Alvarez’s remake of ‘Evil Dead’ gives series new life while capturing its soul

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If you are a fan of the “Evil Dead” franchise, then you should know that the movies are not supposed to be exactly terrifying. Well, for the most part.

The original “Evil Dead” came out more than 30 years ago, and it was instantly considered one of the most original horror films in modern history.

Although it was supposed to be a straightforward horror movie, it became famous for being a dark, somewhat absurd comedy because of its hammy acting, low-budget special effects, and excess of blood and gore.

Despite all this, it still managed to be a thrilling ride from beginning to end.

Fast forward to 2013, and you’ll find the new “Evil Dead” manages to capture the spirit of the original while updating it for a 21st-century audience.

It centers on a young, 20-something woman named Mia, who travels to the middle of the woods to meet a few friends and her estranged brother, David.

In the original, a group of friends went to the woods for fun, but the writers were smart enough to know that no one does that anymore. Mia is a struggling heroin addict, and her friends are there to help her kick the habit cold turkey.

Since this has failed before, they figure isolating her in an old cabin with no escape would be the best option.

Without the supernatural elements that come in later, it is already horrifying to watch Mia try to beat her addiction and go insane. Actress Jane Levy captures the mannerisms of a drug addict perfectly, trembling as she pours her supply down a well and screaming to go home in a way that scares you, yet makes you feel sad for her.

While all of this is going on, one of her friends, Eric, finds a book wrapped in barbed wire in a basement filled with evidence that some sort of witchcraft happened in there.

Out of curiosity, he takes the book to a room, cuts the wires, and reads a passage from it.

Of course, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

One by one, the cabin dwellers turn into possessed, zombie-like creatures who only intend to torture, kill, and yell insults, starting with Mia. Everyone else thinks it’s just her going insane, until the next person transforms, then the next.

What happens until the end is a blood-soaked, frenetic freakfest as the remaining humans try to end this terror once and for all.

Rotten Tomatoes said that this movie lacked the absurd comedy of the original, but I beg to differ. Maybe it’s because I am a fan of the original, and could spot a few references here and there, or notice when it was supposed to be kind of campy.

However, there’s no way this movie could be a straightforward horror movie when one of the first crazy scenes features Mia throwing up blood in way that looked like Aubrey Posen in the beginning of “Pitch Perfect.”

The creatures are similar to the girl from “The Exorcist,” but on crack. Every shot of action is at a twisted angle that heightens the suspense.

Duct tape is used to try and repair everything, including dismembered body parts.

After all this craziness, I walked out of the theatre realizing that the director did what so many others have failed to do with remakes: he made it his own, while still capturing what made the original so good in the first place.

And as to that, I would like to say that he did a pretty groovy job.


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