This weekend, the Book of the Dead reopens and the deadites return for the long-anticipated remake of Sam Raimi’s horror classic, “Evil Dead.”
The 2013 version of the tale about cursed texts and demonic possession has amped up levels of gore and a new cast of characters, but can the remake ever come close to the cult status of the original?
Critics are mostly positive on Fede Alvarez’s attempt to recapture the Raimi magic, but most reviews noticed a lack of the original’s humor and genuine scares, keeping the “Evil Dead” from unanimously positive scores.
Mia (Jane Levy) encourages two friends — pre-med Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and high school teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) — to accompany her out to her family’s cabin deep in the woods as she tries once more to kick her drug habit. Mia’s big brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), also shows up, with girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) in tow, and while the siblings try to put aside their recent estrangement, Mia’s friends want to ensure that her cold turkey routine sticks this time. Of course, once certain teachers get the bright idea to read aloud from a certain book of the dead recovered from the basement, Mia soon finds herself tormented and possessed by a demon whose erratic behavior her pals initially mistake for withdrawal-related crankiness. — William Gross, Film.com
The movie’s gore, meanwhile, goes straight to 11. Many dismemberings. Limitless liters of blood. The weaponry include nail guns, chain saws and crowbars. Nothing stops these evil dead. As in the original, one character suffers a grueling act of supernatural, plant-based rape. As in the original, the scene is offensive and throws you straight out of the movie in the name of upping the stakes. — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Pucci is this Evil Dead’s most charismatic cast member, but Alvarez and his co-writer Rodo Sayagues give him only one wisecrack in the whole film. Jokes are almost non-existent here; Alvarez comes closest to trying to make us laugh (and it works) when his camera casually shows us a prop — a shotgun, a chainsaw — whose importance we remember from Raimi’s trilogy. — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
The Final Word
The new Evil Dead’s delirious gross-out scenes spoke to me, and they go further than any mainstream picture I can think of. How a movie this graphic and gooey managed to finagle an R rating is a mystery. But I’m not complaining. As a diehard fan of the original and the genre, who am I to look such a wonderfully stomach-turning gift horse in the mouth? — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
Check out everything we’ve got on “Evil Dead.”