It takes a lot of balls for filmmakers to go through the difficult task of remaking a cult classic film. Horror films especially. The fans are loyal and fierce. It’s imperative to present something fresh to hook the new viewers and the hardcore fans. I for one cannot even begin to tell you how much I detest the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Robert Englund has my heart and the CGI effects turned me off. With the right cast, direction, and polished scriptâ€¦. It’s possible to make a successful remake. I sit on the fence with this attempt. The nods to the original are very subtle. If they had put half as much attention on the script that was spent on the buckets of blood and effects, I’d walk away saying I loved it. However, I can tell you that where the film fails, the cinematography and blood splatter make up for in visual glee and wall-to-wall effects. Extraordinary sound design helped to build the tension with the eerie, spine-curdling voices.
Slightly similar to the original, a group of young adults come together at a small cabin in the woods to perform the worst intervention I have ever seen on screen. Mia (Jane Levy) is off to a promising start until the horrors of the netherworld are unleashed and consumes her soul. Her friends and brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) dismiss her strange behavior before transforming the group into maniacal creatures much like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
It’s silly going to see a horror film with TBS promos, complete with a mixed crowed of youngsters who likely have never heard of the original and scream every five minutes through the entire duration of the film. The TBS promo was followed by more annoying promos. Skip to the horror trailers; Bates Motel, some typical ‘end of the world’ action flick that looks like it was directed by Michael Bay, You’re Next, The Conjuring, The Purge, and the Carrie remake.
Finally, The Evil Dead begins with a disappointing intro. This is easily the worst part of the film. A young girl is running for her life in the woods wearing a white nighty while it’s pouring rain. She’s captured and taken back to the cabin where her father burns her to death after she tells him that she will rip out his soul. They failed to follow up on this story and bring everything together. There’s no telling how long this happened before the intervention begins. Unless I just wasn’t paying attention and missed something. We see drawings in the Book of Dead that are related to this part of the story line but it’s poorly executed.
Some time in the future, the heroine intervention begins and the smell of rotting cat flesh leads to the bloody cellar door where the Book of Dead lies. One drop of blood awakens the demons and all hell breaks loose. Once Mia’s possession begins, the film’s pace picks up significantly. Limbs are detached. An unholy amount of blood upchucked. Chainsaws are graphically splitting demons in two. One girl carves her own lower face off with broken glass. There’s a merciless nail gun attack. Alvarez even pays tribute to the original’s infamous forest rape scene. The audience cringed and screamed on several occasions. I remember a knee slicing that seemed to turn heads from disgust.
First time director Fede Alvarez managed to bring endless ferocity and violence to the screen to keep gore hounds pleased. I hope he expands on his filmmaking talents and brings us something fresh in the near future. The Exorcist was clearly an inspiration for this remake with cheesy lines like, “Kiss me you dirty cunt,” after one of the possessed slices their tongue in half and forces it down another girls throat. The audience seemed to laugh the most when Mia is levitating and delivers the films cheesiest line, “You’re all going to die tonight.” Being a huge Juno fan, I expected more out of Diablo Cody. Where is all the sarcastic, dry humor from this former stripper?
Many will not be able to recognize the cast. I saw a few recognizable faces. Jane Levy is a remarkable actress. She has a recurring role as Mandy Milkovich on Shameless. Levy is so talented, she makes it so easy for me to hate her character on my new favorite TV show. When it comes to breaking down in front of the camera, it’s easy for her to hit the on and off switch although I have to point out that she had several bats in the cave and by that I mean boogers. Lou Taylor Pucci is easily the most likable character in the film. With his fears of becoming the devil’s bitch and one-liners, “She just cut her fucking arm off.” Jessica Lucas is a natural beauty who I recognized from Cloverfield.Â Dead Girl’s Shiloh Fernandez did nothing special for me and I am not familiar with Elizabeth Blackmore.
Lets take a look at the comparison from the original and the remake. Even though the remake obviously boasted far more values than the original, it’s hard not to forget the 1981’s charm.