Seeing as Evil Dead finally comes to DVD/Blu Ray in the UK today, I thought I would finally get around to writing my review of the film. I managed to catch this in the cinema, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is a solid horror film, but I really don't feel it deserves much of the hype it seems to be getting. It certainly has none of the gonzo craziness or gore of the films on which it was based, but seeing as this is a re-imagining, and not a remake, I suppose some leniency must be given. That isn't to say it isn't gory. It certainly is, but it honestly features nothing fans of horror haven't seen before. Evil Dead is the first feature length film to be directed by Fede Alvarez. I am sure everyone knows the story, but I will still give a short synopsis, just in case.
Five friends journey to a cabin in the woods, and come across the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead). After reading passages from the book aloud, the friends unwittingly summon demons who manage to possess them one by one. So begins the friends fight for survival against the Evil Dead.
I enjoyed Evil Dead. I am a huge fan of the original movie, not so much Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, but I do still enjoy both of those films on occasion. After watching Evil Dead, it certainly gave me that post film buzz. I'm not sure whether it was the film, or seeing Bruce Campbell after the end credits (kudos must be given to one of my friends, who sat through the entire end credits with his legs crossed, desperately needing the toilet, but not giving in to the urge just so he could catch the cameo of Bruce Campbell). Nevertheless, after stewing over the film for a few months, many things became apparent.
The violence in the film is much more realistic, which should make it more shocking. Instead, I felt it fell rather flat, with each possessed teen mutilating themselves with anything they can get their hands on. There were a couple of scenes that nearly turned my stomach, and again, props must be given to the filmmakers for sticking to mostly practical effects, but the violence and demonic attacks felt too restrained. The film had none of the viciousness I had come to expect with all the hype the film was getting.
Another thing that left me a little disappointed was the look of the Deadites. They were nothing more than people with contact lenses in. After the gruesome look of them in past film, I would have thought more attention to detail would have been given to the look of the Deadites, but alas, it seems that the filmmakers weren't bothered about how they looked, choosing to focus more on the way they mutilate themselves. Again, this never came to me when watching the movie. It is only after looking back on it, and not really being able to remember any specific details about the movie that it becomes apparent just how easily forgettable this film is.
The film takes very little time to get going, and because of that, very little character development is given. Amazingly, this doesn't hurt the film one bit, as we are thrust into a demonic nightmare which leaves very little time for the viewer to catch their breath. Admittedly, the demons are relentless in their pursuit of the teens, and this does add something to the film. The ending was surprising, but again, the "Big Bad" just looked like a regular human. Not monstrous at all, which again left me disappointed. The fact it could lift a car, and yet be stopped by a chainsaw, sort of made it a hell of a lot less scary.
There are many nods to fans of the original, such as the aforementioned cameo of Bruce "The Chin" Campbell, and Sam Raimi's "The Classic", which is a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 buried amongst the trees among others. These certainly did manage to bring a smile to my face, as I am a sucker for nostalgia.
All in all, Evil Dead is a forgettable but fun ride, and a nice return to the violent cinema that we were treated to in the late 70's/early 80's, and has been absent for a long time. While it may not offer anything memorable, any crazy looking deadites or any memorable scenes of carnage (apart from the end), while viewing it, I loved every second. It's just a shame that nothing in the movie stuck with me. I am sure I will pick it up on DVD eventually, as the special features alone are worth the price of purchase, but I don't think it will be a movie I will be returning to again and again like I do with the original.