A good horror film, a truly scary one, always leaves a little something with you once it’s over. There’s some creeping feeling that lingers, unsettling the viewer for hours, even days after the movie itself is finished. This aftertaste (for lack of a better word) is the hallmark of successful horror. Fede Alvarez’s version of Evil Dead is not successful horror.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty on display that is horrifying – Evil Dead (2013) is one of the bloodiest studio releases I’ve ever seen – but none of it scares. There is no tension at any point in the film and none of it sticks with you. None of it chills.
Alvarez had a good starting point when he decided to not really remake The Evil Dead (1981), but set a new story in that world. Instead of heading out to the woods for a vacation, this time the ill-fated group is rallying around their drug addicted friend to help her get clean after a recent overdose. In fact, he took the point of view that Evil Dead II was already a sort-of remake and continued from the end of part one (the car is still there, rusted out next to the cabin). Unfortunately, Alvarez fell into the same trap that Bryan Singer did when he made a mid-series pseudo sequel reboot to a franchise he loved, and the film is quickly overrun with nods and homages to the original film. Quickly the interesting set-up is abandoned and set-pieces from the original series are replayed with a slicker, more modern sensibility.
That modern sensibility pervades Evil Dead (2013) on every level. Michael Bay’s name might not be attached, but this is for all intents and purposes the Platinum Dunes remake of The Evil Dead.
There are a few things I can say in the film’s favor: Alvarez’s dedication to practical effects was admirable. The director went so far as use stage magic techniques to achieve some of the injuries he wanted to portray. But really the best part of the movie is the last minute or so of the end credits, and what does that kind of praise tell you?
After watching Evil Dead (2013) I didn’t feel like looking over my shoulder, I just felt like watching Cabin in the Woods again.
I give it 3.5 MISSED OPPORTUNITIES out of 10.