For many fans of the genre, the 1981 film the Evil Dead went far beyond “cult classic,” and emerged as an archetype for the genre, encapsulating the storytelling, humor, and, of course, thrills that so many films aspire to achieve. 32(!) years later, Evil Dead is back in our lives, via a remake from director Fede Alvarez, and produced by no less than Bruce Campbell, who played Ash in the original trilogy. The film hits theaters this Friday, April 5th.
To say that the remake is “anticipated” is a gross understatement. Fan sites have been up since 1997, since the Internet was in Pampers, speculating about if, then when, Evil Dead would be remade. Now that we’re at that point, let’s look at why you need to see this film.
While there’s little question that the remake will share the DNA of the old film, and a handful of plot points, it’s a different film altogether. For instance, while the “cabin in the woods” and necronomicon aspects are still present in the 2013 version, the character of Ash has been removed, and the protagonists are several teenagers who find themselves getting the short end of the stick.
But while the story is different, the style is certainly cut from the same cloth, with Diablo Cody co-writing the script to ensure that the film doesn’t lose the sense of humor and playful winking that made the original so endearing. So it’s what you love about the original, nestled in a new, but familiar story. What’s not to like about that?
If you’re on the fence about the film, this gory, gory, GORY red-band trailer should push you squarely into one camp or the other. Building on the original’s over-the-top cartoonish gore, this film takes a less playful, but no less gory approach to the explicit material, which makes it stand out as a bloodbath even by horror film standards.
In the trailer, fans will see callbacks (with twists) to the original, including sawing off the arm, the vines, and the exploding geyser of blood from the body. As I said earlier, the touchpoints of the original are there, but this film isn’t simply a reworking of the original.
Further, those thinking that this will be some lightweight, mass-marketed fare that trades on the brand equity of the original will by pleased by this trailer, which lets us know that the new Evil Dead is the real deal, and not only not watered-down, but a bolder, more intense take on the original. The fact that the film originally received an NC-17 rating solidifies this stance, though cuts were made to get the film’s final R rating.
Since making its debut at 2013 SXSW, Evil Dead has won the hearts and minds of critics, with overwhelmingly positive reviews saying that the film stands alone and doesn’t need to be appreciated or enjoyed in the context of the original, which is about the highest praise a new installment in a franchise could ask for.
With all this in mind, it’s hard to find a reason NOT to want to see Evil Dead. Unless you’re not a fan of the genre. In which case, congratulations on making it this far into the article. Otherwise, go ahead and crank up the expectations, keep an open mind and an empty stomach, and enjoy watching a whole new batch of victims get fed to the book of the dead.