Note: Johnny and Joanna wrote separate reviews for Evil Dead. They posted each review without having seen the other’s. View Joanna’s review.
People went nuts when the Evil Dead remake was announced. But the release of the red band trailer quickly shut up most naysayers. That trailer promised a tense, gory-as-hell, CGI-free retelling of everyone’s favorite party-at-a-remote cabin gorefest. Though it turns out the residents of the cabin aren’t there to party. On the contrary; they are there for rehab. And there’s no Ashley J. Williams—at least not by name.
With Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell as producers and behind this remake, I really had no concerns that I wouldn’t like it. In fact, I was pretty damned stoked for it. And to start things off: I liked it. I enjoyed it. But I’m not butt crazy in love with it, to quote Cher from Clueless. There really is no bad, but aside from the set-up (and the ending), the characters and the story are pretty true to the original. Not a 1998 Psycho shot-for-shot remake, but still. There are also a couple bits in the climax where I feel the filmmakers flub a little bit to get to the finale they want, but no spoilers here.
Here’s what I really like: Jane Levy. She is excellent in the lead role. Good and twitchy and Deadite-ish. Also, the bloody FX are outstanding. The movie is intense, though it does not really deliver the insanity that some reviews promise. I was expecting a string of Gauge-scalpel-ankle scenes from Pet Sematary. Or eyeball scenes from Hostel. Or hypodermic-needle-pit scenes from Saw II. There is really nothing that made me cringe. Which is fine—I’m not complaining about that, but I want to clear the air a little.
And who can deny the homage? Homage aplenty. That’s really the fun part in a movie like this.
So bottom line, I say go see it. It’s not the best remake on the block (I still reserve that for Dawn of the Dead), and it is certainly not the worst (a position held for eternity by The Fog). If you are a fan of the original (and who isn’t?), you will probably find something to enjoy here. One thing I will say, and this goes for a lot of films, I HATE when filmmakers feel compelled to include a dog just to kill it. So there’s a spoiler: The dog dies. Unnecessary, dudes.