Evil Dead (2013)

Horror remakes are not generally well-liked. I realize that’s about as obvious an observation as noting that some people aren’t terribly fond of puppy-killing, but it’s true all the same. And if you ask most viewers what their problem with these films are, mostly likely the answer will contain the word “PG-13”. People can’t stand to see their favorite horror movies watered down. “It’s not scary if you limit yourself, if you’re not willing to go there” is the general sentiment. Fans of the originals want to see all of the blood-splattering and graphic carnage that so affected them the first time around, and are confident that horror remakes’ consistent refusal to do so is the reason for their failure as films.

Evil Dead is proof that they were wrong. The gore was never the problem.

In point of fact, if you point to any aesthetic issues with a film as a reason for its awfulness, you’re almost always going to be off the mark. Surface issues like bad action, dialogue, acting, set and costume design, camerawork, etc. are just symptoms, not the disease. Battlefield Earth was not bad because it had too many Dutch angles or the costumes were goofy looking. It was bad because it was a sloppily put together vanity project. And in the case of remakes, the core problem is usually a lack of purpose. Tip for future filmmakers: When faced with a remake, the first thing you must do is ask yourself this question: Who are you making this film for? Fans of the original, or everyone else? The answer to that question should guide every decision you make on the film. If you try to cater to both audiences, you will end up catering to neither.

And unfortunately, it’s a question that director Fede Alvarez apparently never really answered for himself. The film has no idea whether it wants to update the film to be its own entity or just pay homage to the original, and as a result of this lack of focus, it succeeds at neither. On the one hand, the film frequently zigs where its predecessor zags, crafting a different narrative with its own themes and ideas, as well as more modern style and pacing. On the other hand, the film is filled with moments designed as callbacks, which leave all the non-fans in the audience scratching their heads wondering what they’re not in on.

Probably the biggest misstep among these homage moments is the recreation of the infamous “tree rape” scene. Granted, it’s one of the most memorable moments from the original, but why the hell would you want to include a moment that even Sam Raimi himself thought was a mistake the first time around? In the first Evil Dead, the rape scene, while arguably misogynistic, at least fit with the mindless exploitation movie tone. It was a shock moment in a film that was all about shock moments, so it worked. But the problem here is that this Evil Dead isn’t a mindless exploitation film. It has character arcs and running themes. The movie is, believe it or not, a metaphor for drug abuse. Not a very subtle or clever one, and the film tends to forget about it altogether, but it’s there all the same. It opens the movie, it closes the movie, it’s clearly meant to drive the movie emotionally. So how exactly does tree rape tie in to that? What does sexual violence have to do, either literally or symbolically, with this character’s arc? Why is this in your movie other than as a nod to the first one? Because I find it more than a little disturbing that you’re playing the brutal demonic rape of a young girl as fan service.

And that’s just the worst example. The film contains not one, but two references to the famous hand cutting scene from Evil Dead II, as well as a meaningful glance at a chainsaw by a character who never actually uses it. The crowning moment of pointlessness that pretty much sums the whole thing up is the post credits tag which is nothing more than a three-second clip in which Bruce Campbell walks on to say one of his famous catchphrases. No scene, no context, nothing actually happening onscreen, just a popular B-movie actor saying something you’ve already heard him say a thousand times*. Granted, a post credits tag is likely only to be seen by diehard fans anyway, but what kind of cheap, pandering, meaningless waste of Bruce Campbell’s time and ours was that? What are you making here, an Evil Dead remake, or an Evil Dead fan film?

That’s not to say the film is without merit. Fede Alvarez was reportedly handpicked by Sam Raimi, and it’s no wonder why. The dude is loaded with potential that just oozes off every frame of this film. I hope in the future he gets to work on his own projects where he doesn’t feel tied down to some previous legacy, because I could easily see great things coming from him. The gore is even better than the trailers implied: gooey, visceral, outrageous, and consistently entertaining. And he really gets good performances out of his actors, who throw themselves into this madness with wild abandon.

The stand out and instant scream queen is newcomer Jane Levy**. She’s absolutely astounding in her enthusiasm, nailing every moment, whether it calls for vulnerability or maniacal glee. If they follow through with their plans to make further sequels, following her character who will eventually meet and team up with the original Ash Williams [!?], then I’m onboard.

Evil Dead (2013)

But if this is to become its own franchise, it must learn to form its own style. Alvarez’s constant fluctuating from mimicking Raimi’s fondness for cheesy quick zooms to replicating the same grimy-looking, jump scare vibe as more modern horror films is not going to cut it. The film suffers from a lack of a singular identity, and while it has many enjoyable moments, it falls far short of the classic it’s spawned from.

*Which was immediately met by thunderous applause by the audience I was with, who immediately declared it “the best part of the film”. So I guess Evil Dead fans don’t mind being pandered to.

**Of whom I was apparently already supposed to be aware? Sorry, I don’t watch Suburgatory.

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  • Cristiona

    “It’s not scary if you limit yourself, if you’re not willing to go there”

    I have never, ever, understood this mentality. Gore isn’t scary; it’s lazy. You can scare the ever-loving shit out of someone with PG-13, and at times, restraint is more terrifying than being explicit. Hitchcock terrified a generation with a bottle of Bosco syrup, a casaba melon, and shrieking violins. In The Mouth of Madness scared the ever loving shit out of me, and I assure you, it wasn’t because of the fake blood. Machine Girl may have turned my stomach, but it didn’t scare me.

    “So I guess Evil Dead fans don’t mind being pandered to.”
    Was that ever in doubt? Simply referencing something is now the gold standard of comedy and “epicness”. Actual jokes and context are passe.

    • Gore may not be inherently scary, but it is inherently horrifying. Which, if you notice, is where the genre gets it’s namesake. =)

      • mssinykin

        Sometimes it’s inherently horrifying. If it’s seems to appear in small place where it shouldn’t be. Like bloodstains you want to hide, or signs of injury or dead bodies you can’t find. However,if you see blood on the towels in the back room of butcher shop and there’s no indication that it came from something not already dead, you have little reason to feel horror unless you’ve never been to a butcher shop.
        I think social attitudes and upbringing can often effect the audience reaction which unlike framing of content, the filmmakers have no control over. Too often though, horror like other mediums suffers from failing to look beyond a strictly male view. I some times wonder if men are more likely to be horrified by blood itself than women since they don’t have a reminder that bleeding occurs in the life cycle.

        • I have never been to a butcher shop, and I assure you if I did I would find that pretty damn horrifying.

          • Cristiona

            I have and it’s not. And gore, in and of itself isn’t necessarily horrifying either. Of the horror-terror-revulsion triumvirate, gore is revulsion.
            Something Wicked This Way Comes was a Disney movie and rated PG, and was very effective. And it would not have been improved with a few gallons of fake blood.

          • No one ever said Something Wicked This Way Comes required gallons of fake blood. This isn’t an either or situation. Some movies are horrifying because of gallons of fake blood, some movies are scary because of suspense. Some take different routes, or combine methods to produce different results. If every horror movie took the exact same approach, that would be boring. It’s why I welcome both the Insidious’ and the Evil Dead remakes of this world. Two different approaches, both incredibly effective.

          • Cristiona

            You’re missing my point. I’m objecting to the current mindset that any horror movie rated PG-13 is, de facto, a lame chopped mess made for the tween audiance and therefore beneath contempt for “true” horror fans.
            I’m just sick of the fact that horror and terror have been supplanted by base revulsion.

          • Where you see revulsion, I see true horror. Not everyone is horrified or scared or terrorfied by the same methods or concepts. That being said, if you told me you would not be horrified if you walked into a room and watched someone be gutted, I would definitely not believe you. Gore is revolting, yes, but it is also completely horrifiying. Disfigurement, dismemberment, mutilation, blood, entrails – These are horrific sights to see, as they are simultaneous reminders of both human fragility and cruelty. Now I too don’t find a PG rating an automatic red-flag – Some horror fans do, for good reason, but I don’t – however I sure as shit will call out a movie rated such if it feels watered down and safe because of it’s rating choice. Horror is not safe – It can be, sure, but that’s not what it is at it’s core. The truly great horror films push the boundaries of good taste, get to the core of what’s truly horrible and evokes the appropriate responses in the audience – Horror, Terror, Fear, Revulsion, Disgust and Sadness. That’s what makes The Exorcist a classic, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even a modern classics like Martyrs. They’re truly horrible and don’t hold themselves back because their audience might have weak stomachs. Good, the audience should have weak stomachs. That means their lives aren’t surrounded by death or violence, and in a perfect world no one’s would be. But we don’t live in a perfect world, which is what Horror films are here to remind us of and they do so in the most grotesque way possible. I love them for this, and I would not have any other way. And for the record, we are talking about Evil Dead here… a franchise built upon a gore fest. That’s what Evil Dead is and always was. Why this is a problem now, after all these years, is beyond me.

          • mssinykin

            Why should a lack of blood be inherintly limiting? That’s lack saying a lack of background music is inheritly limiting? It’s merely an artistic choice. I do consider The Exorcist a horror classic, but I also consider The Haunting (1963) a horror classic and that movie didn’t have a drop of blood in it. It was simple a different KIND of horror. The kind that based on loss of emotional and scenery control, as opposed to physical control. It’s like one is merely better than the other, it’s just a different approach.

            Yes walking in to a room and finding someone being gutted would be horrifying, but so would finding a child being slapped and verbal abused in which case I don’t see why having the child bleed after being slapped would have improved the scene per see. In fact, it might also lesson the emotional impact of the story (if that was the find of horror your going for) by adding extra visual details. And as I said before in my butcher shop and menstrual cycle examples, some scenes involving blood may not be revolting at all if no seems to be hurt and you’ve seen it many times before.

            While I don’t believe artist should have to censor themselves to appease a popular taste, I also believe that an artist can often benefit from restraint as well as daring. Pushing comfort levels just for the sake of making people queasy does not necessary make for great stories, great scenes, or even great terror. It only makes for great spectacle. Often the more terrifying experiences come from what you can’t see, don’t know, and can’t explain. That’s not to see a bloody movie can’t be good at what’s trying to be. I just don’t personal see much good in a movie (and I’m not sighting Evil Dead as an example) that just interested in gore for gore sack. It’s trying violence the way pornography treats sex, as the only thing matters. The vital aspects of horror IMO are not the violence, but the atmosphere, the suspense, and the devastation at reveling dreadful truths.

          • I never said the lack of blood is inherently limiting. In fact if you read four posts above, I argue for variety. There are many different methods and approaches to a horror film, and I feel the graphic gorefest is just as valid as any other. My post above, the you’re responding to, was in response to someone saying gore is merely revolting, not horrific. I respectfully disagree, as while gore is absolutely revolting, it is also inherently horrific. I completely agree that bloodless horror has its place – I love films like the Haunting, or Poltergeist or Insidious – my point is graphic gore also has its place. Films depicting the horror of graphic violence and gore can go places the atmospheric spookfests can’t or, at least, generally won’t and vice versa. I believe denying either method of horror is doing the genre a great disservice.

          • Cristiona

            If I, personally, walked into a room as saw a disembowlment? Yes. I’d be horrified. I’d probably void my stomach too. But I thought we were talking about movies. If a demon-possessed doll ripped out one of my earrings, I’d probably scream in pain. When Chucky did it in whichever sequel it was, I laughed because it looked fake. I’m not sure where you’re going with that analogy.
            And then you confuse me further. You say a PG rating isn’t an automatic red flag, but then go on to say that horror should be stomach-turning. Was Machine Girl a horror movie because it had buckets of gore? What about Ricky-Oh? Or, well, most anything Tokyo Shock has done. Are they horror movies, or just gross movies? Are horror movies supposed to scare you, or just make you sick? Too many movies think making you sick is all that matters, and they’ve (more and more) turned horror into a gutter genre. You want grue? Fine, but quite calling it horror.
            The fact that you can look at the original Evil Dead and only see a “gore fest” is pretty telling. Ash’s descent into madness and the Evil just outright taunting him and fucking with him are the parts I remember. Cheryl taunting her brother from the basement had a much bigger impact than when she stabbed Linda in the ankle. Ash struggling with the fact that he needs to dismember his dead/possessed girlfriend is far more memorable than Scotty gushing blood in the climax.

  • MichaelANovelli

    The original wasn’t exactly a masterpiece of subtlety, but at least they weren’t trying to turn it into the Texas Chainsaw remake…

  • Magdalen

    “Because I find it more than a little disturbing that you’re playing the brutal demonic rape of a young girl as fan service.” THANK YOU. I keep channeling Will Farrell in Zoolander, “Can no one else see this!? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

  • Bottom line, it’s an Evil Dead remake. If it didn’t have a tree-rape scene, I would have called shenanigans. Call it fan-service, I don’t care. It needs to be there.

    • Why? Why does it need to be there? Sam Raimi already remade it once, and didn’t feel the need to include it. What does it add, what is it meant to symbolize for the character being raped? Because I’m sorry, I don’t accept “because it was in the first one” as an excuse.

      • Because it’s Evil Dead. Evil Dead has tree rape, plain and simple. And Evil Dead II is not a remake, it’s a sequel. The opening of the film was intended to be a recap, but they couldn’t secure the rights to the original film at the time so they shot a mini-recap to suit the purposes of a recap. Tree-Rape was not included in the recap for the obvious reason that Evil Dead II’s comedic tone differed greatly from Evil Dead I’s serious one, and wouldn’t have fit in with what II was going for. This film, on the other hand, is going back to the serious, visceral feel of the original but with a higher budget.

        • Magdalen

          I know Sam Raimi later admitted he though the scene was a mistake- which is partly why he decided to leave it out of the remake. It also stands to alienate female viewers- which it did. And Joshua is right, it doesn’t really tie into anything. it doesn’t add to the characters development or arch of the story. It only proved to be horrifying and in poor taste.

          • Sam Raimi never remade Evil Dead, first off. Second off, horrifying is the name of the game. That’s what horror does, it’s why we refer to the genre as Horror in the first place. I also want to say, having finally seen the Remake, that Joshua is actually wrong here. The remake justifies it’s Tree Rape even more so than the original, by having it be both a literal and metaphorical instance of the demon violating and forcing itself into her. Because it’s a demon, they roll like that.

          • Literal? Yes. Metaphorical? Horse hockey. There’s nothing metaphorical about it, which is the problem. The movie establishes the metaphor at play here from the beginning: demonic possession = drug addiction. And they completely fail to tie rape or other sexual violence in any way to that. It’s never even hinted that in her history of drug abuse Mia was ever raped or sexually exploited in any way by anyone. MAYBE it could’ve worked if they’d tied it into her mom issues, maybe hinted that the mother was raped and that’s what drove her insane. But no, all we know about her mother is she was crazy & died (another wasted opportunity by the way, as there’s little to any indication that Mia fears she’s just going insane like her mom). The rape neither ties into the central metaphor, nor does it draw upon any previously establish fear of sex or sexual violence the character might’ve had. It’s pointless.

            And saying, “because it’s a demon, demons like to rape” is just avoiding the issue here. It’s not a problem because it doesn’t make sense in the context of the story, it’s a problem because it’s gratuitous and adds nothing. In the first film, the whole point was gratuitous shock value, so at least it fit in with that general notion. But THIS Evil Dead, has character arcs, and themes, it’s story is clearly trying to do more than shock the hell out of you. It has has subtext, emotional threads. You can throw a random rape seen into an exploitation film because exploitation is the whole point. But you can’t throw a random rape scene into a film with an actual point to make.

          • I’m sorry Joshua but: Bullshit. Yes, it is metaphorical. He is both literally and metaphorically entering her body. Literally, via tree branch. Metaphorically being that it symbolizes the demon violating her soul. Demonic Possession = Drug Addiction is not a metaphor in the movie, it’s a plot device. It’s how the film justifies the characters not immediately taking off when Mia starts acting out. Rape and sex are a used and mentioned through out the entire movie by the demons either as taunts or as attacks. “Your sister’s being raped in hell” and “Come down here and let me suck your dick” (Paraphrasing, can’t recall the exact wording) are both examples of such, as is the Tree Rape. Because they are Demons, they violate, they humiliate, they mutiliate. The movie makes this fact perfectly clear. That’s not avoiding the issue, that’s acknowledging the facts of the movie. The other purpose of the rape scene, outside of showing a demon infiltrate the first victim, is also providing a moment of complete horror – The kind that you find yourself watching from between your fingers. It, as with the original film’s rape sequence, was quite effective in that regard. I’m also not sure why the hell we’d need Mia to have rape in her past history, considering Ash never had demonically possessed friends in his history. Or chainsaws. Or boomsticks. Or anything that happens at all in the Evil Dead proper universe. I’m sorry, we’re not going to see eye to eye on this. Agree to disagree, and all that.

          • The demon violating her soul IS LITERAL. Metaphor means it represents some idea deeper than the plot itself. She is not being symbolically anything. And yes, the addiction as possession metaphor is not particular subtle and at times the movie drops in entirely, but it is there, and we are clearly supposed to care about it. Why else does would the movie climax with the (SPOILER) big dramatic resurrection sequence drenched in “surviving an overdose” imagery?

            Also there is a huge difference between an offhanded taunt about rape and a whole, lingering scene acting it out. And Ash didn’t need that back-story because even when the series was semi-serious, we were never really supposed to care about him. Even before Evil Dead II he was a doofus, a tool, and object to be thrown around by the supernatural forces at work. Ash Williams is Daffy friggin’ Duck. You don’t care about him, you laugh at him. That’s clearly not what Mia is. She has a story, she has a purpose, therefore everything that happens to her also needs a purpose, ESPECIALLY when it’s something as uncomfortable to watch as tree rape.

          • We never see a literal soul, Joshua. We see a vine crawling up a god damn leg. That is not literally a demon crawling inside of a soul, that’s literally a vine crawling up a leg and metaphorically a demon crawling inside of a soul. Seriously dude? Do I have to explain the difference between something literally happening, and something literally happening that represents something metaphorically? We know what’s being indicated, because the metaphor is crystal clear.

          • No need, I will explain it for you. Something literally happening is a factual occurrence within the context of the plot. Something metaphorically happening is an idea being expressed BY the plot about something OUTSIDE of the plot. In Cabin in the Woods, the demonic gods being the audience? That’s a metaphor. The demon possession and raping Mia’s soul? That is a literal occurrence within the confines of the plot. The fact that we don’t see it does not make it a metaphor. It is pure plot information. Now the Alien movies, THAT’S metaphorical rape, because the movie is all about the psychology of rape. This movie has no such running theme. The scene is shallow, basic, and all surface.

          • Not entirely correct, Joshua. Something can be literally happening but be intimated metaphorically. That is what’s happening here.

          • Metaphor: “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them”.

            That is clearly NOT what is happening here, because there is no more or less to the scene that was actually happens in it. Something being implied but no explicitly shown it not remotely what a metaphor is. That’s called an “implication”.

            Look, I apologize if I pissed you off, man. I just really cannot justify this scene because it’s comes and it goes and nothing ever becomes of the scene other than Mia has a demon in her now, which actually makes the whole thing more offensive.

          • Jack Shen

            You don’t need to justify the scene Joshua, it works within the context of the narrative. Demons arrive and just gonna do whatever they want to you, that includes rape you with a tree.

          • They rape her with black goo. The only reason not to have it be an actual tree is because it would either be a) too effective or b) too similar to the original. I could also say c) hurt pacing too much, but I would say it’s just where the film starts to get decent so pacing isn’t as much a concern here as it would be later.

          • Rereading some of the comments (haven’t watched the video yet, still loading) I’m seeing you may have problems with the black goo scene happening. For all parts in this conversation, is there anything more horrifying for a female character than being raped by something before it makes you do horrible things? It’s an extremely terrifying thing for females in every regard. For males? It’s a horrible thing to happen, but in film? It’s a joke. It’s a way to humiliate someone. Very few men walk down the street in terror of being raped. Having a man raped in your possession movie is not going to be as effective as it happening to a female character. Just like there’s no emotional equivalent for a castration scene for a woman.

          • Ah, damn. It’s text. And here I assumed it was a video. Don’t I look like a jackass. Reading it now, though.

          • Cristiona

            The problem is that rape is so horribly overused. Lazy writers want to do something horrible to a woman, and the only thing they can ever think of is rape. I’m kind of sick of it personally. Tragic male characters don’t have a rape background, but women do.
            I’d say it’s some subconscious something-or-other and bring up the patriarchy, but I think it’s just laziness and lack of creativity. But seriously guys, it’s really old. Find something else, please. Or get your rocks off before writing, not during, you sick fucks.

          • fish eye no miko

            “Tragic male characters don’t have a rape background, but women do.”

            I saw a review for a movie where the female character’s husband gets killed. Hey, that’s a good motive for going after the villains, right? Oh, wait, she’s a woman… so of course she gets raped, as well. Cuz, you know.. woman. Raped. OBVIOUSLY.

          • fish eye no miko

            “Just like there’s no emotional equivalent for a castration scene for a woman.”

            Oh, so a guy get castrated in this movie?

          • “Just like there’s no emotional equivalent for a castration scene for a woman.”

            Um, yes there is. Have you never heard of female castration? It’s been practiced throughout history by many cultures for a whole myriad of awful reasons. Did you not see Antichrist?

          • fish eye no miko

            Fine, if she was raped because “they are Demons, they violate, they humiliate, they mutilate”, how many of the guys get raped?

          • None. But they sure as shit get humiliated and mutilated. And only one of thee three girls gets raped.

          • fish eye no miko

            Why not? Joshua says one of the men gets possessed, why not have that happen by having him get raped? If it’s suppose to be the symbol of the demon “violating her soul”, wouldn’t it make just as much sense to have that happened to the possessed guy, too?

          • Because there’s already been a rape in the movie. If everyone got raped, that’d be tedious. =P Not every character gets a needle to the eye either, or a knife to the tongue, or has their face sawed off, or their arm dismembered or any other horrible thing that happens in the movie. Everyone gets their own.

          • fish eye no miko

            “Because there’s already been a rape in the movie. If everyone got raped”
            I didn’t say everyone. I said ONE GUY. That would make two. Would that be too many?

          • Would fall under repetitive, but there are ways they could have made that work I suppose. If your point is there isnt enough guy rape in movies, absolutely. We could use a few more Deliverences or Shawshanks in the film world. I can get behind that. =)

          • fish eye no miko

            “If your point is there isnt enough guy rape in movies, absolutely.”

            It’s not so much that there’s not enough male rape, but that female rape in media is WAY more common (fyi, I don’t know whether or not it’s proportionate to real life female rape vs. male rape). And it’s often used (as Christona pointed out) as a lazy way of giving a woman a “traumatic” back story, as if there’s no other way woman can be traumatized (see my example of a woman who is given a non-rape motivation for revenge… but who then gets raped anyway. Because of course she does).

        • Cristiona

          Hogwash. Watch 1 and 2 back to back and then tell me that Evil Dead 2 isn’t 80% remake.

          • I did. I watched all three this last week in preparation for the remake. It is not a remake, it’s a direct sequel. After the recap it takes off right where the original left off, and moves from there.

        • The purpose of a remake, even in the case of homage, is not to just mimic original beat for beat, it’s to take the same basic story and make it all your own. For example, the bit where they try burning the book but it doesn’t work: rare example of a subversive departure from the original that plays with old audiences expectations while not alienating newcomers. That’s making the material your own. If you feel that the tree rape absolutely must be included, you need a REASON why this is in your version of this story. This remake fails to supply one.

          • The remake didn’t fail to supply one. Read my response to Magdallen below.

    • nyxalinth

      My own feeling on the scene: not including that scene would be like not having the chest-bursting scene if they ever did a remake of Alien. It’s a scene that is so icon in the film and maybe even to horror as a genre that it doesn’t feel the same without it.

  • CaptainCalvinCat

    “Tip for future filmmakers: When faced with a remake, the first thing you must do is ask yourself this question: Who are you making this film for? Fans of the original, or everyone else? The answer to that question
    should guide every decision you make on the film. If you try to cater to both audiences, you will end up catering to neither.”

    Question from an Author:

    If not for both audiences, why even do it?

    If someone would do a remake of something and would not want to bring in stuff for the old fans of that, If I would do a remake of said something only for “the new kids to like it”… then I would loose the old fans and possibly their kids as fans to, because sometimes the fandom is a family matter.

    And in especially the last sentence is not entirely true, the “If you try to cater toboth audiences, you will end up catering to neither.”
    Think of the new Star Trek movies.

    The rebooted franchise tells a new story, shows us a new timeline, with a destroyed vulcan and events, that never happened that way in the old series, however it has enough callbacks for the fan of the old ‘verse to find.

    You see, it works.

    • Yes, you can do both, but you need to choose one as your focus. If your goal is to make the film for a new audience, then any callbacks need to to be subtle enough that the newcomers don’t notice them and feel left out. If they become intrusive, don’t use them.

    • Agreed, CaptainCalvin.

  • Guest

    I just got done watching this flick. It was awesome. That is all. =P

  • Jack Shen

    Horror must be horrifying, otherwise it doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s with blood and gore, other times with shadows and sound. No one knows exactly what horror is, but one thing is certain: Horror is not just one
    thing. Entire books and documentaries have been dedicated to trying to find the definition of “horror” and what exactly it is (the most seminal probably being Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre”) and the closest thing anyone can get to a real definition is this: HORROR IS LOOKING AT SOMETHING THAT SURVIVAL INSTINCT TELLS YOU NOT TO.

    That means blood, guts, a violently dysfunctional family, a vampire’s gaze, scat pornography, self mutilation, creepy shadows against the wall, skeletons, a punctured eye, all of that. Concepts of decency must be secondary otherwise the exercise is moot.

    I can understand anyone’s PERSONAL objections to a given horror movie. The audience becoming upset is the point. But horror, more than any other genre suffers from knee jerk criticisms concerning what should be permissible within it. “This is horror and should be the only one allowed.”

    That idea is ridiculous and you would not level it against another genre.

    But in the end, my own objections are a moot point. Because I know, deep in your hearts, you want to be repulsed. You NEED to be. We all have that pull towards the darker things, we need that. Who among us, when making love, doesn’t have that sudden fear?

    The fear that wonders “what if I don’t get it back this time?” or “oh god, something’s being put inside me?” That would be very few of us. Who wouldn’t want to do it anyway? That would be fewer still.

    Horror, like sex, will be around as long as life itself. And like life itself, they’ll both find new and different ways to express themselves.

    • Point taken. Film needs to be free to break taboos, especially horror. But the thing about rape though is that it’s more complicated an issue than just straight up murder because it’s a gender specific crime (with exception, certainly, but by and large rape is a crime specifically against women, in both the real world and fiction). At least 4 people get possessed in this movie, three of them female, one male. And in every case when the females are possessed, there is at least some sexual element to it. Not so much with the guy. And I can’t help feeling there’s something very wrong with that. Rape to me is just something that cannot be used as a blunt instrument in fiction, no matter what kind’ve movie you’re making. A horror movie about rape? All well and good, rape is a horrifying thing. A horror movie with rape as an after thought? That’s a problem to me. The scene on it’s own honestly didn’t do much to terrify me. I’ve seen Irreversible, so something like this is almost tame by comparison. It’s the scene taken in the context of the whole film that bothered me. Call me oversensitive, but I just feel that if you’re going to put rape in your film, you should make something of it so it feels necessary, otherwise it just seems insensitive to the subject matter.

      • Jack Shen

        I judge rape scene by how well they are done. If it’s properly horrifying, then it’s justified, because the act itself is horrific.

  • $36060516

    I just saw the film yesterday and agree with almost everything you wrote in your review, Joshua, which is why I wonder how you can write “If they follow through with their plans to make further sequels, following her character who will eventually meet and team up with the original Ash Williams [!?], then I’m onboard.” Any sequels would be made by the same company that oversaw, produced, and approved of this movie which we both didn’t like. So why go to the sequels? Campbell is in his mid 50s and has successfully moved on from these movies. The only reason he would return is the only reason this remake was made: somebody needs money. I don’t need to watch someone going through the motions for a paycheck, that’s not why I go to the movies. The original Evil Dead was memorable because it contained the passion of filmmakers and actors who were unknown and desperate to make a mark on the world, so they put everything they had into it. That is no longer the case.

  • Inanimatt

    This is assuming the the J.J Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie was good and appeased Trek fans. Grant you, the 2009 film is a half-descent flick, but its not Star Trek.

    The problem is that remakes make up a much too large percentage of mainstream horror films, have so for the last 10 years. Think of all those great horror movies from the 1970’s and 80’s: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog, Carrie (now seeing its third remake), Prom Night, Black Christmas, and now Evil Dead. They have all been remade, every single one, and that list only scratches the surface. These days the market is flooded with remakes. The question shouldn’t be how to approach remakes, which by and large are inferior to the originals, but using fresh ideas again.

    Part of the problem is simply the time we live in, in the 70’s and 80’s, these films were all rated R, sometimes X, and existed within a sort of film subculture that was targeted at people in their 20’s. Now, most of these films are PG-13 and are as mainstream as any other genre. Of course their going to be watered-down, their being produced by mainstream studies and the demographic has shifted to include younger audiences.