It’s not easy to successfully reboot a much-loved film franchise, for every ‘Casino Royale,’ there’s a Tron: Legacy. For every ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, there is ‘Day Of The Dead.’ There’s more of a failing trend than there are positive films being released that stay true to the already established legacy, while still injecting new blood into a franchise that might have already died a death. How many times have you gone to the cinema, or illegally downloaded a film, and been totally excited to see the new reinvention of Michael Myers, or Leatherface, but then became entirely bored by the generic exploits and predictable plot twists? I know that I have countless times; the recent Texas Chainsaw, which although did subvert the norm of the patriarchal tendencies, still didn’t take the final steps that it would need to make it something special.
Evil Dead, on the other hand, excels at what it always did best; being persistently, routinely and overwhelmingly terrifying while still keeping a modicum of the original trilogy alive.
There are some things that needed to be in this film to make it a proper Evil Dead film; one is that everything that seemed normal needed to be made to be terrifying, making the most mundane a possible source of horror, and the other thing are some of the staples of the series; a demonic book, the Raimi-cam, a high severing body parts count, and the most important of all, that chainsaw.
Every aspect of the original trilogy that you would expect to see pops up in one way or another during the 91 minutes that makes you think twice about packing a second pair of underwear.
Following an eventful weekend when four friends David (Shiloh Fernandez), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) (who’s names acrostically spells out DEMON) help one of their friends (played by Suburgatory’s Jane Levy) to kick her addiction from various drugs, which she stupidly throws down the drain when she should sell and buy Pogs with. Things take on a Lovecraftian twinge when the bodies of dead animals are found in the basement and a book, wrapped in a black bag and barbed wire, is brought to the surface and stupidly read aloud.
What follows is a rollercoaster of gore and blood culminating in one of the most grisly scenes that I’ve ever seen, and judging by the reaction of the audience, who tried to move as far away from the screen in their seats as possible, that they had as well. The acting and motives of the characters are sometimes unusual, but before you have time to dwell on that someone is getting their hand smashed about by a hammer and that’s the last thing that you’re worrying about.
If this film does nothing else, it sets up for a whole slew of new Evil Dead films, and as a sequel has already been announced as well as a continuation of the original films with an aim to diverge the timelines, we’re going to get lots of hot chainsaw action slicing before the decade is out. Plus, you can’t have enough of Bruce Campbell. That’s statistically and medically impossible.