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“Evil Dead” [2013] – Early Review (POSITIVE)

April 2, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 10.49.27 PM1981. “The Evil Dead”. Starred the now fanboy favorite Bruce Campbell in his first starring role, directed by his best friend Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man” director), it was a movie Bruce couldn’t act to save his own life in, he’s clearly admitted in recent interviews. The original was a cult sensation, special thanks to the first kind words about the movie from Stephen King, which spawned the cultural interest during it’s heyday release. “The Evil Dead” spawned two beloved sequels, video games, and a Canadian stageplay musical! It’s a generational phenomenon, people LOVE the character of Ash, they LOVE the gore, they love the zany attitude, and they LOVE the camp factor.

For years, over 20 years, people haves asked the age old question, ‘When will there be an “Evil Dead 4”?’ Time and time again Sam [Raimi] has been able to sneakily dodge a formable answer to please his masses. That was until late 2011 when it was announced that Sam’s Ghost House Pictures would be making a NEW EVIL DEAD! The catch, it’s gonna be a remake. Cue angry fans (me) outcry! Nobody expected the creator to decide that his beloved film should be remade. People were certain this was destined to be another “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Friday the 13th” debacle. In comes new filmmakers, Fede Alvarez, the man from Uruguay, who’s the mastermind behind a YouTube short film which earned his notoriety called “Panic Attack”. That short accidentally earned him the title of director for the re-imagining of Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead”, Raimi himself hand picked Fede.

And so, this week will be the release of the newest incarnation of the deadite gorefest, “Evil Dead” stands its own ground, without being a complete carbon copy of the original. Fede & his crew manage to reignite that classic spark with a modernized twist that will shock, petrify, and terrify the masses, like the original intended to do so 30+ yrs beforehand. Like the original the movie is about a group of youthful 20-somethings heading up into a cabin in the woods, but unlike the original, their reason is to help a friend go cold turkey from drug addiction. David (Shiloh Fernandez), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Mia (Jane Levy), Oliva (Jessica Lucas), & Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) [spells out D.E.M.O.N] find themselves in quite a predicament, when Eric reads from the book of the dead releasing the angry spirits known as the deadites, possessing anyone with a heartbeat. Clearly Mia is the easiest target, but her weak disposition will turn her into a strong female protagonist in her the right to be called the series ‘New Ash’. The rest of the film is non-stop gore, jump scares, spooky sounds, and more jump scares than anyone can possibly handle.

Fede Alvarez has crafted something special here, for one thing, you have to admire him that he loves old school style filmmaking, when he said that there wouldn’t be a drop of CGI, he mean’t it. Everything and I’m certain that EVERYTHING was photorealistic. You wanna attract real scares? It MUST look REAL! That was the mentality going into this picture, and boy oh boy does it show. I was asking myself by the time David makes his way to the basement, ‘It can’t get any worse now’, HAH! Right! This is a ‘remake’ made by someone who actual cares, who’s passionate about the original just like any other fan and with the original films creators on set, Bruce Campell & Robert Tapert, the spirit is truly there.

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 10.48.46 PMNow the biggest question I know a lot of fans are asking, ‘Does Ash show up? And will there be a crossover film?’ Well…I’m NOT gonna spoil anything, but I will say this, stay for the post-credits scene. This possible crossover film they’re talking about seems inevitable at this point. Jane Levy is already signed on for “Evil Dead 2”, and Fede is hard at work scribing the sequels script. If Sam Raimi finally commits to this planned “Army of Darkness 2”, and if this new “Evil Dead” banks, I don’t see why we couldn’t see Ash & Mia team up with both chainsaws in hand, kickin’ major deadite ass. On the subject of Mia, Jane Levy who portrays her is PERFECT. She simply does the role complete and utter justice, when she’s Mia she’s fantastic, when she’s deadite Mia, she’s fucking terrifying! She’s Linda Blair’s possession on steroids, if that gives you a clear understanding at what I’m getting at.

If the movie lacked anything, it’s the missing humor, and that’s ok, I can live with that. Would it have been extra AMAZING if the classic humor was in there? Not really, the movie is AMAZING as it is right now. I loved every second of this film. It managed to expand on the Evil Dead-lore without having to go as far as the medeval ages to do so, LOL. The scares never stopped, the visuals will haunt me for quite sometime, and the audience reaction one of the best reasons to go see this movie. This is an ‘audience movie’, see it with big crowds, because their reactions make the movie, why do you think they’ve been doing the ‘Share Your Scare’ thing on YouTube since January? Smart marketing if you ask me. “Evil Dead” has taken my #1 spot for favorite movie of 2013 (so far), at second place is “Spring Breakers”.

GRADE: A

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