Evil Dead DVD Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Studiocanal
Directed by Fedé Alvarez
Written by Fedé Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues & Sam Raimi
2013, Region 2 (PAL), 91 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 12th August 2013
Jane Levy as Mia
Shiloh Fernandez as David
Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric
Jessica Lucas as Olivia
Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie
What’s riskier than making a Cabin in the Woods-style horror movie in the wake of ace genre dissection Cabin In The Woods? How about remaking Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead; a certified jewel in the horror crown and a movie beloved by fans and critics alike. Let’s be honest, Raimi’s splatter masterpiece is pretty much the Star Wars of our bloody little genre. Tampering with it would be like walking barefoot over hot coals: even if you make it to the other side in one piece, you’d still have burnt feet. There’s no doubt about it, an Evil Dead remake would be a risky endeavour indeed.
Clearly, Raimi saw something in Uruguayan filmmaker Fedé Alvarez that convinced him otherwise. Returning to the woods we meet Mia (Jane Levy), a twentysomething junkie who’s looking to kick her deadly drug habit once and for all. She’s joined by her three best friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) and estranged brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), all present for moral support. Plagued by dizzying withdrawals, things are made infinitely worse for Mia when the inquisitive Eric reads from a creepy book he found in the cabin’s basement, inadvertently releasing an ancient evil. As the deadites approach, Mia’s drug ravaged sanity is temporarily thrown into question. But when the demonic possessions, projectile blood vomiting and horrific self mutilations start to roll in the gang realise they’ve got bigger problems on their hands than Mia’s sobriety.
In recent interviews, Raimi has likened Evil Dead to a good campfire story. Something that could withstand slight changes and minor reinterpretations as it passes from mouth to ear and back again. That’s a nice little analogy for what Alvarez serves up. His Evil Dead is the same story we all know and love, just worded a little differently. The familiar beats (cellar demon? check), moments (severed hands? check) and crucial props (Oldsmobile? check) are all present - just filtered through a slightly different mind and shot through a new lense.
Alvarez is careful not to lop off any of the story’s crucial limbs (the spirit of Ash is divvied up between his cast) but at the same time doesn’t play solely to a fanbase either. There’s enough new stuff for his rendition to stand on its own ragged two feet however it never quite lives up to its impossible tagline of ‘The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience’. Will it have you flinching at some unspeakable body slicing acts? At times. But when the blood dries it struggles to rise above the ranks of any old modern supernatural horror and achieve the raw manic fun that made Raimi’s original so long lasting. Fedé Alvarez’s retelling won’t eat your soul, but it’ll nibble a good chunk of it off.
Video and Audio:
Both great, had no problems with either.
There’s a nice handful of extras on offer here, all in mini-doc form. Directing The Dead reveals insight on how Alvarez made his vision reality and constructed some of the film’s trickier effects. Evil Dead The Reboot is a great little behind the scenes glimpse chronicling the road from low budget original to controversial 2013 remake. Making Life Difficult recalls life on set, the Book of The Dead is dissected in Unleashing The Evil Force and Being Mia looks at the multiple faces and transformation of Jane Levy’s Mia. Oh and stick around after the credits roll for a groovy surprise...