On Sunday night I finally, FINALLY had the chance to see the new Evil Dead. Any doubts I had upon first hearing one of my favorite films was being remade vanished as soon as I knew it was more of a gory ‘reimagining’ than a straight remake. No-one can do The Evil Dead like Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, but filmmakers are more than welcome to pay homage to them in a fresh and surprising way – which is exactly what Fede Alvarez has done with this version.
I didn’t read much before I saw it because horror films don’t tend to fare too well in review-land, and the one article I did read couldn’t even get Bruce Campbell’s name right so I figured most critics either wouldn’t get it or wouldn’t like it. The R rating meant we were ID checked about four times before we finally got into the cinema, but it also meant the movie was next-level shocking from start to finish. Amazing.
The premise is a little different to the original – this time the five friends are at a cabin in the woods to help their friend Mia through substance abuse withdrawals. When she begins acting panicked and a little crazy, they don’t seem to take it that seriously. The rest of the plot is much the same – they find the demon book, recite a passage and all hell breaks loose. The junkie element lends itself to some pretty crazy stuff being excused as simply the come down from drugs, rather than demons causing havoc.
I don’t want to spoil anything for people who might be planning to see it, but let’s just say the film is an assault on the senses in the best possible way. An absolute must-see for horror fans. There are so many genuine scares, mixed with some gruesome new shocks I had never seen done before. The special effects are pretty close to perfection and the score raises the terror to fever pitch. The final 20 minutes is an experience like no other I’ve had at the cinema before. It’s fright after shock after gore after laugh and you come away feeling like you’ve been through something. Something exhausting, but wonderful.