When I first heard that the stripper who wrote Juno and Jennifer’s Body was on-board for the Evil Dead remake I was more than a little pissed off. It’s not that Diablo Cody isn’t talented, or that I hate her work. I enjoyed Juno and thought Jennifer’s Body was a funny movie. My only two complaints for the latter film is that the ending sucked and we never saw Jennifer’s body. I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for the Evil Dead re-make once the description came out: a drug addicted girl has intervention run on her by her friends at the infamous cabin in the woods. Then they started talking about how it was going to be like The Shining and a whole bunch of other B.S. and I gave up hope. Also there was not going to be an “Ash”.
Then that red band trailer came out bitch-slapped that opinion right out of my mind.
All the reviews hyped the movie up to be the greatest horror flick in the history of the damn world and if you don’t go see it you’re a big loser with no taste in film and should kill yourself. I didn’t want to be in the latter category so I and the missus went to go see it today.
And I felt the movie to be just slightly above average as far as horror films go. It’s not that it’s a bad film. Everything you see in the red band trailer is in the film, and that’s part of the problem for me right there: most of the best scenes of the film are shown in it. Quite a few scenes lost the impact they would have had on me had they not already been seen.
Leaving out Ash lets the film breathe on it’s own without having to rely on the standard hero. I screwed up and read an interview that gave away a bit more than it meant to and so one of the characters fates was already known to me and so I spent the rest of the film waiting for it to catch up with me. It also didn’t help that I’ve seen the first Evil Dead so many times that it is embedded in my brain and I can play it at will through simple firing of my synapses. It would seem unfair to compare this one to the original as it’s trying to be something different, but it’s also constantly doing things to remind the viewer of the first one. You’ll know the nods when you see them. I could have lived with the Delta 88 cameo, that was cute, but there are other things that are only there to serve as winks and nods to Sam Raimi’s classic. The film also has a prologue that is not touched up, explained, or mentioned at all during the rest of the film, which is a serious narrative issue. And of course Diablo Cody has the deadites rant using expletives, which has a big humor factor, but takes away from it being able to call itself “the ultimate experience in grueling terror”. But the gore effects are really what we are here for, and we get it in spades. The movie doesn’t skirt around showing us every single abrasion and slice in excruciating detail. It stays true to the nasty spirit of the original.
I liked the updated look of the deadites and the Necronoicon. We have a more edgy, almost Wiccian type thing going on here with the deadites going for a more evil wood spirits thing rather than an other-worldly feel like in the original. And as much as I thought it was a good look, the production values on the film took me out of being afraid. Borrowing Brian Warner’s contact lenses doesn’t really compare to those milk white painful hard lenses the cast of the first film wore. However, I liked that they used normally looking people as the hapless victims. Which isn’t to say they are abrasive looking, like The Devil’s Rejects, (or my mother’s side of the family) just that they are good looking enough to be passable as regular folk.
To get into a huge (or slight) spoiler here (stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet — if that’s you, stay through to the end of the credits)….
There has been talk of making Army of Darkness 2, and that this movie isn’t truly a reboot, but actually an Evil Dead 3. The after credits scene confirms this. And this is probably my biggest problem with the movie. It trying to pass itself off as it’s own beast while bringing back direct motifs and props from the original film, only to turn around say “haha, fooled you, I’m a sequel”. It’s a film that has no idea what it truly is, kinda like one of those transgender kids that everyone pretends is a girl when it’s actually a boy, just because it’s trendy to do so or they fell sorry for it.
It’s a good movie, I didn’t hate it, and I would like to watch it again to take it in for what it is and decided just how much I actually did (or didn’t) like it. I have a job interview on Monday that I have been stressing over and it impeded my enjoyment of the film, so you’re mileage may greatly vary.