Monday, May 6, 2013

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

This weekend I went with my buddy to see the new Evil Dead movie. While I don't pretend to be a movie critic or a movie buff even, I do have some comments about this movie. This post contains some minor spoilers (mostly of details of the movies and less of actual plot points) so beware!

(I decided to celebrate with a zombie themed outfit. It was super fun to wear, though unfortunately it was over 80 degrees outside...)

First off, I am a big fan of the original trilogy (and of Bruce Campbell). The reason I love the originals so much is that not only are they horror movies, but also satire (at least in my opinion). There are many moments of humour, particularly poking fun of the movies themselves and of horror movies in general. The memorable decomposition scene in the first Evil Dead that seems to last five minutes is a great example, as well as that all of the movies (including the newest) contain a lot of blood/gore. A lot. In addition, I also think that the original movies, Evil Dead 2 in particular, show the character arc of Ash very well. At first, he's scared out of his mind about what's happening and then as the movie progresses, he gets so fed up he decides to fuck everything and kill the evil.

"Give me some sugar, baby"
Now, I know that everyone is calling the new movie a remake of the original Evil Dead, but I don't feel that it is. I like to think of Evil Dead (2013) as a reimagination of the original movie. To begin with, they changed so many details of the cast and situation that I can't consider it a remake. I'm not saying I did not like the changes, I feel they worked just as well as the original details of the trilogy, but just that I can't comfortably call it a remake because of those changes.

There are many things about the new movie that I liked and many that I did not like. Let's start with what I liked:

First, I liked all the references to the original movies that were included. They were subtle but detectable to fans of the original trilogy, so I enjoyed those greatly. The music also reflected the music of the originals, and on its own it was fabulous and intense. Also, I liked some of the acting. Jane Levy did an excellent job of acting all crazy and evil and she did freak me out many times. The prosthetics and makeup were great and gorey. That leads me to the gore: it was just the right amount of grossness. I, personally, can't stomach slasher films but do like some gore. I feel that this movie came right up to the brim of my gore tolerance and I loved it. It was realistic and disgusting and uncomfortable (I mean, seeing huge nails penetrating out of someone's face or watching someone pull a hypodermic needle out from beneath their eye is pretty gross). Another thing: the build up on tension in most scenes was done very well. (SPOILER HERE!!!) In one scene in particular, I was dreading the moment when a character pulled back the shower curtain to reveal another character mutilating her face because the entire time you know what she is doing and can hear it too. Also, I'm freaked out by the idea of someone pealing off their skin.

There are some things I didn't like too. For one, they cut to a black screen and silence a bit too much for my tastes. This is a popular technique in horror movies and in some situations it works very well. In fact, in this movie there were instances where it worked incredibly well (when Mia runs her car into the water and hits her head on the car wheel for instance). When there is a natural transition, black screen can work. But there were a couple of times when they would cut to black screen randomly or just because an intense scene just happened. Then, it didn't work very well for me. Also, earlier I said I liked some of the acting and that is true. But there was some acting I hated. Shiloh Fernandez's acting was horrifically flat and boring. He delivered almost all of his lines (many of which are packed fully of emotional context) in monotone. If there's one thing I hate in this world, it is monotone acting.

But there are two major things about this movie that really got on my nerves (SPOILERS are in this section heavily, beware):
1. They twisted the plot too much. I had heard before hand that they had changed the main character from male to female. Obviously, the beginning of the movie makes it clear that Mia is the protagonist, so I was very surprised (having been familiar with the story of the originals) that she was the first to become one of the dead. The focus then shifted to David being the protagonist and thus would be the one to save the day and make the horrible sacrifice of killing his sister. BUT, then they pulled bullshit and had him resuscitate Mia. Now, in the second Evil Dead, Ash does become "infected" by the dead, but unlike the new movie, it is through his own strength that he resists and defeats it (plus cutting off his hand helped). But in this movie, Mia does not fight the evil off herself, she actually succumbs to it. It is only through the help of her brother that she survives. I was actually very afraid that after she came back from the dead that she would still be evil. But nope, she's perfectly fine and continues on to save the day! That felt a little forced and too plot twisty/deus ex machina to me (but that's just my opinion).
2. Mia jumped to being determined to kill the evil too suddenly. Like I mentioned before, the original trilogy (The Evil Dead 2, specifically) showed the transition to scared-shitless Ash to let's-kill-this-mother Ash gradually and you actually got to see him become fed up to the point wear her attaches a chainsaw to his arm to kill it. However, we do not get much if any transformation for Mia. She goes straight from scared for her life to ready to say a witty line and thrust a chainsaw through the thing's head. She is the heroine so she has to do something like that I guess, it just felt forced and sudden to me. I would have liked it more if she had undergone some sort of transformation. Then again, it would have been hard to show that since for the majority of the movie she's threatening to kill all of her friends and "feast of their souls". Maybe she shouldn't have been evil for so long...

Anywhosers, there's my two cents on Evil Dead (2013). Overall, I did enjoy the movie. It was gorey and scary. It was not very much like the original movies apart from the basic story line, however. Besides the apparent changes in details, the movie had none of the satirical humour the original trilogy had. This is not necessarily bad. I feel the serious tone fit this movie, just as the satirical tone fit the originals. It was just very different, hence way I assert that it is not a remake. So, I did like this movie, but I still love the original Evil Dead movies more.

For those of you who are fans of the originals like me, I'd saw this movie is worth seeing (if you haven't seen it already, I know this has been out for a month now...). Plus, if you do go see it, stay for the end credits! There is a special, special treat after the credits and you will be very happy if you see it (I think it actually my favourite part of the movie).

To wrap up once again, this movie was good! Everyone go see it and watch the original Bruce Campbell Evil Dead movies!


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