'Evil Dead' (2013) Review: A Deadly Serious Soft Reboot

Updated on January 28, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

After 1992's Army of Darkness, Sam Raimi took two decades to decide what to do with his beloved franchise. He experimented with new genres (Like the western The Quick and the Dead), was absorbed by the massive Spider-Man franchise for most of the beginning of the century, and with Drag Me To Hell, he wet his feet again with the slapstick-horror.

However, in the end, Raimi and Bruce Campbell decided to pass the creative baton to the young Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez, who was a new sensation after his 2009 Youtube short sci-fi film Panic Attack!

The plan was simple. If the Alvarez experiment was successful, Raimi would return to direct Army of Darkness 2 and a hypothetical seventh film that would unite both storylines.

Evil Dead exists in that strange and gray limbo of the soft reboot. Although it happens chronologically after the three films that we already know, there is no direct relationship with the previous events and, above all, the tone of this film is decidedly different from the Raimi trilogy.

This Evil Dead takes itself much more seriously. It almost claims the original intentionality of the original film, which because of its low budget and Raimi's sense of humor would end up succumbing to the wonderful exaggeration.

And although it still includes rapist trees, demonic books, and the iconic POV shot of the evil being through the forest, this film intensifies the serious explicit gore and almost completely eliminates the slapstick-caricature-humorous component. There are also no memorable one-liners (except for the groovy post-credits that serve as an empty promise to the continuity of the saga).

But it's the same forest, the same cabin in the woods, and the same Necronomicon. The difference is the time and the young people who will be victimized by the demons. Of course, there is no Bruce Campbell's Ash. The protagonist is a heroin-addicted teenager called Mia (Jane Levy), who decides to spend a few days isolated from society, with her brother and friends, to overcome her addiction.

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If this movie existed in a universe where Sam Raimi's trilogy had not existed, it would very likely be a horror classic. But by the inevitable comparison, it's impossible not to perceive it as a very solid, well-made but somewhat unoriginal film.

Fede Alvarez is a great director. It's amazing that this is his debut and not his fifth or sixth movie. Before the impossible challenge, he has made a movie with a great personality, full of disturbing moments, satisfactory over-the-top violence and with an enviable rhythm and handling of suspense and terror.

Besides Alvarez, Jane Levy is the main reason why this movie works. Scream queen, heroine, and villainess, this Amy is everything at different times, with a muscular performance so energetic that it's impossible not to want her in a sequel.

Evil Dead deserves better. But with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell migrating to the TV world with the wonderful Ash Vs. Evil Dead, it seems that the possibilities of an Evil Dead 2, Army Of Darkness 2 and that seventh movie that unites Mia and Ash stories, are scarce.

Also have a look at our opinions on what is the best Evil Dead movie.

Title: Evil Dead

Release Year: 2013

Director(s): Fede Alvarez

Actors: Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, a.o.

3 stars for Evil Dead 2013

© 2018 Sam Shepards


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