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Evil Dead (2013) Movie Review

Three years ago we obtained the rebooted version of Sam Raimi’s ‘83 original. Directed by Fede Álvarez, in his first motion picture. But can it hold up to the classics?

Genre: Horror

Director: Fede Álvarez

Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty & Sian Davis.

Run Time: 91 min.

US Release: 05 April 2013

UK Release: 18 April 2013

German Release: 16 May 2013

With my review of Ash vs. Evil Dead’s first season out of the way, it is time to take a look at the darker, more serious rebooted version of the Evil Dead horror flick, which came out in 2013. Rumours of a possible fourth movie started all the way back in 2004, with possible talks of Bruce Campbell returning to reprise his role as Ash. In 2011 Ghost House Pictures picked up production, employing Álvarez to direct his feature debut. It was decided to create a reboot, that could possibly tie into the original storyline in future projects.


David, together with his girlfriend Natalie, meets with his estranged friends Eric, Olivia, who is a nurse, and his heroin-addicted younger sister Mia. They plan to stay at the remote cabin of their family until Mia overcomes her cravings.

Little do they know that their cabin had been used years prior, to defeat a possessed person. Mia’s withdrawal signs kick in, complaining about an overwhelming odour of decay coming from the cellar. The group finds animal remains, with a flesh-bound book, called the “Naturom Demonto”, which Eric reads out of curiosity, unleashing an evil that takes possession of Mia first, then one-by-one the whole group.

When I heard the news of this planned remake, my hopes were pretty low for this to be any good! First, I had no clue who Fede Álvarez was, nor why he was tasked with penning the script or directing. It felt like a studio decision, made for a new up-and-coming filmmaker. Second, having experienced first-hand what these sorts of revamps accomplish, chances had been high that this would be a simple cash grab by the studios, offering nothing but disappointment. I was set on not spending money in cinemas, yet more and more friends started telling me I should go see it. To my surprise, this was more than just “O.K.”

Though it is basically a retelling of Raimi’s original script, the writing duo of Álvarez/Rodo Sayagues improve upon the premise, while keeping it simple enough. Instead of a teenage get-away weekend with friends, in the middle of nowhere, an actual reason is given for the group to drive up to the cabin, in the form of drug addiction. The remote cabin is the perfect location for rehab, with the group making a pact to not to leave until their friend overcomes her addiction. When the supernatural events begin, the group puts them off as hallucinations from withdrawal, which is plausible.

That said, it also has overly cheesy moments that do not fare well with the serious tone of the narrative. It also isn’t as scary as it is gory, however, this is more of nitpick.

Generally, the performances across the board are a little over-dramatic, as everybody takes themselves too serious. On one point, it helps to sell the tension within the group, as it is composed of friends who grew estranged from each other, with old grudges resurfacing. On the other hand, it also creates some cheesy acting that can’t be taken serious.

Mia, who originally should have been Lily Collins, though due to scheduling conflicts dropped out, is portrayed by Jane Levy. Levy did a fairly good job for the most part, specifically when she is hunted by the demonic entity, needing to act scared. She is best when she plays possessed, you can see that she was having the time of her life in those scenes. Her performance takes a dip, during more dramatic parts, like selling her drug addiction.

Shiloh Fernandez gave a similar passable performance as David, yet isn’t believable as Mia’s brother. Jessica Lucas and Lou Taylor Pucci were the two who overacted the most, as Eric and Olivia. As to why Eric, a cultured intelligent teacher, needed to read the book out loud, even if it contained warnings, is beyond me.

The cinematography is what impressed the most. Álvarez, together with DP Aaron Morton, made use of effective dolly zooms, as well as Raimi's signature first-person speed-up, through the forest. It also implemented a couple of quick cuts to dramatise the situation. The colour palette contains a grey, desaturated hue, while the lighting was on point! Effects are practical with CG only used to touch up specific scenes.

The music, composed by Roque Baños, is chilling! It contains sudden loud explosions of violins plus brass, mixed with some creepy quiet piano bits.


Verdict: As I said, Fede Álvarez’s remake was a welcomed surprise back in 2013, possibly being one of the few horror revamps I actually like! The story is plausible, giving the whole cabin in the woods premise credibility, and explaining why this group of friends don’t believe one of them when they start seeing creepy things. However, it also does not overcomplicate the plot, keeping it simple! The actors give passable performances, though overact at times. It is Jane Levy, who gives the best rendition, making a great final girl. The cinematography is the best aspect of the film, Álvarez proves that he understands horror. This one takes second place on my Evil Dead film ranking, just beating Army of Darkness by a stretch. Evil Dead obtains a 7.5 out of 10.

Have you seen this remake? Do you agree with my review? Leave a comment to let me know & thank you for reading!

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