SXSW Movie Review: EVIL DEAD

evil-dead-poster-hi-resAfter years of anticipation a new Evil Dead has come into the world, while it’s not the Evil Dead we’ve all been screaming for, it’s still a blood-soaked massacre of awesome! When I first heard the announcement of an Evil Dead remake, I was among the first to riot, “how could you do that?! Evil Dead is Bruce Campbell!” The last part of that statement is still true.

Ash is the equivalent to the shark in Jaws, he’s a force that can’t be stopped and will be forever quoted and tattooed upon the flesh of Evil Dead fans across the world. The new Evil Dead won’t change this, but in order to enjoy this film you’ll have to leave that admiration at the door. There will never and should never be another Ash. Bruce Campbell is the groovy bad-ass and in the world of Evil Dead, his is the King! The new film respects this and aims its boomstick at making a great horror film plain and simple.

DSC_1076Director Fede Alvarez delivers a film that gives fans of the original their due, and accenting it with love for the franchise. If they couldn’t have Sam Raimi then Fede was the next best choice. He has the same hunger that Robert, Sam and Bruce had when the made the original, and in the end that’s what make the film great. Fede never took a step back and thought about digital effects that could have sped up shooting, he never worried about an NC-17 rating, he just wanted to make a flesh-splitting, edge of your seat fan boy’s dream and in that he succeeded!

Most of the film’s appeal comes from its practical effects, they slowed the speed of production and ensured an attention to detail. That being said, Evil Dead is one of the most brutal films I have seen in years, but has an art to its brutality. We are in an age where gross out scares are common place and “torture porn” is the standard. The difference between torture porn and Evil Dead is the purpose, yes it’s violent, it has those elements, but they’re used more for the sake of the film rather than the extremes of the brutality. Think more The Exorcist and less Hostel. This is the reason that I love Evil Dead: it makes a torso-splitting 2 minute chainsaw to the head a moment of excitement, and forces its crowd into a fist-pumping haze. All of the elements of your favorite franchise are there and placed perfectly for fan consumption.

DSC_1025The only thing that holds Evil Dead back is a few of its actors, but the moments of talent-less annoyance are quickly remedied with buckets of blood. Fede knew his limitations and played off of them, showing poise in moments of concern. That’s not to say that everyone was utterly intolerable. Shiloh, Lou, and Jane manage to add bits of humanity with mouths full of blood.

I don’t think Evil Dead will be a fan home run, but as a horror film it’s great! It had me pumping my fist and screaming for more! It’s a new direction for The Evil Dead, and while I hold the original trilogy close to my heart, I’m a full-fledged fan of Fede and I’m ready to go for his next shot at the deadites with Evil Dead 2!

Stay after the credits… they’re groovy!

I give Evil Dead 4 “I still want Evil Dead 4” out of 5


By Ryan “Hail to the King” Davis

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

Follow Ryan Here: