Another Hollywood rehash, another horror dud.
Dir: Fede Alvarez (2013)
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, the current trend in the horror genre is Hollywood pumping money into remakes and re-imaginings of horror classics in order to bring new interest to the genre. Everything from the well known horror franchise staples such as A Nightmare on Elm St. (2010), Halloween (2007), and Friday the 13th (2009), to lesser known classics such as The Last House on the Left (2009), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), and The Wicker Man (2006) have been given another chance. Fair enough, but are they producing quality products? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Some of these rehashes are better than the others, but rarely do they live up to their original source materials. So, in short, no.
The latest horror film to be rebranded for a new generation is Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead. The Evil Dead franchise began back in the early 80’s with Sam Raimi‘s cult classic, The Evil Dead (1981). The franchise continued with Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992). The franchise is known for its campy, goofy, horror/comedy mix with the perfect leading man for the job in Bruce Campbell. Here’s the thing with this franchise (I know this won’t be a popular opinion), but they aren’t great films. They are cult classics for their goofiness and popularity for being B-movies.
The newest contribution to the franchise is directed by Fede Alvarez. I have to admit that I am unfamiliar with any other films of Alvarez’s and it makes me wonder how he was able to land this gig, but either way, bravo to him. Obviously, I was unfamiliar with his style but it didn’t take long to notice that he was consistently paying homage to the original film with his attempts to recreate Sam Raimi trademark shots with low dutch-angles and swooping camera movements. This might be blunt, but I don’t think Raimi is a good director. His success with Spider-Man (2002) was a culmination of a many factors and I think there’s a laundry list of directors that would have been able to do the same, if not better job with those films. And, don’t even get me started on Spider-Man 3 (2007).
The cast of this film is full of young Hollywood likes of Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore. Unfortunately, I thought the best performance came from Lou Taylor Pucci yet, he was constantly overshadowed by the mediocre performances of the leads actors in Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez. Neither delivered anything to write home about. I guess I would say Jane’s performance was better but it really just comes down to being “the best of the worst” for me.
An area of this film that worked well was the gore, although it was overkill. I can’t say that I went into this film thinking that I wasn’t going to see a bloodbath, but it ended up being more than I was picturing. The gore was so over the top that by the end of the film it was just unnecessary. I guess it just became another way to pay respects to the original. Good job.
In the long run, I think this film just felt too much like all of the other remakes of the recent future. I felt bored at times as I checked my watch multiple times to hope that the end was near. I actually left the theatre so I could catch the next showing of The Lords of Salem (2013) for the second time in three days. The cameo by Bruce Campbell after the credits wasn’t enough to redeem this film for me. Not “groovy”.