It was a long time ago that we witnessed five college students having their vacation in a cabin the woods. They manages to find an audiotape which releases a large number of demons, and as the creatures possess the people, there is complete chaos all around. It was just last year that another story of five friends travelling to another remote cabin for another vacation becoming victims of the same stereotypical horror movie plot came in the form of The Cabin in the Woods. This time, in 2013, we have the right remake of what scares us more than most of the things during our childhood, and what formed the basis of that 2012 horror movie starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams. The two sequels of the movie, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), along with all the comics and the video games had combined with the first movie to make a powerful horror impact which has been almost uncomparable. It is towards that legacy that this movie is making a claim. So this can be considered as the fourth installment of that terrifying series, even as the story is completely new with the same premises. As there are so many things in common, this could be a reboot, but as the possiblities are endless with a story like this, any guess made would be an ineffective one.
The success of the original was due to the fact that it wandered through the fears of our minds with that simplicity which can create a direct impact. The tree scene might have been a bit radical, but other than that, everything else have been perfectly clear horror supported by blood and gore. Being demonically possessed and creating the atmosphere of fear with the power of sounds than anything else, The Evil Dead (note the “The” as with The Invisible Man and Invisible Man) is the legend among all horror movies, and this one has to fit into that wonderful space which has been created and maintained by the same. It was a favourite of the greatest kings of horror, like Stephen King. It continues to have great critical acclaim from the modern critics at 98 percent in the Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb having a 7.6/10. It is 62 percent and 6.6/10 for this new version though, and it is still much expected, as greatness of the original has been creating problems for the remakes in the form of Total Recall and Conan the Barbarian earlier. The objective of surpassing greatness is not always a choice, and this time, greatness has to be forced upon them, and this 2013 has reacted well, but not on par with the original. This is still very good, and nobody can question that – but still it is the case of a legendary cult movie.
Our new Evil Dead begins with a good strike, as an injured girl (Phoenix Connolly) is tied up in a basement, and in spite of her cute little pleas begging to untie her, they keep her tied to a pole. When all the pleading and crying seems ineffective, she takes another route with curses and bad words, and it is revealed that she is demonically possessed. Her father is forced to set fire on her and shoot through her head. The present situation involves a group of friends, Mia Allen (Jane Levy), her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), his friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas), and his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), arrange a journey to a remote cabin in the woods, in order to assist Mia in getting rid of her severe drug addiction which had almost killed her. The rest is predictable for most of the horror fans, as they find a Book of the Dead, and Eric reads it out aloud. The dead evil has been summoned right there. It is Mia who becomes the easy target for the released demons as she wanders in the woods alone in a weak state; one demon enters her body after she is ravished by a number of possessed tree vines which come out of a demon’s mouth. She manages to get her way back to the cabin and begs the others to leave, but they just see it as an excuse to get back to her ways of drugs. They feel that it is rather psychological and she is just hallucinating. David and Elizabeth are determined to make her completely drug-free.
After killing David’s dog, Mia burns herself by standing under boiling hot shower, which fulfills another one of the prophecies from the book, following the tree attack which was also predicted. David rushes to get her to a hospital, but a flood has blocked all the roads. Mia gets worse, and the demon takes over her body further, and she shoots David in the arm with a shotgun. Her human side disappears almost completely, and her demonic side takes on the group until she is locked in a cellar. She manages to possess Olivia and Natalie, both of them continuing the work of the demons, attempting to fulfill the further prophecies of the book. Meanwhile, all the attempts to destroy the book fails, and the demon needs to devour five souls in an attempt to free the Abomination from hell and unleash inferno on Earth. After killing the two possessed girls on the outside, there is no other way left for them than to burn her, bury her alive, or dismember her body. Now David has to come out his affection towards his little sister for whom he never really was able to do anything. With the demonic side using the human side to gain the advantage over the big brother, can the responsible elder sibling finish her sister off or find another way to save her, themselves and the world from the demons? All of these would sound practical in such a movie.
If you are ready to take a little bit of the spoilers, and won’t make that much of a fuss about it, there is one thing that you can be sure about, that is, David (Shiloh Fernandez) doesn’t go on to become the new Ash and create the Bruce Campbell effect. He leads the attack against the undead for most of the time though. But as we near the end of the second half, it is Mia who comes back from her possession and put up an awesome show, and that should make this a Jane Levy horror spectacle. Right from the beginning itself, Mia shows the signs of the victim and survivor. Along with being ravished by a tree and possessed by a demon in her soul, even after saving both her body and soul from the demonic powers, she forced to rip off her hand when it becomes pinned under David’s Jeep with the Abomination chasing her. When she uses the chainsaw on the creature, it clearly gives an impression about who might be the next Ash, this one’s a girl – a Lady Ash who is ready to finish off whatever the demons has in store for her next. She has gone through the worst with both with her body and her soul, and being the last one of her family and the last woman standing among the group of friends, there is a lot of scope for her character in the next movie in the series, for she is the female Ash, and she has a chainsaw with a place to fit it into. The demons won’t like it though.
As we notice Amber Heard, Briana Evigan and Odette Annable with all their attractive existence in some of the most interesting horror movies, there is this Lady Ash who scores big time. These three names, or Elisha Cuthbert would have been great to have been in a movie of this series, and Lily Collins dropping out due to a scheduling issue was sad, but our leading lady has carried on with this very well. But, it is still not something which can be expected to match Bruce Campbell, and this story of expectations got to move on to the next movie of the dead evil. Mia has surely made the dead evil more dead than undead, and ended the misery for now. Now the question would remain if she has done it well enough, or there is something of that evil which still remain in her, as she was the first to be infected, that too in a brutal manner. As she is left alone in the wilderness, with one hand and a chainsaw, there is surely a lot to expect. We know that the evil cannot stay dead, and the demons need to possess; they needs those souls as badly as the vampires require blood and the zombies seek to devour brains. Now, who can deny them their dinner and upset the demon lovers? The Twilight fans might not complain about it, but the fact remains that they are all the same in their roots, and the need to feed would continue and give rise to another movie which can provide more for the viewers.
With the help of the new age technology and all the techniques that is in the pocket, this version of the movie has more scary elements, but considering the time when the original was released, that one is indeed the legend – this one uses a huge amount of blood and gore, and almost depends on it completely to create an impact; the only area where it restricts itself and tries to make it lighter in effect is with the tree scene. Otherwise, the movie is a collection of everything which is related to blood and gore; it injects that big dose of terror into the minds of the readers less through surprises and more through flowing blood, horrifying wounds and dismembered body parts. This is quite high for this kind of a movie, unless this becomes a part of Hostel or Saw series. Therefore, it is a red signal for those who are looking for horror without being a little disgusted. There is also nothing funny about this one, as this is pure horror using all the elements of slasher movies combining it with the good old terror policy. A little more carefully done special effects could have added to the score of this movie, as we know how far it can be stretched. Well, Evil Dead without the “the” is almost everything that you would expect from this movie, and it has to be watched in the dark – the absence of light in the theatres or a big LED television when it comes in a channel; even with some edits, this can prove good. Meanwhile, do use your “willing suspension of disbelief”, and try not to complain.
Release date: 5th April 2013
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Jim McLarty (cameo), Phoenix Connolly (cameo)
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.