The time has come, once again, for yours truly, Franklin-Stein, to grace Dr. Terror’s audience with my thoughts on a horror flick. I will be thoroughly comparing this year’s Evil Dead Re-Make to Sam Raimi’s entire Evil Dead/Army of Darkness film series.
PLEASE NOTE THAT EVERY WORD BEYOND THIS SENTENCE WILL BE THROBBING WITH SPOILERY TID-BITS ABOUT EVIL DEAD (2013). ASK NOT WHAT MOVIES YOUR FRIENDS CAN SPOIL FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN SPOIL FOR YOUR FRIENDS.
My thoughts in a Nut-Shell: A person watching this movie with no knowledge of the original films will have an awesome experience. A person watching this movie with extensive knowledge of the original films and an open mind will have a great experience and will love all the winks and nods to the original. A person watching this movie with extensive knowledge of the original films and a closed mind (and/or an overall film-snob/hipster disposition with unrelenting purist tendencies) will have a terrible time and need not apply.
Having said that, I will henceforth cater to the Open-Minded enthusiast of the original films – because we are the best.
For the most part, the plots of both the original film and remake are similar and straightforward – A group of friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of The Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon demons lying dormant in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.
It’s obvious that precious few Horror Movie Re-Makes equal their original predecessor, let alone surpass it. In this case, I feel the Re-Make honors the original and pays extreme homage to it while realizing it could never improve upon it, while, at the same time doing a decent job of being its own film and updating the story to a more contemporary setting. This is my favorite Re-Make thus far…
They took the most interesting plot-points and/or themes/scenes from all 3 original films and funched them together into a journey of insanity. We’ll get to that all in good time.
In this film rather than a group of friends meeting in a remote-cabin to "Nis Tu Tarim/PAARRTY DOOWWN!!!!!”, a group of friends meet in a secluded cabin in order to support one of the members as she tries to detox from drug addiction. Mia is attempting to detox from an opiate addiction with the support of her friends Eric, Olivia - a registered nurse, her brother David, and his girlfriend Natalie - a physician.
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: MIA
Mia is attempting to detox from an opiate addiction as I said 2.5 seconds ago. Her character is an amalgamation of Ash, HIS SISTER CHERYL!, Linda (circa Evil Dead ’81) and Annie’s Mom, Henrietta and Linda (circa Evil Dead II).
Allow me to explain. Mia is (sorta) the main character of this film, which isn’t revealed until later in the film. As the main character, Mia is Ash and is ultimately challenged to survive the gory ordeal. She’s also possessed by the dark forces and then “Healed” or whatever.
Mia is Accosted and Molested by the Forest and thrown into the basement, which makes her Ash’s SISTER CHERYL!
While in the Fruit-Cellar aka Basement Mia sings a Nursery Rhyme song, which makes her Annie’s Mom, Henrietta Knowby.
I liken her to Linda of the original film and sequel because she gets buried alive-ish and has some pseudo decapitated-esque dialogue…
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: DAVID
The character “David” is an amalgamation of the Ash character and a Red Herring, because we’re lead to believe that he’s the main protagonist by basically pitting him against the others as they become possessed one-by-one. That is until he gets stabbed in the throat by a Deadite-ified Eric and then sets the cabin on fire, effectively sacrificing himself.
(Mia’s brother) David's showing up to the cabin surprises Mia, as their relationship became strained since their mother's hospitalization and eventual death. David, fearful his mother's mental illness is/was genetic and that he (and possibly Mia) might suffer from it, ran away from the situation leaving Mia to care for her as she died. Mia became addicted to opiates, and this retreat is her latest attempt to attain sobriety.
I love the fact that the filmmakers knew better than to even try and replace/update Bruce Campbell’s historic Ash character; this was an extremely smart move on their part. Instead, they completely took the Ash and “HIS SISTER CHERYL!!!” characters out of the film. They did, however, keep the Brother-Sister dynamic which I think helped created an emotional connection between the characters.
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: ERIC
“Eric” is an amalgamation of Scotty (circa Evil Dead ’81) because he’s basically a mega-jerk and he plays his part in unleashing the demons – and Ed (circa Evil Dead II) because he knows Latin and stuff. The Eric character is also a blend of Boris the Blade (circa Snatch) because he’s basically unkillable until nearly the end of the film. Needles and Crowbars and Nails OH MY! Poor guy…
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: OLIVIA
I’m still trying to figure out who Olivia - a registered nurse, is comparable to. Basically, I’d liken her to Shelly (circa Evil Dead ’81) because she basically just hangs around waiting to get possessed…
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: NATALIE
I liken Natalie to Linda (circa Evil Dead ’81) and Ash (circa Evil Dead II). She is the girlfriend of David (the Pseudo hero) and her hand gets possessed and eventually chopped off and so forth…
OK, now that I’ve confused you all to death, let me clarify. Take a step back from all the character references I just made and assimilate this:
Mia and David are brother and sister.
David and Natalie are boyfriend and girlfriend.
Olivia is just a friend to the group.
Eric is just a friend to the group.
They all gather in the cabin in an effort to help Mia to kick her addiction, cold-turkey.
Eric and David discover the Naturan Demanto.
Eric reads passages from it and unleashes the demons.
Alright, now I’d like to take the opportunity to address a few of the Easter-Eggish Winks-N-Nods to the original films. I know for a fact that I will miss or Mis-Diagnose some of these, so bite me. I never claimed to be a Rocket-Surgeon nor a Brain-Scientist, so gimme some slack. Feel free to (POLITELY) clue me in to all the things I missed, Savvy? These are just the ones that jumped out at me as I sat in the theater.
- The 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88
- Naturan Demanto/ Necronomicon/Book of the Dead - I was saddened by the fact that the newest incarnation had no face, but oh well. That's a long story.
Now for the Post Game Report:
Is this movie fun? - Yes
Is it gory as can be? - Yes
Is it scary? - I jumped a few times.
Did it scare me as much as the first time I saw the Original Evil Dead and/or the subsequent sequels - Compared to the original - No. Compared to EDII - No. Compared to Army of Darkness - Yes.
Is it campy and/or unintentionally funny? -Just a lil.
Is it better than the original/s? - Not by a longshot.
Does it pay proper homage to the original/s? - I think so.
Is Bruce Campbell in the film? Yes and No.
Should you see it immediately? That depends on what type of person you are...
I'll say this, one more time: A person watching this movie with no knowledge of the original films will have an awesome experience. A person watching this movie with extensive knowledge of the original films and an open mind will have a great experience and will love all the winks and nods to the original. A person watching this movie with extensive knowledge of the original films and a closed mind (and/or an overall film-snob/hipster disposition with unrelenting purist tendencies) will have a terrible time and need not apply.
My final thought on this movie?
Born and raised in southern West Virginia, Frank Browning's passion for art developed at a very young age.. He would spend time recreating his favorite images from his beloved Marvel comic books while "Empire Strikes Back" played in the background. He continued to develop his talent throughout high school, then took that talent to college. He graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, with a bachelor's in graphic design.
Frank has a broad range of talent and has designed for the likes of Spencer's, Hot Topic, FYE, HBO, Capcom, Epic Games, DC, Warner Brothers, and Jim Hensen Company, to name a few. Many of his designs can still be found in Spencer's stores today.
Frank currently works for the West Virginia Department of Education and enjoys doing freelance design projects. He loves all things horror, Star Wars, and Marvel, but his favorite thing is spending time with his wife and son.