Recovering heroin addict Mia and four associates head out to a remote location where the token geeky friend reads aloud from the Book of the Dead. The horrors of cold turkey are quickly usurped by the horrors of demonic possession. Cue buckets of blood and tree rape.
Do you really need us to tell you? Using the very latest Cern-tested atom interferometry, we can reveal that Evil Dead is precisely, exactly – in the coldest atomic terms –the film that you were expecting.
In common with most contemporary horror franchise reboots (see Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, Rob Zombie’s Halloween prequel, the Michael Bay-produced Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake), the 2013 model is slick, efficient and realistic. It’s fine. It’s dandy. It’s grand. It’ll make stacks of money.
This shiny new version retains enough of the original features – same approximate story (with a dash of Evil Dead 2 ), various demonic shenanigans, a cabin in the woods – to appease anyone who recalls watching a banned VHS copy in a drunken stupor during the 1980s.
The more discerning consumer, however, may have cause for complaint. They might, for example, note that if we stitched the five perfectly competent stars of Evil Dead 2013 into a human centipede arrangement, they still couldn’t muster the charisma of Bruce Campbell’s unwanted dandruff. A true horror aficionado might also yearn for the humour, intellect and novelty of the 1983 film.
Whatever happened to fantasy and invention? You know Hollywood’s insistence on realism has gone too damned far when Evil Dead ’s famous horticultural molestation sequence now looks like docudrama.
To be fair, Uruguayan shorts director Fede Alvarez honours the original and slavishly works in every famous scene. As with everybody else involved, the director does solid, dependable work interspersed with a reliable scare quotient. It’s commendable that producers Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, returning to the franchise that spawned them, brought in a film-maker with DIY nous.
But it’s just not the same as real DIY. Where is the love? Where is the heart? The appeal of The Evil Dead was it’s B-movie swagger, it’s handcrafted stop-motion effects, and it’s lovely imperfections. It didn’t need naturalism; it had soul. It didn’t need a $17-million budget; it had Bruce.