It’s no secret that Sam Raimi and I don’t get along, creatively that is. The salt in my wounds still burns from time to time, but I’m coping (read The Walking Dead – The Season Banality to see what I’m talking about). Even though time may heal some of my theatrical wounds, it cannot remove the sour taste I have that remains because of Raimi. So, that means that any film that bears his name or has felt his touch is tainted meat to me.
Before I begin, I must confess that I’ve never seen the original ‘Evil Dead’ before. I know, it’s a cult classic. But, I never really had access to the film before recently. I never felt compelled to buy it or seek it out at a video store. There was nothing there that screamed out to me. Besides, it had Sam Raimi attached to it.
You know, that guy who made Spider-man jazz dance down the streets of Manhattan. Yeah, that guy.
When I showed up to the theater, I didn’t have high hopes. I had been burned before with the promise of a good scare that ended up being nothing more than a personal rage-fest. And, seeing that I didn’t want to go through that again, I set my expectations to their lowest setting.
Here’s the story without many spoilers:
‘Evil Dead’ follows the story of five young people who go to a remote cabin in hopes to help their friend, Mia (Jane Levy), kick her drug habit. They figure that the extreme isolation would prevent her from leaving and relapsing. The friends, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas), and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) manage to bring Mia’s brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), along for support.
As the groups starts to settle in and Mia begins her withdraws, they notice an odor of death coming from the basement. When they investigate, they find numerous dead cats hanging from the ceiling and a book in a bag that’s surrounded by barbed wire. And, as you could have figured, one of the friends opens the book and unleashes hell, death, destruction, and mayhem on all of them.
That’s about as far as I’m going to go with the story. If you’ve seen the original, you probably know what’s about to happen. Well, mostly, I suppose. They’ve gotta change something to keep your interest, right?
For the most part, the film lacked the scare factor. Sure, I jumped a couple of times, but it was mainly due to sound, not an actual image on the screen. Most of the scare moments were predictable. I found myself guessing what scares were coming next. Granted, you didn’t always know what was about to jump out at you, you knew it was something and that took away a lot from the experience.
One thing the director (first-time feature film director Fede Alvarez) and producers (which so happened to be Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell) did right was have a lot of blood and gore depicted. And, when I say a lot, I mean an ass ton. I mean enough ridiculous blood and violence that it could make Quentin Tarantino say, “I could try to do better.”
In addition to all the blood, it was interesting to know that most of the special effects done were actually physical effects, and not CGI effects. It was that piece of trivia that really saved this movie for me. I found myself saying, at numerous occasions, “I can’t believe they actually did that.” So, to the special effects department, I tip my hat to you.
Overall, after my nitpicking and criticisms, it was an enjoyable experience. When I sat back and let the entertainment quality for the film overtake me, I enjoyed it. So, if you are a fan of horror films, especially classic horror films, this movie will probably please you with all the throwbacks to the original (especially after the credits, from what I’ve been told). But, if you are a moviegoer that’s looking to have your pants scared off of you, I’d say loosen that belt, because those pants are staying put.
It’s a Sam Raimi film after all.
As I walked out of the theater, I thought to myself, “Well, it was what it was. It was a Sam Raimi film.” See, I’ve found that if you lower your expectations for a Sam Raimi film, you’ll find that you’ll have a better time in the end. But, if you do feel inclined to watch this film, do so at home. That way you can bring a tent, because it is about to get real campy up in there.
You see what I did there?