Release Date: 5 April 2013 (USA)
As far as the fans of the original Evil Dead franchise are concerned, Sam Raimi was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Who wasn’t a little wary after three Spiderman films? Remaking a cult classic is tantamount to mortal sin nowadays, and there are plenty of people who didn’t want Raimi to remake, or add a sequel to, his magnum opus. Bruce Campbell even came out in 2007 to assure people the idea of bringing the film back was dead in the water due to fans’ extreme displeasure at the idea. Yet just four years later, he was back to say that a remake script had been written, that it would “kick some ass” and by god if Bruce Fucking Campbell says the script is awesome, then the script is awesome. And so the tide began to turn a little in favour of everyone’s old gory favourite, but the waters were still left churning by the dissenters who claimed Campbell and Raimi, now set to act as producers, were selling out for the profit.
And could anyone blame them? In America, the climate for gore and splatter films was frigid. Since The Evil Dead’s original release in 1981, dismemberment, carnage, torture, and blood-soaked mayhem had dwindled down to straight-to-video release and then finally shipped off-shore. Had we become too aware of the social climate or paranoid about the effects of indulgent violence on our youth? Surely the remake of a movie involving unflinching looks at ripping flesh, eye-gouging, wanton dismemberment, and a woman raped by a tree would be cleaned up and sanitized to a point beyond recognition if it was released by a major motion picture company in 2013.
When the original green band teaser came out for Fede Alvarez’s remake, it looked like the naysayers could have been right. The original film hadn’t been scary, and neither did the new remake look like it promised anything new in terms of actual terror – or anything new at all actually. Recognizable scenes were there, but while these things had been provocative in 1981, in 2013 the scary cabin in the woods film is merely old cliché… yeah, thanks in part to The Evil Dead. But if you’re a gore hound, and aren’t expecting some momentous psychological breakthrough with this film, then the full length red band trailer probably titillated you.
So far, Alvarez, Raimi, Campbell and the actors have been pretty outspoken about what this film is: while there are probably a few jump scenes, Evil Dead is going to be giving fans the sort of knee-jerk, cringing reaction that’s only caused by some serious splatter. And things do literally splatter in this film. Plenty of self-mutilation, self-immolation, rain showers of blood, bubbling, crackling skin, and chainsaw dismemberment should satisfy the blood lust in of the most hardened souls. And consider this: Alvarez employed no CGI effects for his blood feast, instead going back to the roots and using practical effects for all his disgusting needs. Finally, someone heard my prayers. I’m sold.
By Kiki McGraw