Holy potatoes, Batman! Crystal is writing a review for a movie. A movie! In what universe does this happen in? Because it sure as hell does not happen in this time and age… but here we are. No, this is not a video game review (those will come later), but movies are still relevant when it comes to the entertainment business, and since I plan on focusing on some major game reviews in the future, I am considering this as practice. There will be spoilers!
But to the point…
Horror is not anywhere close to being my favorite genre of films. I’m an action girl myself (insert jokes), but the occasional scare flick is always fun. The Evil Dead, based on Sam Raimi’s popular 80’s classic, cannot really be considered a step-by-step remake. There are changes. It washes out the old and brings in the new (if you can really call it that). But it keeps the foundation that consistently nods to the original. And if gore is what you are looking for, then you will have a blast watching this film.
David (Shiloh Fernandez) shows up to the ancient family cabin with his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) and his dog Grandpa to meet up with childhood friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), and his little sister Mia (Jane Levy) to help Mia with her nasty drug problem. After discovering a basement full of dead cats and a mysterious book, the story begins to unfold.
There is a tiny bit of backstory between Mia and David with mentions of their mother who passed away after succumbing to insanity. It seems that David was a no-show for that part of their lives, and while that fact could have created some necessary tension, it remained bland and served as a perfect dose of filler.
Things become intense after the book is opened, and for a moment, the fear is palpable. Are these events stemming from Mia’s struggle with withdrawals? It is obvious this is what the characters believe, even when things escalate from normal scary to demonic terror. But as the story grows and more characters die and become possessed, the movie shifts from a genuine scare flick to a massive gore-fest that managed to disgust me.
There is one thing that relentlessly bothers me in horror movies, and the Evil Dead is no different. The characters are dumb! I understand that if the usual stupid decisions do not occur, then there would not be a movie to watch, but for once I would love to see some actual intelligence fuel a story. David, while managing to be a tad bit likeable, is bland even while mourning the gruesome change in his sister.
Eric is the one that makes the worst decision of them all by opening the evil book. Not only does he pry the barbwire off, he ignores the skin wrapping and the warnings, discovers the ancient no-no words, and then reads them out loud. And even when he notices the similarities between the horrific actions taking place and the foretelling images in the book, it takes him forever to finally say, “Oh hey guys, I unleashed evil from that freaky book. My bad.”
Olivia is a nurse, and while I liked her take-charge demeanor, she made a dumb decision by choosing to isolate Mia inside a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Maybe a nice hospital or a rehab center would have been a better place to chill out, especially since she voices the fact that Mia had to be revived after an earlier overdose.
I have no idea why Natalie is even in this story besides the fact that she is David’s girlfriend. She is blonde, beautiful, bland… and dies. I at least wanted to see some sort of nice connection between her and David besides the fact that she came with him to the cabin. Instead, she became a nice character to kill off… maybe that is the only reason for her existence.
Mia almost becomes a likeable character. Almost. It is easy to view her as the ultimate victim in this story—suffering with a drug addiction and becoming possessed by that dirty old spirit of evil—but she rises as a champion in the climax. It was a nice twist, albeit a little corny since she had to be revived by David. I’m sorry… but if I’ve been jabbed in the heart by electrically charged needles, I’m not going to immediately hop back on my feet and be like, “Haaii bro, I’m all better!” But she does prove that she has some courage as she goes clutch against the evil that has infiltrated the area. She pulls off her own hand, wields a chainsaw, and bathes in some bloody rain to defeat the yucky spirits. Yikes.
Grandpa the dog should have been the hero of the story. Although when he was first introduced, I figured that maybe David and Mia’s grandpa had actually become a dog… or something. He’s smart and is the one that first discovers the cliché hidden door beneath the rug. Also, he is the only character that successfully conveys any believable emotion, and while his death does successfully pull the old heartstrings, he is the only character that should have survived.
On one hand I was impressed by the realistic gore conveyed on the big screen. And on the other hand… I was disappointed. The Evil Dead challenged other tortured-filled films by displaying enough gore to make anyone cringe, but they overdid it, and made me sincerely wonder if maybe they were poking fun of themselves in the process.
There was enough blood to fill an ocean, and one thing that really got to me was the fact that the characters were so insanely strong! They were so strong against the gruesome torture inflicted on them, some of it by their own hands, and I was immediately amazed by the stubbornness they exhumed in the midst of such horror, but it often made me laugh out loud.
Dismemberment, needles, face-slicing, nail-shooting, drowning, burning… there is so much torture pressed against these characters, but they continue on even while they bleed to death! Maybe it was because none of them had any brains in their heads telling them, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t be able to survive this,” but overall it introduced some wicked skin-stretching moments that successfully made my own stomach churn.
Overall, the Evil Dead is a normal horror flick: pretty people, death, and lots of gore. It had the potential to add some depth and become a character-motivated story, but even the emotional parts were stale and unsatisfying. The characters remain stereotypical, and while the possessed images were frightening, they were easily overshadowed by the exaggerated gore that transformed a scary movie into a nausea-inducing film of torture porn with nothing original to say.
The best part of the movie occurred after the end credits. So make sure you stick around for it.