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Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead (2013)

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Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci.

Running time: 1hr 31 mins.

Directed By: Fede Alvarez

Dismemberment – Oxford Dictionary says 1.Cut off the limbs of (a person or an animal)

Fede Alvarez the Uruguayan director given the responsibility in rebooting the Evil Dead franchise is a veritable rookie, virtually unknown. According to his Wikipedia page, Ghost House pictures secured his services after watching Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!) In 2009 after he released it on YouTube. With over 7.5million hits for a five minute robot disaster movie, they felt he had bigger potential and so came the Evil Dead reboot. Working alongside Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, Alvarez brought his own vision to the franchise. This is his reimagining of the events of the first movie.

Many fans were worried that it wouldn’t hold up to the original, and it shouldn’t be compared to the original as it stands on its own two feet and has its own identity. This review is based on what I watched and not compared to the original. On numerous occasions, he references the source material, none more striking than the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, the same car Raimi used in the original movies as well as featuring in a number of his other productions. Given a budget of 17 million dollars, the movie took in just over 97million in its total theatre run domestic and foreign, ensuring a fantastic start to his Hollywood career courtesy of a terrifyingly bloody mess.

And what a bloody mess it is, five twenty-something’s go out to a remote cabin in the woods to help Mia (Levy) go cold turkey in her fight against drugs. Our main protagonist is her brother David (Fernandez). When they find a book of the dead, Eric (Pucci) unwittingly releases a demon which possesses Mia and creates a series of events that none may walk away from.

The movie opens to a possession scene and shows us that this is a tale of possession, and pretty quickly we see the tone that is set for the rest of the movie, and it’s not pretty. The characters are all introduced, and a connection to them is built as we find out more about them and Mia’s attempt to clean up her drugs problem. “Promise me you’ll stay with me til the end” she asks her brother, to which he replies “I promise, or hope to die”, a nod to the impending carnage that awaits them all.

The cabin in the woods idea has been done, to death, but this is somehow refreshingly different. The cabin is painted here as a hell hole, contaminated by death and decay, Alvarez’s use of darkness and shadows looks well and adds to the ambience of the movie, mixed with Mia’s hopelessness it reeks of no return.

Eric finds the Necronomicon  (book of the dead) in the cellar and begins to read it, and by decoding it he unleashes the dormant demon as Mia tries to leave the cabin, and gives us our second big set piece of the movie, her possession is an amazingly visceral scene, involving a black tarrish substance entering her in a dirty, grimy, invasive to watch way. When she returns to the cabin, the real fun begins as the innocent group have no idea what has just been unleashed.

One by one each character witnesses the demon, all the while the level of violence and horror ramps up, and does not cease until the end of the movie, no body (or limbs for that matter) is safe. The group fights to understand what is happening to them and how to stop it before they all end up dead. Practical effects are used where they can be, and it works providing many moments of head turning horror and gore that those of a squeamish way will certainly not appreciate. Let’s not wrap this in cotton wool, people lose pieces of themselves in horrific fashion, simple house utility tools become weapons of mass destruction in the hands of this demon.

The twisted demons machinations provides for a horror thrill ride of gory proportions as our heroes try to understand what is happening. Once the blood begins to flow it really doesn’t stop, culminating in the heavens opening up and pouring down blood rain. Supposedly the production team went through between 50,000 and 70,000 gallons of fake blood on the set.

In one chilling scene, we are made to witness as one of the characters is forced to remove one of their arms to prevent certain possession, and it is glorious in its execution, its actually quite difficult to watch but props to the special effects guys, as also for the rest of the effects in the movie, some very good gore and bloodletting sequences completed that really give the movie some talkative points over a pint or two after watching it.

I really enjoyed this movie, it’s been awhile that a horror as graphic as this has been played in our local cinema. It is immensely violent, crude, and visceral. There is a lot of blood and mutilation, and Jane Levy steals the show as the possessed Mia (She wasn’t even first choice for this role, and I find it difficult to imagine someone else in the makeup).Playing a psychotic evil demon spouting obscenities and crude language one minute and whispering sweet gentle nothings the next. Her range is fantastic and I hope to see more of this actress. This is how horror movies should be, going for the blood and shock factor and if reports are to be believed there will be a follow up to this.

My main annoyance with this movie is the end sequence, it kind of finishes and then finds a second wind that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the movie, giving it an action based climactic ending that tries to put a neat bow on top. Overall it didn’t affect my opinions of the movie as a whole, it just didn’t feel right. If blood and gore is what you want in a horror then you get plenty of bang for your buck, or in this movie’s case, slice n dice for your buck!

It has just been announced that Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights has included an Evil Dead maze, based on this movie, if it’s even half as good as the film then it will be quite the ride!

If you have an opinion on the movie or my review, feel free to comment below!

What I liked? :  Blood, gore, the kiss scene, amazing special effects, great Jane Levy performance, waiting after the credits for something for the fans.

What I didn’t like? : The ending, some of the twists, lacked a bit of humour to catch our breath.

Al’s rating: 8/10