Evil Dead (2013)

(On Cable TV, November 2013) This remake was unnecessary.  After all, they have remade 1981’s The Evil Dead, and it was called Evil Dead 2, and it remains one of my favourite films ever.  So I went into this Evil Dead walking backwards, not expecting much… and “not much” is what I got.  I’ll grant that director Fede Alvarez knows what he’s doing: the film drips with atmosphere, and the direction of the film is amazingly self-assured for what it tries to do.  Unfortunately, the film really wants to be the kind of film that leaves me cold: balls-to-the-wall gory horror with enough pouring blood to drown entire litters of kittens.  Story-wise, Evil Dead feels like an empty, poorly-motivated return to clichés: Oh, here’s an evil book, here’s someone dumb enough to read it out loud, here are the inevitable consequences.  Wasn’t The Cabin in the Woods an attempt to move on from this kind of thing?  All of which to say that despite the film’s tree rape (sigh… again), mutilated jaws, self-amputations (can electric knives cut through bone?), pouring rain of blood, doppelganger fight and chain-saw eating, there’s not a whole lot of interest here.  The late protagonist-switching is interesting from a narrative point of view, but that’s a thin veneer of interest in what is a by-the-number gore-fest, even if it’s a well-made one.  It could have been worse, but by aiming itself squarely at gore-hounds, Evil Dead earns itself a big faintly-nauseated shrug from everyone else. 

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