Friday, 19 April 2013

Review: Evil Dead (2013)

World of Blackout Film Review

Evil Dead (2013) Poster

Evil Dead (2013)
Cert: 18 / 91 mins / Dir. Fede Alvarez

"There's no school like the old school, and I'm the fuckin' headmaster..."
Lenny Cole, Rock'n'Rolla, 2008

Wise words indeed, and director Fede Alvarez has well and truly taken a leaf out of Sam Raimi's book for this exhilarating, and thoroughly old-school, horror flick. The Evil Dead remake boasts a near constant intensity that I haven't felt in a long time, and manages to pull off supernatural-horror without it seeming silly at all. Most of the dark humour of the original has gone, and while the story setup is broadly the same, it comfortably becomes its own film in a short amount of time (despite several Easter-Eggs and references to ED1 & 2).

The greatest thing for me, is that Evil Dead doesn't feature (or even reference) the internet, mobile phones or ropey CCTV setups. While it's still unmistakably "modern day", there's nothing to suggest which decade the story is taking place in (80's, 90's, 00's), lending it an almost timeless quality. On top of this, whereas the fright-technique of the 21st century seems to be 'close-up… quiet… quiet… quiet… LOUD!' in almost every recent ghost and slasher flick, this features none of that nonsense. There are quiet moments, but it's not a loud bang that scares you, it's more likely to be a very still shot of someone whose face you can't quite see, speaking in a voice that isn't quite theirs.

Alvarez's determination to stick-to-the-formula saves the day here, where it's been the downfall of many an imitator. There's no real spin, no real twist, just five kids in a cabin in the woods, uncovering a book which can unleash a demon upon the Earth. The only minor deviation is their reason for being there; to put their friend Mia, the central character, through cold-turkey to kick a heroin habit, rather than the traditional setup of teenage sex and booze. As it turns out, it makes the beginning of 'the trouble' all the more intense as the characters have an obvious reason for disbelieving their friend is possessed by evil spirits.

I should also take a moment to say that the cast of this film are fantastic. As mentioned above, they play out the movie with credibility, which is a massive achievement when you take into account the getting-routinely-possessed-by-a-demon and general carnage with broken mirrors, a crowbar, nailgun, shotgun, chainsaw and electric carving-knife. Especially outstanding is Jane Levy as Mia, whose 'human' side is just as compelling as her demonic one. She features in what may become my scene-of-the-year, but to describe it would be to wade into spoilers. Maybe in another review.

The only thing that made me raise an eyebrow was the 5-second scene after all the credits. It was nice an'all, but adds absolutely nothing. Bless him, though ;)

If you can regard 2013's Evil Dead as a companion to the original, rather than a replacement, you'll have immense fun. If you've liked any of this film's spiritual predecessors, but are naturally wary of remakes, you should give it a chance, it really is that good.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Almost. The film is more intense..

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Fuck, yes.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Fuck, yes.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema / DVD.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

It's a very - very - high-six, and may go up to full marks with more viewings.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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