories of the older movies.  It’s safe to say that the 2013 rendition of Evil Dead has secured me as a fan and is easily one of my favorite horror films in recent years.

evil-dead-poster-hi-res

 

Evil Dead tells the story of a group of friends who have ventured out into a cabin deep in the woods in an attempt to help their friend recover from drug abuse. Eventually one of the friends stumbles onto an evil book that despite numerous warnings is unknowingly used to summon an evil force from deep within the woods.

The thing I like the most about Evil Dead is that it wastes no time getting straight to business. The movie is expertly paced with just enough exposition between scenes to keep things moving as well as interesting. The movie is only an hour and a half long but it works well and I felt like it was neither too long nor too short. The characters do seem to luckily jump to accurate conclusions but it’s a fault I’m willing to forgive in favor of the rapid descent into horror and madness.

Reading Book

Evil Dead may not be the most terrifying film you will ever experience but it’s easily one of the goriest movies I’ve seen lately. I’ve often talked about my distaste for the new wave of torture porn and blood baths that seem to dominate most modern horror movies but there’s enough care and attention to detail in Evil Dead to make it great entertaining fun. The movie featured scenes that pushed me far past my comfort zone and left me cringing in my seat as the characters were relentlessly subjected to brutal forms of pain and torture. The opening scene sets the tone for this horror film and the terror only gets exponentially worse for the characters and better for the audiences. Dark humor, likeable characters, and an interesting story helped keep the movie from being too much of a gross out film and more of a memorable ride that’ll keep you invested from start to finish.

The story is simple but there’s enough meat to it to be interesting. I loved the idea that the friends were out there as a way to guide Mia through her drug abuse instead of the group being another set of dimwitted teens out to party. There’s a lot of deep seeded aggression among the group, especially between Mia and her brother David. David grappling with abandoning his sister and mother while the mother lay terminally ill is a moving story arc that provides some rewarding emotional growth and resolution. There are plenty of story hooks like this among the characters that aren’t really expanded on making it easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

Of course there are a few minor set backs that the film faces. It could be chalked up to personal preference but the audio effect they use for the demonic voice is more laughable than terrorizing. It could be a carry over from the previous films but as a new comer it was pretty humorous. The dialogue didn’t do it any favors for both the demonic voices and the other actors. Acting is somewhat stiff in this movie and delivery can be awkward. The performances are earnest though and it’s easy to forgive given the fun horror nature.

Mia

Jane Levy is the strongest of the group and provides a performance that is insanely creepy. Her demonic portrayal stuck with me after the film and left me with an overall creepy feeling. Levy nails the addict persona and watching her transformation from caring but unfortunate junkie to demonic hell spawn is a tragic journey.

Despite the moody atmosphere the cinematography captures the beauty of the haunted forest and the decaying cabin in a way that makes this film visually pleasing. There’s a scene early on in the film where David’s jeep is crossing a low river bend against a dark forest backdrop. It’s beautiful, breathtaking and shows the quality and care for this film.

The decision to stick to practical effects (touch ups aside) is a decision that is highly rewarding and made for a believable movie. The decaying flesh and yellow tainted eyes of the deadites looked great on screen and served their purpose as hair raising evil figures. Watching buckets of blood spill from wounds, mutilations, and dismemberment is sickeningly satisfying and will please those with a penchant for gore.

There’s an undeniable quality to the film that shines in this movie. Although I haven’t seen the other movies I know enough from general pop culture to be able to point out the numerous references to previous films. Evil Dead may not reinvent the wheel here but it takes modern horror and executes it wonderfully.

Woods

Evil Dead achieves gory fun in this expertly paced descent into madness and horror. Dark humor, likeable characters, and an interesting story helped keep the movie from being too much of a gross out film and more of a memorable ride that’ll keep you invested from start to finish. Acting can be stiff but there is enough meat to the story to make up for the weaker aspects of the performances. Jane Levy is a standout that nails the junkie persona and is able to deliver a creepy demonic performance. The decision to stick to practical effects is highly rewarding and shows that excessive CGI isn’t needed to make a good movie. Evil Dead may not be the most terrifying movie you ever see but it is one of the goriest.

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3 responses to “Evil Dead (2013)

  1. Great review. It’s really interesting to see what someone with no pre-existing ties to the series thinks of this instalment. I’m glad to hear it’s able to bring new fans into the fold.

    You’re right about the voices of the Deadites being a throwback to the original. They’re almost like a kind of Gremlin that possesses people, gets them to do messed up stuff, and constantly taunting those they haven’t possessed yet. So their impish voice works well, in my opinion, but I can easily see your point.

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! I figured a fresh perspective could give a clearer review as well as determine how accessible it is to new fans.

      I think it might have been more in the delivery as well as some of the dialogue. It almost sounds as though it’s sped up which just kind of kills the mood. But being a throw back the original I can appreciate that aspect as well.

  2. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of July 15 | Thinking Cinematic

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