Pure. Horror. Awesomeness.
Five young people take to a dilapidated cabin in the woods in order to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her heroin habit. Her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), a friend who’s an RN (Jessica Lucas), and another friend, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and his girlfriend (Elizabeth Blackmore) all vow to look after her over the next few days and not allow her to leave. A few hours in, however, the five detect a foul odor in the cabin, which leads them to discover a trap door to a basement they never knew existed. There, they find a number of animal carcasses hung from the ceiling in ritualistic fashion… and a thick, tightly packaged book, wrapped shut with barbed wire.
Inquisitiveness gets the better of them, and when the book is unwrapped it’s revealed to be an ancient tome with a cover made of sewn human flesh, filled with strange writings, pictures of demonic rituals, and blood writ warnings not to read from its pages. Throwing caution to the wind, however, Eric reads aloud from the book and unwittingly releases an evil entity.
It’s then that all Hell breaks loose.
When I say all Hell breaks loose, I mean it, too. From the moment they read from the Necronomicon, all manner of injury and death awaits the five youth. There’s a seemingly endless barrage of possession, beatings, stabbings, amputations, and shootings… it’s a wide variety of pain and carnage that ensues. Demons hiss and heckle as the insanity unfolds. As the unaffected fight the possessed, there are shotguns, nailguns, broken glass, pliers, and chainsaws brought into play. The cabin becomes the scene of a close quarters struggle for life and death.
“Evil Dead” has plenty of Evil, and plenty of Death. Absolutely horrific things unfold onscreen. It’s borderline torture porn that these people endure, with an exquisite frosting of demonic possession. The victims struggle to understand what’s going on, then struggle not to get killed. All the while, there’s the looming threat that they could succumb to the demonic spell that’s fallen over the cabin. I watched it all with a wide-eyed glee.
The cast was adequate, I don’t particularly have any raves to hand out for the acting. In fact, my one mild disappointment of the film was Shiloh Fernandez’s David, who I felt was lackluster. The others are fine, however, and Jane Levy has a couple of memorable moments.
Director Fede Alvarez is the real star of the show, here. The camera is alive, tracking the victims almost as if it were stalking them itself. It rushes and zooms around at times, reminiscent of Raimi’s work in the first film. At others, he focuses tightly in on someone’s horrified face. But it always seems to be exactly where it needs to in order to maximize the horror of the situation. He includes numerous nods to the original in order to satisfy fans of the property, then proceeds to unleash an updated, superior film that feels like a celebration of what horror films can be.
“Evil Dead” will certainly delight all fans of horror. It’s gory, and gruesome; soaked in blood and filled with dismemberment, all in the best of ways. It’s a great remake and a great horror film. It’s the first film this year to make me say “That’s a top ten candidate”.