How do you remake a cult classic that spawned at least two sequels, helped shape a genre and made its star a legend of the horror screen? All while attempting to make the fans happy without alienating newcomers with too many inside jokes. If you’re Fede Alvarez and you have a production team consisting of the Evil Dead dream team (Raimi, Tapert and Campbell) you’re gonna be just fine.
Alvarez manages to make the remake different enough to be appreciated as its own movie while also paying an incredible respect to the original. And it follows the story much more than we had anticipated.
The film opens on a flashback (although we aren’t sure how long ago) of a demon-possessed girl. We learn that she has murdered her mother. A group of villagers have put her in the basement and are attempting, along with her father, to save her soul. Unfortunately in order to save her soul, the girl has to die. At least that’s what the very creepy book says. So the witch is stereotypically burned at the stake.
A group of college-aged students enter the woods. This time, instead of looking for a good time, they are trying to get Mia off drugs. So her friends and her brother come to the cabin for support.
We get some backstory about Ash, oops we mean David, skipping town to let his sister deal with their insane and dying mother. So there is a bit of tension in this sibling relationship. Nothing like bonding over some evil demons to bring a family closer together. At this point you may be wondering why her dear friends haven’t suggested she go to rehab. They seem pretty genuinely concerned about the fact that she died during her last OD. So why not just…send her to rehab?
Of course all of that is beside the point. Mia starts smelling something dead. When nobody else can smell it they all assume Mia is just going through withdrawal. The author of this article used to be a sex/drug educator (true story) and would like to point out that if you are withdrawing, smelling dead bodies will probably not be a symptom. If you smell a dead body, call the police. Or if you’re in a cabin in the woods, run.
Also, if you happen to find a book that is barb-wired shut don’t open it. And if you decide to open it and take a look, don’t read from it out loud. Especially when there are warnings all over it. But we guess if you’re this Eric tool, you live your life on the edge. And you read those damn incantations. Because you’re Eric and you’re the man.
This is all too much for Mia and she books it. She grabs the keys and drives into the woods. After seeing a girl standing in the road she crashes into the woods. And then. The flora gets very intimate with her. And by intimate we mean “rape.” We are shocked they kept THIS scene. She ends up back in the house.
The book’s prophecy starts being played out. Of course Eric didn’t happen to mention to anyone that he read out loud from a book that explicitly stated NOT to read it out loud, but all in good time. Mia manages to burn her own skin off before turning into a full fledged demon. The best part here is that they kept the “what happened to her eyes” line. Really? HER EYES?! What the hell happened to her face and why the hell is she audibly cracking? Good god people. So they toss her ass in the basement until she calms down.
Apparently she also hammered the family dog to death. RIP doggy.
The demonic possession spreads to the other girls and there are some really nasty scenes here. Facial removal, tongue splitting and a needle stuck way too close to an eye. Mia also offers to suck her brother’s cock.
What a good sister.
So we end up with our last two guys trying to figure out what to do. It’s here that Eric mentions he might have something to do with this. FACEPALM. This guy is the epitome of “too dumb to live.”
Here is where the remake diverges from the original quite a bit. The two guys attempt to cleanse Mia’s soul. They assume this would stop the other demons. But you know what happens when you assume…
This is an incredible movie. It isn’t the scariest film we’ve ever seen, but it is probably the most disgusting. The author of this article almost puked during the tongue-cutting-in-half scene. The original film was very “slap-gore.” This is just gore. In-your-face-crying-for-mommy gore. And we know some of you guys can stomach this but man this was nasty.
And just think. This is the edited down version. We can’t really imagine what they cut. Do you know how difficult it is to get an NC-17 rating for violence? Because there is absolutely no sex in this film. At least none that was appreciated.
We call this “fan disservice.” They clearly didn’t cut the arm removals and tree rape. And you really don’t get a break from the gore. It is unrelenting from start to finish. Even if you close your eyes the sounds are enough to make you squirm. And of course there is that Sam Raimi cracking thing. You know what we’re talking about.
There were so many nods to the original trilogy that it was hard not to smile. There were some scenes right out of Army of Darkness. Extra points if you can point them out in the comments below. Chainsaws and shotguns made notable appearances throughout the film. And of course Mia unleashes her inner Ashley Williams on some demons at the end of the movie. You can’t help but cheer for her.
There are other little nods including Mia’s Michigan State sweatshirt, the magnifying glass necklace, and the unfortunate amount of arm removal scenes. And, of course, that fucking eye line. You know what’s wrong with her eyes people? She’s a demon.
We appreciated the classic Raimi shots. You know, those first person POV shots of demons flying through the woods? They make it into this version. The demons are also very reminiscent of the original. Gross, spewing all kinds of stuff and the cracking. Always. With. The. Cracking.
Did it live up to the original? Yep!
Did it live up to all our wildest hopes and dreams? Yep again!
We know people were worried that it couldn’t compare to the cult classic but it really did a nice job. Of course having the creators of the original as your producers doesn’t hurt. And we really would have been ok with David’s character just being Ash. Shiloh Fernandez did an amazing job of filling the role. And though he’s no Bruce Campbell, we like him just fine.
So overall, a great film. Very fun, very gory and true enough to the original not to piss off the Geeks. Come prepared to scream, barf and sob. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We forgot to tell you. Stay til the end of the credits. Let’s just say it’s groovy.
What did you think? Did anyone else need a barf bag? Comment below.