Buckets and buckets of blood are the star of Fede Alvarez’s “Evil Dead.” It’s been said that well over 50,000 gallons of fake blood were used, and when you see the end result, that’ll come as no surprise.
A remake of the fiercely loved 1981 cult classic “The Evil Dead,” this new version decimates all the camp and bits of humor that made the original a classic, leaving us with nothing more than another humorless, over-the-top horror flick.
The general premise is the same, with a few key changes: five friends head out to a remote cabin in the woods, only instead of going there to party, they’re there to help Mia (Jane Levy) cut her drug addiction cold turkey. Mia is our protagonist this time around; there is no Ash. A smart move, especially since not one of these actors has even an iota of the charisma and charm exhibited by Bruce Campbell in the 1981 version. The rest of the plot is more or less the same: when one of the characters finds a creepy book bound in human skin and wrapped with barbed wire that says “LEAVE THIS BOOK ALONE,” instead of staying far away like any sane individual would, he reads from it. And then all hell breaks loose.
The change in the initial setup does more than just set this one apart from the original — it gives the characters a somewhat clever reason to not catch on as quickly as they probably should. Why automatically jump to demon possession when your friend is cracking under the stress and pain of withdrawal? However, that’s where the praise for the screenplay swiftly ends. Talented screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”) was enlisted to do script revisions, but her mark is nowhere to be seen. There’s no wit or comic relief present in the final product; no punchy dialogue to keep things fun. Instead, the script has the possessed Mia sprout out sexually laced profanities à la Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” (she looks and sounds like her, too). Is this textbook demon behavior or something? Either way, when you make a movie this forgettable, the last thing you want to do is poorly imitate a far superior film.
“Evil Dead” doesn’t provide scares so much as it elicits cringing and downcast eyes. To put it plainly: this is a blood-andguts fest through and through. And really, that’s all this movie aspires to be. A boxcutter slices a tongue in half, eyes are stabbed with needles, the sky even literally rains blood at one point. For those looking for gore, they’ve come to the right place. For those looking for scares, move along — there’s nothing to see here.