After watching the red band trailer over and over the big day is here. Evil Dead has hit theaters! Produced by writer-director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice) of 1981's The Evil Dead, the creative reins for this reimagining were handed off to new writer-director Fede Alvarez. Alvarez originally met with Raimi to produce a full-length feature based on his short Panic Attack (2009). When that film got put on hold, Raimi asked the young filmmaker if he'd be interested rebooting Evil Dead. He definitely was.
Fans of the splatter genre should be too. The premise is nearly identical to the original: Two guys and three gals decide to spend a weekend in a old wooden shack and accidentally unleash the dead (called Deadites) when one of them says a few words from an ancient book, The Necronomicon, aka the book of the dead. One by one these BFFs turn on each other, until only one is left.
The original spawned an instant classic sequel (ED2: Dead By Dawn) and the way-out-there medieval fantasy jaunt The Army of Darkness. Each film got sillier and sillier but Ash (Campbell) grounded the series with physical comedy and groovy one-liners. Wisely, the new film doesn't have new leading man Shiloh Fernandez attempting his own Ash. His character, David is more down-to-earth. The true standout is Surburgatory 's Jane Levy as Mia, sister of David. An action-packed, extremely gory, 90 minutes await you at the multiplex. Here are five ways Evil Dead keeps the jolts coming.
1. The Goriest R-rated Film of the 21st Century: When the original Evil Dead was released in 1981, it was deemed too violent for an R by the MPAA, but nowyou can see the cult classic on network television. Gore hounds can get their fill of decapitations every week on AMC's The Walking Dead. Unlike that hit series, however, the blood in Evil Dead doesn't look computer-generated. Wherever possible Alvarez used practical effects. There are a few shots that look computer-tweaked, but pretty much every nail pierced, every limb dismembered was shot in camera, which goes a long way to convince even the most skeptical that you really can splice through anything with an electric kitchen knife.
2. The First Scream has Zero to Do with Deadites, Everything to Do with Going Cold Turkey: One of the best aspects of this new version of Evil Dead is that Mia (Levy) has ventured to this cabin in the woods to control her drug addiction. She tried quitting before, but only lasted eight hours. Friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) will not let this happen again. As long as estranged bro David (Fernandez) doesn't give in to Mia's pleas to leave, everything will be fine. It's a great hook ensuring that once Mia comes to face-to-muddy-face with "It," no one believes her. They think it's just the junkie trying to trick them!
3. It Really Is "the Most Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience:" The film has an unrelenting editing style. Most horror scenes cut away from the "good stuff" by literally slamming a door on the viewer. Here a doors slams, but we're stuck in the same room as Deadite and a soon to be victim. Director Alvarez taunts. Almost dares us to look away. Don't! What, you don't wanna be trapped in a restroom with her?!
4. Tons of Easter Eggs for Fans of the original Evil Dead Trilogy: If you don't know the difference between a Book of the Dead and a Book of Spells don't worry, the plot is easy enough to follow, but if you have seen the original Dead pics you're in a for a treat. An old Oldsmobile makes an appearance, as does Raimi's rip-roaring demon-in-the-forest POV and so much more. Plus, in some cases, certain character traits are switched. And let's just say that old way of dispensing the Necronomicon ain't gonna work this time. Bonus: Be sure to stick around for the credits for a cool bit of audio nostalgia. And at end of the credits? Super brief, but so totally worth it.
5. Jane Levy is Officially a Scream Queen: Levy earns her cred by wrestling a nasty thorn bush, burning herself in a shower and proclaiming "You're all going to die tonight." Once she's put in the cellar, the real fun begins as Levy amps up possession 'tude to new heights of cray cray. All at once she's creepy and quite funny. Does she ever let up? Sure, even a chainsaw gal like Mia takes time out to bask in blood-soaked rain. That's her kind of downtime.
Can you stomach it? Will you be doing an Evil Dead marathon this weekend? Sound off in the comments!