By SAMANTHA STANFORD
Sam Ramini’s original “Evil Dead” trilogy’s cult following consists of dedicated fans which clamored all over the internet for months worried if this film would bring the franchise back to life or bury it for good. I have to say in the immortal words of “Evil Dead’s” famed protagonist, Ash, this film is groovy!
Thirty years after the original “Evil Dead” films, five potential victims travelled to a decaying, isolated cabin to help their friend detox from an opiate addiction. While trying to make the cabin livable, they stumble upon a room full of rotting animal corpses, scorch marks and a demonic spell book written in blood and bound in human flesh.
Seeing the sinister manuscript with phrases such as “Don’t open this book” and “Don’t read this, say this, think this” scribbled on the pages makes one want to do the exact opposite. Their curiosity eventually wins as one of the characters reads a passage from the “Naturom Demonto.” This leads into a blood spewing, face ripping, demon possessing, and limb dismembering fight for their lives.
This remake lacks the comedic characteristics of the original. It addresses the subjects of addiction and abandonment by including characters such as Mia, the addict, and her brother, David. He left home and consequently left young Mia to care for their sick mother.
On a positive note, the film lacks the cheesy comedy of bad makeup, gross gags and snappy comebacks and its famed “man with the chainsaw hand” protagonist, Ash Williams played by Bruce Campbell. The film stays true to the original in a few ways. One way being the excellent “evil is coming” vertigo style camera work. The director, Sam Ramini created this awesome foreboding style of the camera weaving randomly through the sinister woods like the camera itself is alive and moving being. This gives the audience an organic “first-person” perspective of the evil “demon” searching for a victim to inhabit.
In a few other instances, the remake has taken scenes such as the famous “possessed tree” incident and made them even more horrific and disturbing that it can’t be described. Fans will be thrilled and disturbed to these homage’s to the original.
Sadly, two items in question could bring a frown to any diehard fan’s face. The first item pertains to the “Naturom Demonto” book. The prop itself looks amazing on camera. Its classical brown leathery skin, stitched cover and the gorgeous illustrations exceeds those of the original. The only issue is the name itself. The book was indeed named the “Naturom Demonto” in the original film.
However,in the two film sequels, three video game adaptations and a comic book series, the name that had been used for 30 years was “Necrononicon Ex-Mortis” often shorten to “Necronomicon’”or “that damn book.” One of the constants of the ever changing brand is the iconic “Necronomicon” name. With the name being familiar to fans and non-fans alike, shouldn’t it had been kept to reach a broader audience?
Last, the new characters themselves were a disappointment. All of the characters seemed two-dimensional. The writer created stereotypes of a horror film character such as the bad girl with an attitude, the “serious” guy with the overly nice girlfriend, the level headed smarty pants and the creepy dude who has to play with the supernatural and start the horror ball rolling. None of these characters stood out or made you want to say “I hope he or she survives.” The acting was decent but nothing special like what the original captured with the snarky Ash Williams.
Over all, “Evil Dead” is one of the best film remakes in the last few years. With Ramini and script writer, Fede Alvarez saying that a remake of “Evil Dead II: Dead before Dawn” is in the works, fans can expect even greater things in the future. “It’s something completely new and different,” says Alvarez in an interview with collider.com, “I’m so excited to see where that’s going to go.”