Even though Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell gave their seal of approval and produced Fede Alvarez‘s re-imagining of Evil Dead, is the new product worthy of the name? A few concepts from the original are preserved and for fans of blood, guts and gore, this movie certainly delivers with some fantastic practical effects. While Raimi’s product has an underlying sense of humour, the other does not. As for how it well it will satisfy the fans, purists or not, that’s a debate nobody can truly answer. It’d be like asking whose vision is better.
In Alvarez’s world, the terror has its roots with paganism. The image of the goat (the Devil) is prominent and if there are any creatures known as the Deadites, the idea is glossed upon. The book is not even named, and that makes for a better developed story. Not many tomes have their title written along its spine. It can only be identified by the content it presents when glossed upon. But viewers should pay attention to the voice over during the end credits since it’s a nod from the original film to help explain that part of the story.
When a gang of old friends reunites at the family cabin in the woods to celebrate ol’ times, another purpose gets revealed. Mia (Jane Levy) is a recovering drug addict and hopefully the outing will do her some good. She has support among family, represented by her brother David (David (Shiloh Fernandez), and her friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas). But when they discover their home was broken into and used for some nefarious purpose, the tone of the film shifts and the fun begins.
The terror comes in droves and a few red herrings are nicely inserted to make audiences guess at what’s going to happen next. When the movie makes plenty of nods to the original, long time fans will no doubt appreciate this film more. The clothes David wears is the same outfit as Ash’s from The Evil Dead, plenty of limbs get lost, and the point of view shaky cam is used.
And for the fans who were following the production details, namely the fact that “Ash” has been retired to see a similar character be more of a hero than a coward is a welcome revision. To have this movie feel more grounded in darker paranormal lore and wise-old superstitions is also a change that fans may appreciate. As for where this film sits in the continuity, there is none. This movie exists in its own self-contained universe, and if another film in this macrocosm comes, there are some very big expectations to fill.
If this movie happens to take place in a parallel dimension where the original Ash is simply hiding in the wings, the film may well groove on down to a different beat. Dynamite Entertainment’s Army of Darkness already looks at the world in this direction where variations of the Ash character exist. And if that is the case, the Deadites will have to start worrying. If have more champions kicking ass across the multiverses means trouble. They might as well stay in hell than to take over the world.