Evil Dead (2013)

evil dead

  • Neither awful nor good, this Evil Dead remake is forgettable. 
  • Despite, in many ways, being effective as new-era horror, providing ample jump scares and even more gross out gore.
  • In that way, the lighting helps. Without ever being blatant, it cues us what is happening with characters, helping us predict whom the demon will next effect. Initially, we know that Olivia (Jessica Lucas) is in trouble not because the actor or screenplay foreshadow it, but because she is ominously lit with just enough subtlety to provide visual reference.
  • The film’s audio is less effective, if only because it is too obvious and loud. Perhaps Writer/Director Fede Alvarez thinks louder means scarier, but here volume has the opposite effect, sometimes overwhelming the visuals. Ditto that for the obviousness of the auditory cues. Frequently enough we know we’re about to see something scary (or disgusting), because the music or audio design declares it before we see it, which in turn dulls the image’s impact.
  • The plot’s absurdity hinders the picture, as well. Obviously, this remake is no more or less preposterous than the original, but the 1981 version used humor to offset such silliness. Here humor is absent, however, so the absurdity proves distracting. As one trite example, neither air nor electric nail guns are as powerful as Evil Dead would have us believe. 
  • Some of the effects, whether natural or digital, are equally distracting.
  • Yet, the actors are committed enough to maintain our attention. Jane Levy (Mia), Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric) and Shiloh Fernandez (David) all find enough humanity to make us care.
  • Oddly, so does the screenplay, despite its ridiculousness. The characters and their relationships receive just enough attention to generate moderate concern, even without three dimensional development.
  • So it is that Evil Dead remains entertaining enough to survive its run-time. Its flaws exceed its merits, but it manages to be watchable all the same.
  • Final Grade: D+
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41 thoughts on “Evil Dead (2013)

    • I actually I thought it was decent enough that I don’t regret watching it either.

      I don’t recommend anything I give a D+, but I do think it has enough entertainment value to not be a complete waste of time.

  1. I liked this more than you, but can’t really quibble with any of your complaints. Mostly, I just loved the look of the flim, like it was out of some gothic nightmare.

  2. Nice work. But until I see the original I really can’t comment on this because my initial reaction is to call this a pile of garbage, like most modern horror remakes are. 🙂

  3. I found it entertaining, and better than most of the horror films released in theaters these days. Not amazing, but worth a watch. The ending showdown was really fun from what I can remember. I would watch a sequel! Good points sir!

    • Thanks again. I agree it loses the fun of the original, but that on its own doesn’t really bother me. This one puts a different spin on a similar story, which, in my opinion, is the only reason to make a remake.

      My problem is that it could have executed its version of the story better.

    • I agree. I thought all the characters in this were just stupid. I kept thinking of Grover in “There’s a Monster at the end of this Book” when that one kid kept trying to open the Necromincon. It was secured with all these warnings and yet he still opened it anyways.

      • I didn’t even make that point in the review. But I agree. This would have been been better if characters had not made stupidly senseless decisions for no reason.

  4. Aw, shame you didnt like it. I thought it was a blast. Once everything kicks into shape in the second act, Evil Dead becomes a blast! Director Fede Alvarez clearly has the sam keen eye for lighting and atmosphere that Sam Raimi exhibited in the original.

    • I will give you that – the lighting and atmosphere are well executed.

      I also wouldn’t go quite so far as to say I didn’t like it. A D+ from me still means its entertaining enough to watch, even if it is flawed enough that I wouldn’t recommend it for most audiences.

  5. I found this film irritating because so many things didn’t add up and the filmmakers didn’t care if it made sense or not, as long as they could keep it at full-tilt action for the run-time of the film. I was a huge fan of the original from when it came out and can’t say that it wasn’t silly in some aspects but at least it didn’t try to be so serious – the original even made fun with its own flaws. this remake had no suspense whatsoever – it was like an action movie. But that’s just me, results may vary 🙂 And perhaps because I am such a big fan of the original, I would have hated any remake.

    • Seems like I dislike it less than you, but I agree with the flaws to which you point. It is senseless, and doesn’t offset the absurdity with humor (the way the first one did).

      Definitely not nearly as good as the original.

  6. I thought it was a decent horror flick, some of it was kinda rare in horror nowadays – strong performance by the main chick and gore that was actually quite shocking. I don’t particularly want to revisit that one, but it wasn’t awful and many new horrors are.

    • I actually completely agree. It is flawed, especially narratively, but it is still entertaining enough to be watchable. I don’t really recommend it, but nor do I totally condemn it.

  7. I wanted to be scared when I saw this, and I was not. The gore effects were impressive but many of the characters were so dumb I did not care if the lived or died. Despite some of the techincal flaws of the original. It’s still has moments that are very scary and at least the characters were fascinating. Good review.

  8. Clearly we are a long way apart on this one. I thought it was exactly what I wanted to see. A scary, Gore filled thriller that pays tribute to the original but stands on its own. I don’t know why someone would not find this frightening, I turned to my kid that went with me and both of us muttered “Holy S#@t, WTF?” I did not think the characters were any more stupid than any other horror film, and in many ways they are smarter. Their reason for being there is less frivolous and the willingness to try some traumatic solutions that most of us would never consider.

    • Their reason for being there is reasonably fleshed out, and I do like that. There is loads of gore, which does stand the test of modern horror. In other words, this one is, at times, scary.

      Even in disagreement, we have agreement here.

      I just think the film also very flawed, its merits notwithstanding.

  9. I actually had a decent time with this one. Then again, my expectations were quite low but like you, I had a fun time but did find it flawed. I’m a horror film buff but I like reading some other reviews, like yours, that can put some of them in perspective. Nice job! Thanks!

  10. …I just couldn’t understand why they remade this in the first place. Or maybe I should say – I can “understand” I just don’t see the point!

    • There really wasn’t one. Especially since losing the humor means losing the story’s appeal, but keeping the humor means having no reason to exist.

  11. Really like this review. Gore fests do nothing for me. But I like seeing that a D+ film can still be a good time, we kind of both have the same grading concept. D just means heavily flawed. But many below average films are a lot more entertaining than C grade films.

    • I have noticed that we’re grading very similarly, as well, actually. Were you thinking about a Bell Curve when you started your blog?

      And yeah. Evil Dead was still fun – lots. It just isn’t really good.

      • I’d say so for the most part.

        May be a few differences, but I foremost I try to think about what the movie is and what it is trying to accomplish, often comparing it (mentally) to other similar fare or films it is grouped with for awards purposes, like say Best Picture for Oscar season.

      • I try to avoid comparisons, because I think it makes harder for me to judge something on its merits. But otherwise, it seems we follow a very similar process.

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