by Francois Coulombe, contributing blogger
Why are we reviewing a Hollywood remake on a blog about Argentina cinema? “Evil Dead” was filmed in Michigan, like the original, with a $14 million dollar budget (about 6 times more than the average Argentine movie budget). Its director provides the connection: Fede Alvarez is a native of Uruguay * and has never directed a movie before. His only film is a short, “Ataque de Pánico!” (Panic Attack) which received more than 7 million visits and Hollywood notoriety. So much so that they offered him the job of taking on the remake of a classic at the young age of 34.
For a first feature film, you could believe that he’s been at it for years. This just sets a new bar in modern horror. But he had help from all the right places: Sam Raimi (Director of The Evil Dead) and Bruce Campbell (b-movie legend) on board was a perfect move to satisfy the fans. This is not a humoristic Muppet show like Army of Darkness. This is pure horror!
The plot is simple and loyal to the original: In hope to kick her heroin addiction, Mia (Jane Levy) and four of her friends head to her parents’ cabin where they discover the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead). Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) unwittingly summons a dormant demon who takes possession of Mia (Like if junk sickness wasn’t hard enough…). Due to flooding, they are stuck in the house fighting for their souls.
Unless I wear my ‘Star Treck Comicon Uber Nerd Hat’ and start picking miscellaneous details, this movie is very loyal to the original.
*Cameras chasing people.
*Loads of blood.
*Someone sawing his hand off.
*Even the house looks exactly the same!
But don’t get confused. This is not a direct remake. It is more like what “Evil Dead 2” was to “Evil Dead 1” (minus Bruce Campbell). A different setup for the same story remodeled to current time. The characters are more credible, the production value is higher and thankfully Alvarez opted for traditional VFX instead of CGI.
Unfortunately, stupid protagonists have been kept in. I don’t know about you folks but if there’s a demon in my basement… I’m not going down there. I also found the script to be uselessly vulgar. But just when you think that the movie is about to become predictable, Alvarez flips everything around with an unexpected climax and a really stylish ending.
The opening weekend made $26 million in the US alone and scored 7.5/10 on imdb.com. In Hollywood terms, this means that we should expect more films from the young Uruguayan Director.
*Yes, Uruguay is not part of Argentina–but its pretty close.