At the Movies - Evil Dead - review

Jane Levy as Mia in 'Evil Dead'.

Jane Levy as Mia in 'Evil Dead'.

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Fede Alvarez’s film was barely two minutes old and already a female cinema-goer was scuttling down the steps and heading towards the exit of Screen Four of the Brunswick Moviebowl.

Admittedly, intensity and adrenaline levels were heightened during the late night screening of ‘Evil Dead’ and flying in the face of so many other horror re-makes, Alvarez’s movie does not disappoint.

If horror is your genre and gore is to your liking then ‘Evil Dead’ will leave you as pleased as a vampire in a blood bank.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from Alvarez’s offering. The original 1981 film made by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell is a cult classic and it was difficult to see how Alvarez was to emerge with anything worth talking about.

I’d watched Raimi’s ‘The Evil Dead’ again a few weeks ago and despite its extremely dated portrayal of all things blood, guts and gore it’s still a top class film with great self-awareness with no fear of appearing a little camp.

‘Evil Dead’ is Alvarez’s first Hollywood outing and when you consider that the Uruguayan born director first came to prominence with a short movie (‘Ataque de Pánico!’ - ‘Panic Attack’) released on YouTube several years ago it makes the fact he’s now directing big budget horror movies even more impressive.

Alvarez has great style, technique and his decision to stay away from Computer Generated Imagery (C.G.I.) is one that propels ‘Evil Dead’ from satisfactory to very good indeed.

Although ‘Evil Dead’ remains very much faithful to Raimi’s original it exists more like another chapter rather than a remake or indeed a sequel.

The creepy cabin, the young people, the Book of the Dead (Naturom Demonto), the basement, the trap door, that tool shed and the chainsaw are all there but Alvarez injects his own venom to make some scenes even more wincing.

The young people’s reason for visiting the isolated cabin in ‘Evil Dead’ is more real than it is in Raimi’s movie.

Five friends all meet up at the cabin to help one of them (Mia) to overcome her drug addiction.

This makes for great viewing because as Mia starts to withdraw I was left pondering if what she was seeing was all in her head and as a direct result of her going cold turkey. No sooner has Alvarez presented that red herring and we are right in the middle of what can only be described as a bloody, bum clinching nightmare.

The hero in Raimi’s ‘The Evil Dead’ was Ash (Bruce Campbell) but Alvarez decides to be more ambiguous and just when I thought he’d made a massive mistake, he made me think he’d made the story even better.

It’s unfair to suggest that ‘Evil Dead’ is perfect because it’s not. Some of what happens is a little frustrating but there’s no room for logic in the world of gore and bloodlust.

The vast majority of the characters are well written and the most entertaining is Lou Taylor Pucci for his empathy evoking and joke dropping performance as Eric.

Eric endures so much pain and distress that he makes Mel Gibson’s tortured William Wallace at the end of ‘Braveheart’ look like a big girl’s blouse.

Jane Levy is tremendous as the tormented Mia and her face and eyes, whilst absolutely beautiful, will be amongst the most scary and wretched to be seen on the big screen this year.

Alvarez has certainly arrived in Hollywood with style but the film’s triumph is its blood and gore.

Alvarez’s harnessing of light and understanding of what makes a horror film entertaining makes for some truly amazing grand finale scenes.

There’ll be screams, there’ll be laughs, there’ll be squirming in seats, there’ll be cries and if Alvarez is to be believed there’ll be a sequel. Fingers (or what’s left of them) crossed!

‘Evil Dead’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl; for full movie listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com

VERDICT: 4/5 - It’s too easy to give a movie like ‘Evil Dead’ two or three stars but that’s just film snobbery. Hats off to Alvarez for making a truly entertaining re-launch of the Sam Raimi franchise. Will people want to watch it again? Most definitely. Logic has no place in the world of horror and when it comes to blood, guts and gore ‘Evil Dead’ is perhaps one of the most enjoyable horror movies of the last few years. A gore-fest like no other.