It's a bit later in the day than I would have hoped, but I have mitigating circumstances. My computer decided yesterday at 7pm that it would be really really fun to have a complete meltdown, with constant crashes and 'bluescreens' and all sorts of other fun computer-based activities. It culminated in my losing everything, basically and I have since spent the day putting things back onto my computer. So - as promised, and only just after Tuesday - my review of Evil Dead.
I didn’t review it straight away, as generally if I come out of a cinema feeling underwhelmed, I find that the film grows on me, and I end up thinking it’s great – or alternatively, I come to the realisation that the film was just bad in itself and I don’t agree with critics or the general public in such a case. However, after a significant amount of time, I still had no positive or negative adjectives for it, something which I noticed was a trend both among the people I saw the film with, and the general population of the internet.
Almost in desperation, I watched the 1981 original, directed by Sam Raimi. This changed my opinion of the 2013 remake considerably. In 1981, cinematic effects were just not what they are today, and it makes the most tense moments of the film almost laughable, with its genuinely terrible ‘possession’ make-up, and poor acting. (Actually laughable – I laughed) With regards to the possession make-up and general effects, the 2013 version wins hands down, with the demons being extremely creepy – moving into scary. However, the acting still leaves a little to be desired, with over-exaggeration of lines and all of those other horror movie tropes. (Exaggerated screaming, making lots of noise when they could clearly benefit from being quiet, someone reading an ancient language which awakes demons despite glaring scribbled messages which state DO NOT SEE THIS, OR SPEAK IT OR HEAR IT, which would be some level of a deterrent to the average human being, especially one who is supposed to be intelligent, like Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) is, but that’s a different rant. Then there’s the strong-willed individual calling the demon ‘motherf***er’ before brandishing a chainsaw, etc. etc. etc.)
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One thing which is a massive improvement in the 2013 version is the back story of the characters. Although I came out not knowing any of their names, and not really caring either; after watching the original, I can honestly say that Mia (Jane Levy) – the new version of Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) – as the initial unfortunate soul who runs into the wrong demon is far more logical in terms of the storyline. For one thing, she is a recovering drug addict, which makes her erratic behaviour more understandable, and of course makes it more logical that she’d not be taken seriously when she is terrified of what she has witness and been through.
Something else which I really thought was a great touch with the remake is the inclusion of a sort of prelude, in which we are introduced to the book which outlines the possession process and how to get rid of the demons. This was effective to me simply because it starts the film with an element of tension, which seemed to come out of nowhere in the original.
Despite these comparisons, I’m still not prepared to say that the 2013 remake is good; it absolutely is better than the original on many levels; however as a single entity, it still left me feeling distinctly underwhelmed. I found the blood too much - it made it all seem slightly less serious when it appeared to be a film which does take itself seriously. Overall, I’d give it two and a half pandas, maybe edging towards three if I really compare it to the original. I may watch this film again, and next time I may appreciate it more, however for now, I just don’t think it’s for me.
That said, this...
is far better make-up
Next Tuesday I'll be reviewing a book which is about 30 years old, but I love it and I think it needs to be spoken about, especially since the author is one of my biggest literary heroes and he died a couple of months ago.
Anyway! See you Thursday (which is technically tomorrow by now) and sorry for being late,
thanks for reading, Laura