I can smell your filthy soul.
Take 2 cult classics, The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. Throw them into a blender with fairly unknown actors and a director being given his big breakthrough chance. What comes from this risky mixture is something quite pleasant and rather refreshing.
This is Evil Dead, directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by the talent behind the original trilogy Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. Evil Dead focuses on 5 young adults surviving in a remote cabin when a passage from the Book of the Dead is spoken out, Demons are awakened and all hell is broken loose. Funnily enough Evil Dead had been seen as a reboot/ remake prior to release, however it is now understood this serves as a continuation of the old trilogy. This definitely feels like a decision made after the success of the movie as it did feel like a reboot when watching.
I say this because it borrowed many similar scenes and from both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. With that said though, the movie kept a lot fresh and always had me guessing what may happen next and to which character this may happen to. That’s the real beauty of the film, the cast. Having only 5 actors to carry a whole film can ask a lot of them, but these actors gave each character such a personality that I really felt for them once the Demon had gotten a hold of their soul.
Jane Levy as Mia was of course a stand out, being the main character with a troubled past. She played such a believable, recovering drug addict whilst also pulling out all the stops when possessed, giving a truly terrifying performance. The real star of the movie though was Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric, in the nerd with glasses role. Delivering some light humor when required and being the voice of reason throughout the whole movie. It’s also worth mentioning that this guy truly exceeded expectations as it seemed nothing could kill his character, no matter what they threw at him, he kept coming back. By the end I was cheering for his character.
Did Fede Alvarez buckle under the pressure? Could he not meet the expectations of fans? No. He did a wonderful job with the film, getting some very beautiful shots during the early daytime scenes with sunlight cutting through the forest behind the actors. It must of been hard to shoot in a cabin too, not a lot of room for elaborate camera shots, but he kept it fresh with techniques like smooth camera pans and quick cuts to keep the audience interested. He also succeeded in creating some fairly suspenseful scenes with jump scares to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Big thanks go out the special effects too, they kept the use of visual effects to a minimum, so a lot of what you see is really there and really convincing. To arms getting cut and ripped off, to tongues getting sliced in half, it was a gory treat and there’s no lack of it. Those not a fan of gore may want to give this a pass because it’s shown by the bucket load.
It’s hard to find fault with such an entertaining movie, whilst being only minor, I did manage. For me the pacing was a little off at the start. The movie kicks off with a bang but then boils down to 30 minutes of not much happening. This is used to build up the characters and establish them within the world, but I feel this is just 10 minutes too long. Maybe some creepy forest shots or a more detailed look at the Book of the Dead could have helped break up those 30 minutes into something with a little more pace. Thankfully, everything after that is a blast moving along at the perfect speed and not slowing down.
I’ve kept spoilers down to a minimum in this review, so I won’t go into detail about the final 10 minutes of the movie. What I will say is that it is a very intense encounter and the absolute highlight of the movie for me. Full of gore, suspense, violence and Evil Dead.
After countless ghost movies taking the lead within the horror genre, it is a very welcome change that we get a gory, balls to wall horror movie not afraid to throw everything at you. I cannot wait to see it again. As for the confirmed sequel, I have high hopes. If Fede Alvarez is back at the helm it’s safe to assume, we’ll be in for another fantastic trip back into the pages of the Book of the Dead.
8 Sliced Tongues out of 10