I will admit it — the red band trailer has had me excited for Evil Dead for months now. Now, normally I don’t get excited about much of anything, especially a modern horror flick and ESPECIALLY a remake. but my normal guardedness fell away for some reason with Evil Dead. I really like the original trilogy (I own all three), and frankly I haven’t seen a decent horror flick in the theater for a long time.
And that was what Evil Dead shaped up to be — a decent horror flick. It really doesn’t live up to the legacy of the original Evil Dead, but that’s how it is with remakes most of the time. It was a pretty solid movie, I thought. It was very well shot, and the sound effects were done very well. It had some downright creepy scenes, and I thought it did a good job ratcheting up the tension overall.
However, despite its technical proficiency, there was something missing. Despite having a bigger budget, better special effects, and the benefit of modern film technology, it wasn’t as creepy or fun as the original. Some of it had to do with the protagonist, and the fact that he was as dense as granite. Word to the wise: when people are carving their face off with broken glass, it probably isn’t because of a virus, especially if your hippie-looking (stupidly) read from a mysterious, flesh bound book only a couple hours ago. Some of it had to do with the contrived nature of the set up — for example, I’m certified to teach high school, but nowhere in the process did they teach me to read ancient Sumerian.
Not that I would read it to myself, out loud, when the book CLEARLY SAYS NOT TO!
See, that’s what bothered me the most, I think. The original is 32 years old and shot on a quarter million dollar budget, yet the writing is tighter and it is overall a much creepier movie. I mean, look at how they got around the pretty ridiculous scene I mentioned above — in the original, they find the Necronomicon in the basement beside a recorder containing the notes of an archeologist who is studying it. They play a section of the recorder where the archeologist reads an incantation from the book out loud, and thus accidentally summon the demons that torment them that night. Much more elegant, and it has a creep-factor bonus, since a fairly innocuous action brought about horrific consequences.
It isn’t really fair to compare a remake to the original. On the other hand, Evil Dead has been remade before — Evil Dead 2 was basically a remake, despite being billed as a sequel, and many regard it as better than the original. So perhaps it is a fair comparison. Don’t get the wrong impression though — I did like the Evil Dead remake. It was gory, creepy, and generally fun to watch in a theater full of squawking teenagers. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.