DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
EVIL DEAD (director/writer: Fede Alvarez; screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues/based on the motion picture written by Sam Raimi; cinematographer: Aaron Morton; editor: Bryan Shaw; music:  Roque Baños; cast: Jane Levy (Mia), Shiloh Fernandez (David), Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric), Jessica Lucas (Olivia), Elizabeth Blackmore (Natalie); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Rob Tapert/Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell; TriStar Pictures; 2013)

 
"An unnecessary remake of the 1981 Evil Dead by Sam Raimi."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Newcomer Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez, in his feature film debut, known for his short Panic Attacks! on YouTube, directs an unnecessary remake of the popular 1981 cult classic Evil Dead by Sam Raimi. The big-budget remake lacks the low-budget original's imagination, charm, wit and freshness, as it goes for an all-out mindless demonic possession and blood-splatter horror pic. It's co-written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues. What you get are the usual revolting shocks found in typically second-rate horror pics, such as cheesy scare special effects, a gusher of blood spurting out of the possessed girl's mouth, gruesome mutilations, a chainsaw attack on a human head, and numerous other unpleasant visuals to occupy the dull 91 minutes of viewing time with meaningless gory visceral images. The only comic moment is unintentional, when one of the leads, at the pic's midpoint, after a series of evil events have occurred, asks his clueless teacher friend: "What's going on?"

Five obnoxious twenty-somethings and their dog Grandpa, go to a remote rundown cabin in the woods, in the summer, with the purpose of making sure the screwed-up Michigan State coed Mia (Jane Levy) goes cold turkey from her heroin habit. David (Shiloh Fernandez) is Mia's big brother, who has guilt issues since he abandoned the family when his dying mom needed him and left his vulnerable sis on her own. He therefore makes an effort to now help his troubled estranged sister, who recently nearly died from a drug overdose. The others include David's nurse girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), his best friend teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and his girlfriend Olivia (Jessica Lucas). The cabin dwellers discover blood on the floorboard to the basement and in the basement the teacher discovers The Book Of The Dead wrapped in human flesh and in a wire binding, with a warning not to touch it. Naturally the teach starts leafing through the book and before you can say I saw what was in store for these kids in that other film, Mia gets demonically possessed and the cabin goes haywire with bloody mayhem. The actions of the kids experiencing these strange evil incidents makes no sense. The pic seems to be about getting onscreen as much gore as possible. How much stomach the viewer has for such gore will determine the entertainment value. My tolerance level for this kind of blood lust pic with strained amateurish acting (the exception being Pucci's more lively performance) and a story with no redeeming social value is very low, and the film lost my interest early on.

REVIEWED ON 4/5/2013       GRADE: D

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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