This past Thursday, my husband and I decided to engage in a timeless ritual: the double date. We met our friends Brian and Meg at the local mall for the evening showing of the Evil Dead. Popcorn, soda, and pretzels in hands, we seated ourselves in the packed theater and waited for it to begin. All around us, people were wearing Evil Dead and Army of Darkness t-shirts, and discussing Sam Raimi‘s cinematic cult masterpieces. Not soon enough, the room darkened and the previews began to march across the screen.
And now we have come to the part where you’re most likely to start screaming death threats at the computer. When all was said and done, I just wasn’t that impressed by the new Evil Dead. Had they called it something like “Woodland Massacre” I would have been alright – just don’t make it an Evil Dead movie! It didn’t have any of the kitschy terror that made the original films endearing, but I’ll get there in a few. The characters were blah at best, but the most damnable characteristic of this remake was the excessive torture in place of any actual storyline.
I personally do not like torture-filled movies. I refuse to finish watching the SAW and Hostel franchises for this reason. I find that kind of torture to be upsetting and it’s hard for me to watch. Going in to Evil Dead, I didn’t expect any of that. The original movies played on the psychological terror Ash and other characters felt, and the demons actively preyed on their minds and tore them apart as the movie progressed. The demonic interference pushed character Ash to the point where it could be solidly argued that he had lost his mind and that some of the phenomenon was all in his head. Going forward, the 2013 remake used torture scenes in place of any actual demonic horror. It seemed as though the character’s possession was only used to give the characters a motive to destroy each other (sorry if that’s a spoiler). Truth be told, I think I missed a solid 20 minutes of the movie averting my eyes so I wouldn’t throw up, which left me irritated instead of horrified.
As to the kitschy terror, I miss that. The creature effects in the 1981 film were great, and still look good. I was in middle school the first time I saw The Evil Dead. My father, our neighbor, and I watched it in total darkness. By the end of the movie, I had a sore throat and didn’t want to go to bed for fear of demon noshing on my soul. To be fair, they did leave in many of the elements from the original, like the ugly necklace, the basement trapdoor, and The Book of the Dead. I guess without Bruce Campbell, it just isn’t the same.
Look for another review on Evil Dead after it hits stores. I want to like this movie so badly that I’m willing to watch it again. And I think that liking it eventually may be a possibility. Perhaps now that I’m ready for the gore and torture, I can go through it again and concentrate on it’s other qualities. Until then, I remain deeply disappointed in the remake.