This weekend I went to see the movie Evil Dead. This was a remake of the 1981 classic horror film with a humorous side of the same name. Actually the new version is called Evil Dead skipping the word “the” in front. The original director Sam Raimi and the original star Bruce Campbell were producers in the new incarnation of the film. Sam Raimi was apparently too busy directing Oz the Great and Powerful to take the helm of this new incarnation.
I must say I ordinarily don’t like the idea of recreating a movie where the original was made in color and created during my lifetime. I would love to see Hollywood look into some truly original films based on new stories. Cocaine Zombies for instance would make a great film should Mr. Raimi be so inclined.
That being said I have to admit I truly enjoyed the movie. I did have to change seats once because of a teen, screen talking girl. I ordinarily do not believe in the death penalty but would make an exception for people who talk during movies. This is a common problem I have during the opening weekend of horror movies.
The opening seen of Evil Dead shows a father having to kill his own daughter who is possessed by a demon. This is a new scene not copied from the original. In the original they find a tape by a professor and/or anthropologist talking about an ancient society. Another fundamental difference is in the new movie they are going into the cabin to help one of the woman overcome a drug addiction. This was an interesting choice since they could attribute her odd behavior to drug withdrawal symptoms. Although, the true nature of her behavior is quickly discovered.
The overall feel of the movie is also different. The 1981 film is as much a comedy as a horror film. Bruce Campbell came across as sarcastic throughout. The incarnation is far more horror movie than comedy. The cabin in the original looked like the Ritz compared to the cabin in the new movie. The new movie was much darker in almost everyway.
Both movies did a good job of creating feelings of isolation and claustrophobia. The new movie however was even scarier. It felt dirty, I felt as though I should put Windex on the screen at times. It is also far more violent and disturbing. That being said I would certainly recommend this film. That is a recommendation for old fans of the original as well new fans who never saw the original. There are plenty of nods to the original hidden among the violence of the new film. The old car in front, the rape scene in the woods, the chain saw, the shotgun, as well as some of the camera angles all reference the original.
In honor of the passing of Roger Ebert I found a youtube video of Siskel & Ebert reviewing the original film in 1981. Mr. Siskel hated the movie claiming it was too violent to enjoy. Mr. Ebert was also not a big fan of the film but gave more credit to the creators for a film that was better than many teen slasher films at the time. If they thought the original was gruesome I wonder how they would have treated this one?