Evil Dead Movie Review
Remaking an iconic classic is dangerous business, even if the original filmmakers are on board as producers, but at least Uruguayan writer-director Alvarez has a few clever ideas up his sleeve. And a willingness to go gleefully over-the-top with the grisliness. But aside from a few gimmicky jolts, the film is never actually scary.
There are essentially only five characters in the story, which gives the actors a chance to find entertaining details along the way. Mia (Levy) is a drug addict whose three best friends (Lucas, Pucci and Blackmore) take her to her family's creaky old cabin in the woods to go cold turkey. They're joined by Mia's aloof brother David (Fernandez). But none of them know that locals have used the basement for a sinister ritual, and they left a creepy book behind that supposedly has the power to summon a vicious demon who wants to possess them all. So is Mia's freaky behaviour because of her withdrawal, or has something evil got hold of her?
This twist is rather clever, as it adds a level of mordant wit to the film, giving texture to the relationships between these five young people who we fully expect will begin to die horribly nasty deaths one by one. Indeed, what follows is an escalating series of blood-soaked set-pieces involving dismemberment and death at the sharp edge of any implement on hand.
Writer-director Alvarez tells the story skilfully, keeping the pace quick and the imagery slick, opting for realistic gore that never looks too digital. And his crew is seriously impressive, as the photography makes the most of every deep shadow, the editing is witty and snappy, and the musical score keeps us on edge. But even with all of the excessive violence, sneaky twists and false endings, the film is amusing rather than terrifying. We enjoy being shaken by loud noises and sudden edits, and it's fun to predict which person will get it with which knife/saw/nailgun. But there's never a moment of real suspense.