Monday, 22 April 2013

Evil Dead

Evil Dead’s not coming at the best time with horror remakes being Hollywood’s favourite area of decapitation, reminding us of old classics before insulting audiences with blatant lack of care and low grade performances. Hollywood’s newest ‘victim’, the reboot of cult classic 'The Evil Dead' however is bulked with encouraging crew members, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who previously helmed the original as director and beloved protagonist . With aims to transform the recent malnutrition of horror remakes, Evil Dead steers clear of its humorously dark original instead choosing to follow a far more sadistic narrative aimed to shock rather than entertain.

Differentiating itself from the off, Evil Dead provides a meaning for the characters presence at the, now iconic, ‘cabin in the woods’ being that, Mia, a drug addict is attempting to escape her old ways through a weekend of ‘cold turkey’ treatment. With a pact to keep Mia at the cabin in order to fully carry out her promise to quit, her four friends including her brother, David, encounter a strange smell upon arrival and discover that the source of the pungency is a flesh lined book riddled with a sadistic curse that once read unleashes evil onto the helpless Mia and her subsequent victims. Whilst this recent remake may be similar to its 1980’s counterpart in many ways, it also proves to be wildly different pouring not only a consistent flow of cash into the production but also an excess of blood, guts, sick and bile. Done primarily through practical effects, the film heavily benefits from this feature with every slaughter being whimsically graphic and intense, leading to most of the film being viewed with a quivering hand near to the irritable mouth. Despite this however a huge lack of genuine terror is felt with gratuitous violence seeming to take its place to a frustrating degree. As the film progresses and enough red liquid has splattered onto the screen to last a lifetime, boredom begins to seep in as eagerness to escape the intense theatre clouds your viewing ‘pleasure’.

With a huge influx of violence in comparison to the original, the comedy element has all but vanished being scarcely seen and is ill-managed when it eventually appears. Seen as an intelligent device in the old to balance on screen violence and personal enjoyment, the film suffers from a lack of this rarely poking fun at itself, simply turning to further violence to express its comedic ‘funny-bone’.  That said there are moments of hilarity, despite their clever disguise behind the red veil, with the film more laughing at its genre than its own narrative, working on a contextual level that undoubtedly momentarily entertains.

Being notably more successful than recent horror flops (*cough cough* Texas Chainsaw 3-D) Evil Dead certainly maintains the ‘video nasty’ reputation that the original proudly held, despite its clear faults. The gratuitous, almost slapstick type violence allows for breathing space in-between scenes of conscious decapitation and facial disfigurement, with the intriguing storyline playing out at the hands of satisfactory performances. Evil Dead is at its best, disgusting, dingy and disturbingly realistic, encouraging viewers to undergo a through wash prior to viewing, despite its lack of humour and simple enjoyment.

6.5/10- Furiously demonic Evil Dead is a fun enough ‘slasher flick’ that undoubtedly holds very little re-watch value.

Calum Russell

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