"Are you SURE you don't want to see something else?" My husband made a valiant last-ditch effort to change my mind on Saturday night, but I wasn't going to be deterred. I'd been looking forward to the Evil Dead remake ever since I saw the blood-soaked trailer, and if it was maybe a little cruel to force my horror-hating spouse to see it with me, well, consider this: the last movie he chose for our date night was Spring Breakers. He owed me one, obviously.
Two hours later, when we were leaving the theater, we paused at the lit-up poster that advertised Evil Dead as THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE. "What do you think," I teased my husband. "Was it the scariest thing you ever saw?"
"It was the most fucked-up thing I ever saw," he said, and shuddered from head to toe. "Ugh. What is WRONG with you?"
In other words, Evil Dead ... well, it's definitely not for everyone.
So here's the thing about the remake: if you're a big fan of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic, you're not going to get the same viewing experience. I mean, if you're like me, you probably saw the original about 25 years ago (*brief pause to stare open-mouthed at that number, marvel at the passing of time, purchase more wrinkle cream*), and I'm not sure there's any way the 2013 version could deliver everything Bruce Campbell & Co did back in the day.
However, what you do get in this remake is a pretty good time. It's a mostly-faithful update on the familiar story, and while the cast doesn't include a wisecracking, iconic character like Ash, actress Jane Levy is gloriously creepy as Mia.
In fact, Levy is so disturbing in this role she goes a long way towards making up for the profound lameness of pretty much every other actor, who are so comically unlikable it's hard not to root and cheer when they meet their inevitably awful fates. But maybe that's what makes this movie fun to watch -- despite the poster's claim, there's very little that's legitimately terrifying about Evil Dead. Instead, it's really all about the creatively grisly moments that splatter across the screen ... and on that promise it definitely delivers.
Evil Dead dishes out ninety chair-writhing minutes of astoundingly stomach-turning special effects as people are burned, punctured, shot, dismembered, puked on, hacked apart, buried alive, disturbingly assaulted with a rooting tendril of priapic blackberry vine, sliced in half, and rained on with a veritable hurricane of blood. Director Fede Alvarez deliberately chose to avoid using any CGI in the film, and the lack of digital trickery truly packs a hell of a visceral punch.
So: it's spectacularly gory, it's doesn't take itself too seriously, and it has lots of little moments that pay homage to the original. For plenty of horror fans, the Evil Dead remake is a gruesome delight, one that will have you shouting "OHHH!" in the theater as a character endures yet another unspeakable over-the-top injury. It's a straight-up splatter film that somehow dishes out cathartic glee along with the buckets of blood.
Evil Dead isn't perfect by any means (also, I suspect the utterly fantastic Cabin in the Woods took some of the wind out of its sails), but overall, I had a great time. My husband, on the other hand, may never forgive me.
Have you seen the Evil Dead remake? What did you think?
Image via Sony