I’m very new to the series but Evil Dead 2 is not only my favorite movie in the Evil Dead franchise but one of my favorite horror movies period. In my research (i.e. Googling a lot) I’ve found the first movie is more or less forgotten, even among some horror fans. Evil Dead 2 is such a perfect "do-over" that it completely overshadows the original in the minds of so many people. Obviously I didn't see this movie when it came out, but I remember the fan backlash. "Why is this so serious? It's missing the point, it's supposed to be funny.” That’s all a load of shit. Sam Raimi didn’t testify in front of a court in the UK because the original was just so fucking hilarious.
The fan response was all I really knew about this movie going into it. The most vocal people were the people who seemed to know the least about it, if they even saw it. You know, the people who weren’t going to be happy no matter what happened. They were furious about making an Evil Dead movie without Ash, but they would have been just as mad if they’d tried to recast him. Just imagine how hard they’d be tickety typing away online if some no-name actor had the NERVE to say “groovy.” They would have thrown molotov cocktails at the director’s house.
This is the rare remake where it’s not some company buying the rights (Platinum Dunes with Chainsaw, Friday, and Nightmare) and going down the checklist of what’s supposed to be in those particular franchises and hoping to double up on their investment. Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell all served as producers and Raimi handpicked Alvarez, a Uruguayan unknown who up until Evil Dead had made a Youtube short film.
Enough bullshit, let’s get into this. I love the first movie and it’s a cornerstone in the horror genre, but it had plenty of room for improvement. This one is long as shit and there’s plenty of violent gifs ahead, so if you don’t want to explain to your boss why you’re looking at a tongue getting forked by a box cutter, maybe wait till you get home.
This entry in the series, stop me if you’ve heard this before, opens with a prologue. A young woman dripping with blood is being chased through the woods by two country yokels. She’s caught, a bag is put over her head, and she’s knocked unconscious. The scene is filmed less like something out of Evil Dead and more like a Friday the 13th sequel. She’s hiding around trees as the men’s silhouettes are seen in the distance, only for them to appear right behind her and subdue her before she can react. I like how right off the bat your’e unsure of what direction this scene is going in. Is this going to turn into something related to the Necronomicon or are we about to get some I Spit on Your Grave shit? It could honestly go either way until we get to the next scene.
She awakens in a cellar surrounded by some unseemly characters, even by rural south standards. An old woman is hanging the corpses of cats from the ceiling while claiming “only the evil book can undo what the evil book has done.” FINALLY we're getting a sense of understanding of the history of the Necronomicon and how it relates to dead cats. About time. A man removes the bag from the girl's head and its revealed he’s her father. She pleads to go home and asks where Mom is. He tells her mommy's dead - and she killed her. She begins to cry and ask what he’s talking about as he douses her in gasoline. Any second now there’s gonna be a 3 Stooges joke…right? He’s gonna fumble the lighter and she’s gonna poke him in the eyes and go NYUK NYUK NYUK. Right?
The creepy old lady reads from a book and tells him its the only way to save her soul. The girl continues to cry and beg him to stop as he struggles with the match. She’s begging him, pleading for him to untie her and get her out of there. All she wants is for her daddy to take her home. The lighter finally lights, and she looks him in the eyes and tells him she will rip his soul out. He throws the match and just to remind you that it’s still an Evil Dead movie, she calls him a motherfucker about 5 times with yellow eyes and a bunch of overdubbed reverb. It’s really cheesy and kind of eye rolling, but I guess in that way it’s actually incredibly faithful to the source material.
As his possessed daughter gets roasted alive, he tells her he loves her and blows her head off. Then the title card comes up. Well movie, you’ve already won me over, don’t fuck this up.
|IS THAT CGI? RAIMI WOULD NEVER HAVE USED CGI THIS MOVIE IS BULLSHIT|
Mia is sitting by herself, far away from the others, on top of a broken down 1973 Oldsmobile that you might recognize from 3 other movies, decked out in a Michigan State sweater that you also might recognize. David approaches her and she looks legitimately shocked that he showed up. He tries to compliment her, she calls him a liar. Clearly this isn’t a group of friends spending MTV Spring Break 99 at a cabin together. They might be brother and sister, but David looks like the absolute last person Mia wants to see right now. Don’t worry though, all the tension is cut by David showing her he brought their dog. It’s at this moment when my face contorts into an awful expression, because I know good and god damned well that dog is going to suffer a terrible fate.
We learn this isn’t a random ass cabin that Bruce Campbell drove his college sweetheart to to bone down in, but it belongs to Mia and David’s parents. As standoffish as they are towards each other now, they have fond memories from their childhoods there. David gives her a necklace, which serves absolutely zero purpose in the movie. I’m only pointing it out because A: it keeps up the tradition of being a useless plot point that disappears for an hour and 20 minutes and B: his girlfriend doesn’t get it. Natalie is such a useless character she doesn’t even get the fucking necklace. The writers don't even bother to give her a MacGuffin that neither macs nor guffins. Instead she gets 3 lines of dialogue and a meat carver, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
We’re about to learn why the five of them are meeting at this cabin, but first Mia stops and makes David promise to stay until the end. He shrugs it off but she’s adamant about it. Clearly he has a history of not being there for her. Of course, this little conversation ends with her forcing him to cross his heart, and him responding “hope to die,” stick a tree branch in your (brown) eye.
So why are they here? This is a change that I prefer to the original movie. They’re not on vacation. They didn’t decide a rundown cabin in Rapesville, USA was a super sweet vacation spot. They didn’t pack up and decide to spend a week being hunted by inbreds. Mia is a recovering drug addict and they’re secluded in the middle of the woods to help her quit cold turkey. She dumps a bag of drugs down a well and vows to be done for good. Funny how we've gone from a bunch of kids getting high to a bunch of kids swearing off drugs. The Liberal thought police are at it again, cramming morals down our throats.
|Watering down our horror movies with their hippy dippy propaganda|
They enter the cabin, which appears to have been broken into at some point, and we get more character stuff. It’s not the most fascinating thing in the world, but it’s not obnoxiously boring. That says volumes for a movie like this. And by movie like this, I mean any horror movie ever. Mia’s old room is filled with pictures of the four of them (Mia, David, Eric, and Olivia. Eat shit, Natalie) hanging out as teenagers and several pics of Mia and David with their mother. Mia brings up a lullaby their mom used to sing to them, which can only mean we’re going to hear it at some point later in the movie when one of them is possessed.
Mia starts to talk about Mom’s final days at the hospital; how Mom would mistake her for David and she would have to play along. She talks about how lucky he was to not have to see how bad she looked near the end. His justification for not being there? He had just gotten a garage job and couldn’t find the right time to go. David, like Ash, is a bit of a pussy and a coward. Not in the “oh geez it sure is dark down there I don’t wanna go down there ok well maybe for a Scooby Snack” way, but refusing to face his mother in the her final hours. He’d love to be with the woman who rocketed him out of her kooz kooz, but he’s got a crankshaft or two to lube. Hey Mia, tells Moms I’d love to make it but I’m gonna have to take a rain check on the cancer eating away at her brain like a soul destroying termite, I’ve got hella tires to rotate and the boys are hosting a card game and if I don’t go I’ll NEVER be "one of the guys."
The next scene starts with a close up of David using a nail gun that in absolutely no way will be used to fire nails into someones big dumb face later. Eric is sitting on the swing that ominously banged against the door in the original doing the same card trick they were doing before Cheryl first became possessed. Olivia approaches them and tells David that they’ve already tried something like this with Mia before. She took the same vows, made the same speech, dumped her drugs down the toilet, then relapsed 8 hours later. This is the first David has heard about this. I’m sure they called him about it, but he had JUST put a Digiorno in the oven so it was a really bad time for him.
Olivia knows Mia’s going to break again, but she doesn’t want to let her leave. David objects, but she tells him Mia won’t survive another OD. David, once again, looks like he’s just hearing this for the first time. Last time they tried this, Mia overdosed and legally died and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. So not only was David not there for his mother’s death, he wasn’t there for his sister’s either. There’s a good reason for them to be at the cabin, and a tension and disconnect between the two main characters. They’re not the best characters I’ve ever seen, but it’s better than “hey man how did you hear about this cabin anyways?" "I don’t know Superfluous Not Bruce Campbell Actor, let’s get drunk and play this cassette tape.” “Sounds groovy, I hope a redwood doesn’t bust my hymen.”
That evening, Mia’s relapse begins. She’s screaming about a foul smell as she suffers from withdrawals. Olivia gives her a sedative but Mia continues to scream repeatedly about a rotten stench nobody else notices. Their dog sniffs and scratches at a spot on the rug and they pull back the rug to reveal a cellar door covered in blood. David and Eric head down, but not before rubbing the dog’s nose in the blood because good dogs do that outside.
David and Eric go into the cellar and discover the source of the smell Mia has been screaming about - rotting corpses of cats. Along with the dead animals they find a shotgun and a book wrapped in plastic and barbed wire. There's no sign yet of what makes this book so special, but whoever had it last wants to make damn sure nobody else gets into it.
As they explore you realize it's the same cellar we saw the girl burned alive in during the beginning of the movie. You realize it because there's a split second insert shot from the prologue, just in case you're too stupid to figure it out. How long ago was this prologue? This cabin belongs to Mia and David's parents, so when did-wait. Who cares? Nobody, that's right. let's get into the book.
Not so fast. Before we get into the book there’s a close up of an electric meat slicer being used to cut up some ham. Once again I get a huge shit eating grin. I don’t know when and I don’t know who, but somebody is going to pizza when they’re supposed to french fry and they’re gonna have a bad time with that meat slicer.
|This gif is actually a pretty good summary of the entire movie|
Inside the cabin, Eric cuts through the plastic and barbed wire and opens the book: Naturon Demonto. Inside he finds hand written warnings on every page. “Leave this book alone.” “Do not fucking read this.” “Dont say it. Don’t write it. Don’t hear it” Curiosity gets the best of him and he flips through the book. Why? Because it's a horror movie. Honestly, if I was him, I'd do the same thing. When you've got to cut through wire to even open the damn thing, then every page is marked with warnings, how can you say your interest wouldn't be piqued? If I had to choose between reading from that book or dealing with a girl in the middle of a relapse, I'd be flipping pages like a mother fucker.
He comes across a page with words furiously scribbled out. There have been warnings everywhere, but whatever is on this page specifically is not to be read. Eric, not one to let a fucking book tell him what to do like he's some kind of asshole, puts a piece of paper over the page and shades over it with a pencil, revealing the crossed out words. He begins to read the words aloud, and we cut to outside the cabin. A POV shot of an unseen evil rushes towards Mia.
|That's cool he's doing the POV demon thiOH GOD WHAT WAS THAT|
Back outside, Mia vomits and hears a faint voice calling to her. She thinks she’s just feeling the effects of withdrawals, but she sees a figure in the shape of a woman in the distance staring at her and whispering her name. She appropriately decides "FUCK THIS” and goes back into the cabin and starts gathering her shit, saying she can’t stay there anymore. The four of them think she’s just going through withdrawals again and refuse to take her home. Tree Rape, Shmee Rape, you just need to go lay down while we play cards in the living room.
Like mentioned earlier, they (well, everyone except David and Natalie) have seen this act before and think as soon as she goes back home she's going to end up overdosing again, and this time they may not be able to save her. Mia leaves through the window, steals Eric’s car, and drives away from the cabin as the rain really begins to pour. She has a complete breakdown while driving and sees the woman again, this time standing in the middle of the road. Mia crashes in the swamp.
When she comes to, she exits the car but quickly winds up neck deep in water. She starts sloshing her way through the swamp but the woman emerges from the water. Mia runs, but falls into a thorn bush. The figure approaches her, and the scene that Raimi to this day regrets putting into his movie happens again.
It’s funny because you see the giant patch of thorns as she trips. As she falls it cuts to another angle where the branches are in the foreground and she’s in the background and out of focus. It’s almost like the director is telling you “yeah, this is happening again.”
The branches wrap themselves around her arms and legs. The woman - a demonic version of Mia - regurgitates a black, worm-like vine. It makes its way up her leg and gets all up in her coin slot. David and Olivia hear her screaming and find her in the fetal position.
Let me just say two things here. First off, this is way more upsetting than it was in the original. It's slow, methodical, and most importantly, well-lit. In the original it's a silly little stop motion effect.
slowly works its way up her leg while she's restrained and screaming. It's hard to watch and much more impactful than the original. The second thing I want to say is after this scene I caught a glimpse of the DVD case sitting on the table out of the corner of my eye. I'd never given it much thought before, after all i bought it, put it on my shelf, then forgot about it. But after seeing this scene...
the fucking tree rape scene is the DVD cover. Are you fucking kidding me? Raimi had to go to fucking court in the UK for The Evil Dead but this broad receiving the business end of The Giving Tree is on the shelf of your local Wal-Mart.
Mia is brought back to the cabin and the other four of them suspect she was trying to hurt herself; they believe she’ll do whatever it takes to get out, even if it means letting Groot get root deep in her. David goes into her room and finds her in the bed, tucked into the corner of the room in the fetal position. She is obviously shaken and tells him there is something in the room with them. Jane Levy’s acting is phenomenal here. I can give or take the other characters, but she looks absolutely horrified. She looks like she just went through something unbelievably traumatic and personifies sheer terror.
|It's so weird seeing acting in one of these movies|
He finds their dog whimpering and wounded in a hole beneath the tool shed. He's burrowed himself down there to die. David runs into the tool shed and pulls him out of the hole, but he’s dead by the time he's rescued. David sees a bloody hammer nearby, and there’s a quick cut to a screaming Mia doing the deed. These people will have unspeakable horrors unleashed upon them, but I can rest easy knowing all dogs go to heaven. He’s in a better place now, on a big ole farm where he can run around for days and days nothing bad will ever happen to him ever, ever again.
Meanwhile, Eric is thumbing through the book again. One of the pictures depicts a woman in the woods, constricted by the trees.
David runs back inside to confront her, but she’s locked herself in the bathroom and is taking a shower. He pounds at the door demanding she open it, but there's no response. Mia is standing rigidly, fully clothed, her eyes rolling back into her head as she twitches. She hypnotically reaches out and turns the water up to scalding hot temperatures. You can hear the searing of the flesh as the water hits her. David kicks the door down and the group pulls her out as her skin blisters. Eric runs back into his room and opens the book. He turns to a page with a picture of a woman pouring boiling water on herself. There isn’t a page with a dog getting its legs hammered in so he figures it might just be a big coinky-dink.
David takes Mia in his Jeep and tries to drive her to a hospital while she foams at the mouth. The roads are flooded and he’s forced to turn back to the cabin. A slight smile forms on Mia’s face.
Olivia gives Mia more sedatives to help her sleep, giving them a couple of hours to figure something out. They’re all clearly ill prepared for this situation. The roads are flooded and Mia is covered in third degree burns. Olivia, who was oh so confident about giving her the same treatment she would be getting at a hospital, is realizing they are all completely out of their element and if they can’t cross the creek by morning Mia could end up (evil) dead.
Speak of the devil, Mia comes stumbling into the room dragging the shotgun behind her. She twitches violently as they ask what she’s doing. She fires, hits David in the shoulders, and a POV shot of something outside the cabin comes flying into the door. She screams as a voice yells “you will die like the others. One by one we will take you.” The doors slam shut, everything is silent. Mia says “you are all going to die tonight” in a demonic voice and collapses.
Jesus. Christ. It may have been a slow start, but shit is officially getting real.
Olivia goes to take the gun away but Mia wakes up, overpowers her, and vomits a Raimi-esque amount of blood all over her face. It’s as great as it sounds.
|There's no better way to honor Sam Raimi's vision than a demon spewing blood vomit on someone's face|
Olivia goes into the bathroom to clean bloody vomit chunks off her face. While scrub a dub dubbing Mia’s entrails off, she opens the medicine cabinet to grab a needle. The cabinet door slowly swings shut on its own, and in her reflection her face is mutilated, as if her jaw was carved away. The mirror shatters. She starts to leave then freezes. She twitches as she stands frozen and pisses herself. No I’m serious, you see the yellowest pee you’ve ever seen run down her leg. Next to her is the book, which flies open to a page with a picture of a person with a skeletal face holding a knife in one hand and her flesh in the other.
Eric goes into the bathroom to check on Olivia and finds her huddled in the corner facing the wall. You know exactly what’s going to happen. You know what you’re going to see when she turns around, and all you want in this world is for her not to turn around. You can hear it happening. You don’t know exactly what you hear, but you don’t want her to turn around. For the love of Christ the Son of God who died for our sins do not turn the fuck around.
|No no no nononononononononononfosdnfaaflsdfj;|
Eric stumbles backwards horrified, but slips on a bit of flesh and hits his back on the toilet. You know, just slips on a spare bit of FLESH FROM HER FACE. SITTING ON THE FLOOR. AS YOU DO.
Olivia stabs him with the broken glass and then goes to town on his face with a hypodermic needle. Eric throws her and breaks off a piece of the toilet, which he uses to beat her to death…just as David and Natalie come in. Oh, did I forget to mention the needle breaks off and he has to pull it out of his eyelid. Because the needle breaks up and there’s a close up of him gingerly pulling it out of his fucking eyelid. The sounds I made during this were a mixture of a stomach growling after not eating all day and a dog whimpering. My body couldn’t process what was happening so it just shut down and went into defense mode. I have the survival instinct of a lemming.
This is my biggest problem in the movie. Well, besides my inability to not immasculate myself while watching it. Eric grabs a blunt object and beats her to death. She doesn’t come back later. This is the last time you see her in the movie. She’s dead as dead can be. No dismemberment, just a toilet seat to the dome.
David patches up Eric’s wounds while Natatlie goes to fetch some sugar and water because apparently Eric's the alien from Men in Black. Eric tells David it’s all his fault this is happening and to stay away from Mia no matter what. None of this would have happened if four eyes over here hadn’t read that fucking book. All you had to do was not read it. Reading is murder, and that is why to this day I refuse to read anything longer than a Goosebumps book. Reader Beware: You’re in-seminated by a tree
So now we get to see Natalie for more than three seconds at a time. This is it Natalie, your big break in movies. I’ll save you time from scrolling back to the top to find out who she is. She’s Dave’s girlfriend who serves absolutely no role in this movie other than to be the fifth person because there’s supposed to be five people in The Evil Dead. We’re this far into the movie and finally she gets to do something - get water. So BodyCount McDeadMeat heads past the living room and hears a thud on her way to the kitchen. She looks back and the cellar door is now wide open. She hears whispsers all around her as the door slams shut and locks itself. Unfortunately The book didn’t foreshadow her impending death because it forgot who she was.
Mia is still down there. She’s crying and asking for help in her normal voice. Stupid God Damned Fucking Natalie goes down after her, and Mia’s voice becomes low and demonic. Mia tells her “He won’t stop until he has all of you” as Natalie tries to scramble back up the steps. Nothing bad happens and she escapes.
Look at it. STARE AT IT AS IT STARES BACK AT YOU. IT KEEPS CUTTING AWAY BUT IT GETS WORSE EVERY TIME IT CUTS BACK.
|I am never going to get approved for Adsense|
Eric tries to burn the book, but it doesn’t work. It can’t be destroyed. This is another little detail I love. If you stop to think about it earlier in the movie, you’d ask yourself why the fuck would you scribble all over the book and wrap it in wire instead of just destroying it? That’s dumb as shit. How about instead of writing ~spooky warnings~ you just throw it in the fireplace and be done with this whole thing. I’m so glad they made a point to acknowledge it, even if just for a couple seconds. If you remember the original, Ash’s ass was saved by accidentally knocking the book into the fireplace. Here it’s invincible, there’s nothing you can do but warn others not to read it.
David enters the room and Eric tells him everything he’s learned from the book. An evil entity has been unleashed and it’s attached itself to Mia’s soul and is becoming Mia. It needs five souls to unleash something called The Abomination. The book talks about a demon, a taker of souls, and “once he feasts on five souls the sky will bleed again and the Abomination will rise from Hell.”
|SIX! SIX SIX! THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST|
Well good thing that’s all said and done, let’s get back to stopping this all this evil book hocus pocus. Eric tells David there are three ways to end this - bury Mia alive, dismember her, or burn her alive. David refuses and Eric calls him a coward. What’s the matter, pussy? Baby too scared to burn his sister alive? Baby need his bottle? Big baby not man enough to roast her? MY GOD DAVID. WHAT’S WRONG MCFLY? CHICKEN? BOCK BOCK BOCK.
Once he’s finished dancing and clucking around the room, Eric says fuck it, he’s gonna take care of this himself. He’s gonna burn this god forsaken cabin down. Natalie enters the room, possessed, with nails sticking out of her head Pinhead style. She holds up a nail gun and unloads a couple nails into Eric. The nails go all the way through his arm and makes my butthole tighten up something fierce. She continues to unload nails at both of them until David tackles her. With a bit of time to breathe, he pulls nails out of his leg. When he looks up she’s gone. No time to worry about how or why that makes any sense whatsoever, he’s got to make his way over to the shotgun. Before he can reach it, she appears and starts to beat him with a crowbar. Eric saves David's life by unloading the nailgun into her, which she does not take kindly to. Not having any of Eric’s shit, Natalie slowly approaches him, all while getting hit in the face with nails, and wails on him with the crowbar. Right before she lands the killing blow, David shoots her hand clean off with the shotgun.
Natalie, now missing an arm and a hand, approaches David and asks what’s going on. She’s speaking normally again and I’m thinking “Ok movie, I’ve seen this movie before. She tricks him and…” no. She’s normal again, and she dies in his arms. As much as I’ve loved some of the changes to the original, the undead dying this easily is really shitty. There’s no explanation as to why she reverts back to her human form right before she dies. She’s just Natalie again, and then she’s dead and never spoken of again.
David has dealt with enough shit for one day and takes Eric outside, props him up against the jeep, and tells him he’s going to do what needs to be done. He douses the floor in gasoline and is about to drop the lighter when Mia sings a lullaby in her normal voice. Called it. He can’t bring himself to burn her alive and puts the lighter away. He looks out the window and sees a bolt of lightning strike a tree, lighting it on fire. This apparently gives him an idea. That makes one of us because I have no idea what the fuck it means but it seemed important.
He goes into the woodshed to gather supplies. There’s a cute shot here where he pulls open a curtain and it lingers on a chainsaw for a second, then pans up to the stuff he actually uses. I could see another director having him say some shit like “nah, that’d never work” before leaving. And by another director, I mean I could absolutely see Sam Raimi doing that three movies from now when he’s Wes Craven levels of senile.
David gathers his supplies and digs a hole outside. With everything set up, he heads into the now-flooded cellar. And it scares the absolute shit out of me. My butthole is clenched with such anticipation, knowing at any second she’s popping out of that fucking water. This movie is a lot of things, but it’s not subverting expectations. He is going to slowly trudge through that dimly-lit, waist high water until she jumps at him and I’m going to scream in falsetto.
And she does. She throws his ass around the room and attemps to drown him. Right before the bubbles stop, Eric saves his ass yet again, but gets stabbed in the process by the box cutter. David may have dressed like Ash, but Eric has spent this entire movie getting abused like Bruce Campbell. He doesn’t get to be the hero, but he finally gets the sweet release of death. Lou Taylor Pucci died on the way back to his home planet.
David leaves Eric in the water because there’s absolutely no way he’ll turn into a demon like the other two did when they were attacked by Mia. He injects Mia with a tranq, puts a bag over her head, and takes her outside to the freshly dug hole. He buries her as she pleads for him to stop in her normal voice. It only took getting fooled 12 times, but this time he’s not falling for it. She guilts trip him for leaving home and leaving her alone with their sick mother. Every time her mother screamed for him, Mia lied and said he was coming back for her. She really lays it on thick. It’s reminiscent of The Exorcist when little Regan tests Father Karras and guilt trips him over his mother’s death.
David covers her in dirt and she suffocates and dies. The tree that had lit on fire goes out, and he takes this as a sign that she’s dead. I don’t know, don’t ask me. He quickly digs her up and uses a makeshift defibrillator made out of a car battery, jumper cables, and hypodermic needles and jumpstarts her back to life. Look, it’s a horror movie, ok? She talks to him in her normal voice and you’re thinking “Jesus Christ movie. We’re doing this gag again?” But no, it’s really her, back to normal. So the fakeout was a fakeout. Clever girl.
David’s friends and girlfriend have suffered deaths the likes of which are strictly forbidden by the Geneva Convention, but fuck all that he’s got his lil’ sis back! Lets just forget this whole mess ever happened and go back home and kick that nasty heroin together! He heads back into the cabin to grab his keys and is greeted by a possessed Eric, who stabs David in the neck. Before he dies, David pushes Mia outside and locks her out of the cabin. He grabs the shotgun and shoots the gasoline container, lighting up the cabin and killing Eric and himself.
This scene here is another big problem I have. Spoiler alert for next paragraph: David started to turn into a demon before he died. So why not show it? Would it have been that hard to show a couple of seconds of him twitching? You can infer what happens when shit hits the fan in the next 30 seconds of the movie, but it’s not like this movie runs long. A couple of extra seconds would make it much clearer.
It’s sweet and all that Mia was brought back from the dead, but she still got possessed at one point. She may be alive now, but that doesn’t undo everything else that’s happened. David makes 5, and the prophecy has been fulfilled. She looks down at the necklace David had given her, and a drop of blood lands on it. Then another. Then it pours. Blood literally rains from the sky. A hand bursts from the ground and grabs Mia and finally, after more than 30 years, we get to see the original movie poster come to life.
|All those years of passing by it at Blockbuster and renting Mrs. Doubtfire instead...|
|More like de-meh-n. Get it. Because it's not very good.|
NOPE. She just fucking rips it off. She pulls until it completely severs. She’s completely soaked in blood, missing a hand, and left with nowhere to go as the Abomination crawls towards her. The climax comes to a resolution in a scene that made me nearly squeal in excitement: Mia shoves the chainsaw into the Abomination’s mouth and cuts its fucking head in half.
Its corpse falls back into the ground as the blood rain stops and the sun comes out. Mia walks away, cursed no more, but alone. The book lies outside the burning cabin, closing itself in wait for its next victims. Mia wanders away into the sunlight, and if the blood loss doesn’t kill her, the eventual relapse will because there’s no fucking way you get through this without stuffing handfuls of heroin into every orifice.
Holy shit. That movie was intense, to say the least. It took a bit to get into the good stuff, but it’s a horror movie. Most of them follow a pattern at this point. There’s a cool prologue with someone getting brutally murdered, then a first act of characterization where we get to know the Dead Meat. Then shit hits the fan and they get picked off for the rest of the movie. Action movies aren’t much different, so I make a point to stick with a movie for the first half hour. If we get to 45 minutes and nothing has happened, we’ve got a problem. Olivia’s already dead at the 45 minute mark, so no complaints here.
I came in with the lowest of expectations because I can count great horror remakes on one hand, but I was blown away by this. You can tell when the director behind a remake cares about the source material and it shines through here. It feels like a movie Raimi would’ve made, but not to the point where it’s a cheap imitation of his style.
More important than anything else, it kept the tone and kinetic pace of the original. Alvarez didn’t remake Evil Dead 2, he remade The Evil Dead. It’s deadly serious and the laughs come from how fucking ridiculous things get, not from a 3 Stooges gag. I’m sure there are plenty of people who wanted another movie more like 2 or Army of Darkness. But you know what? Fuck people. Fuck em right in the mouth.
It’s the same, but different. It’s five kids heading out to a cabin, they unleash some demons, and terrible things happen to them. But they’re up to different shit, there for different reasons, and nobody has a magnificent chin. There’s nods to the original (the chainsaw, cutting off hand, a lullaby, POV shots, the original car) but it’s not reliant on references. There’s cute winks and nods for those who would get them, but it’s not like watching something like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where not a God damned bit of it makes sense if you haven’t watched 3 other movies. Of all the movies in the world, that’s the one I reference. But I digress...
The violence. Let’s talk about the insane violence. I absolutely love how it’s almost entirely practical effects. Yes, there’s some CGI, but it’s not in the gore. Everything is wet, meaty, and fucking gross and it’s absolutely perfect for what this movie is going for. Everything is tactile and tangible. It makes me think of The Thing. Everything just feels so real and, for lack of a better word, gross.
Love it or hate it, they don’t water this movie down. This isn’t a remake whose primary goal is to reach a broad audience and rake in money at the box office. That girl gets fucked by a tree and there’s not a god damned thing you can do about it. I have absolutely no idea how this got an R rating. I’ve never seen so much blood in an R rated movie. I remember thinking to myself “I can’t believe they got away with this,” and then it literally rained blood from the sky.
It walks a weird line between over the top violence and “torture porn.” It’s shot like modern horror in that it doesn’t cut away from the mayhem, but it comes with 80’s slasher sensibilities. When she slices her tongue in half, you better believe that camera stays put and lets you watch the whole thing. It’s violent, it’s bloody, and it’ll make you cringe, but at the same time it’s so violent, so bloody, and so cringeworthy that you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity. It’s not from the Rob Zombie school of “THIS IS WHAT REAL VIOLENCE LOOKS LIKE. LOOK AT HOW FUCKED UP EVERYONE IS. IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED? THIS IS REAL.” It pushes the violence to a “fun” level, not making you feel like an accomplice to something terrible by the time the credits roll. There’s a big difference between violence in this and Martyrs. The original may have had green slime and milk but this has pus, piss, and bloody vomit chunks.
The characters aren’t half bad. They’re nothing special and pretty par for the course, but in the short bit of time we learn about characters as humans, not demons, we set up relationships and backstories that build through the redonculousness and pay off at the end. The characters are thin, but they have arcs that progress throughout the movie and reach fitting conclusions. The movie fits a bit of characterization into non-stop insanity. The entire 2nd and 3rd acts are almost nonstop things going fucking insane, and every time there’s a spot to take a breath they throw in a bit of characterization before a girl has to saw her arm off. Characters aren’t THAT much more fleshed out, but it’s something. Yes, that is the faintest praise imaginable, but there’s nothing wrong with the ole “A for Effort” mentality.
It’s funny that this came out after Cabin in the Woods, a movie that subverted the entire genre that spawned from this franchise. You would think it would be even a little bit self-aware, but they play it straight. It’s not nearly as generic as the movie parodied; there’s no athlete, fool, scholar, whore, and virgin, but it doesn’t go out of its way to try to be a “smart” horror movie. They make a point to not have any technology or cell phones to avoid the baggage that would come with having to explain ~they can’t get a signal out there~ but dumb horror movie shit is going to happen. He’s going to open that book, he’s going to go out of his way to read it, a meat carver is going to slice through bone, the sky is going to rain blood, and she’s going to be brought back to life via car battery.
Now with all the ass kissing aside, let’s get to the parts that bugged me. I mentioned most of these things earlier, but they bear repeating. The demons go down way too easily. Remember the original? Ash was slowly being outnumbered by them until the end of the movie where he was losing his mind and having to fight off two of them at a time. The only way to get rid of them was to dismember them in brutally violent fashion. But a broken chunk of toilet? Blunt trauma? Even zombies don’t go down that easy.
It’s also really unclear if the figure Mia sees is a demon version of herself or the girl from the beginning. It looks like Mia, but why show anything from the beginning if it’s not her? It’s not like we need context to figure out what’s going on. This movie isn’t Memento, it’s pretty easy to pick up that book = bad things happening without a random girl getting possessed in the beginning.
My biggest issue by far is the Abomination. After all of the insane shit that’s happened to these characters, it ends with a naked demon doing a bad Jason impression. It’s a real let down. I read through the original shooting script because I have that kind of time and originally the Abomination was a horrendous creature with half of David’s face, half Olivia’s, and the body itself a mix of the remains of the four of them. I don’t know if it was budget or just not able to practically be done, but that sounds so much better than what we got it’s not even funny.
Speaking of the script, the post credits scene had farmers finding her and picking her up and she opens her eyes and they’re all demon-y and she smiles and it cuts to black and it’s fucking stupid. It also had David turning into a demon before the house goes up in flames, so what the fuck, movie?
Last but not least though is cutting stuff from the trailers. It’s a tiny nitpick, but how the fuck do you cut out the “we’re gonna get you” scene? It’s one of the most memorable parts of the original and was in every single trailer. And, because it’s and Evil Dead movie, there’s no god damned deleted scenes on the DVD, so I’m going to have wait for it to keep getting re-released in different deluxe editions every five years for the next three decades and hope I get a chance to find it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this movie, it’s just that some people are going to refuse to like it. There’s always going to be the guy to loudly yell DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME JUST WATCH THE ORIGINAL, because there will always be that person who will always like the original no matter what just because it came first. It’s not what they watched as a young, impressionable kid, and nothing else is going to be good enough. It’s a fun movie and has a kinetic energy and relentlessness that many modern horror movies are lacking. It’s a nice reminder that you can make a horror movie that’s not a straight up comedy or 90 minutes of furious dick punching. It can make you cover your eyes and then laugh.
It’s shot well, the music is a mix of atmospheric and orchestral score reminiscent of the original, and the characters have names I didn’t forget immediately after watching it. It improves on the original in just about every way, but it’s never going to replace it. I don’t think it was ever trying to. The director clearly has too much adoration and respect for it. Why else would he use such shitty contact lenses in 2013? It’s an enjoyable entry into the Evil Dead saga to watch.
I highly recommend every installment. It feels awesome to say that, because I’m going to go ahead and guess I’m not going to be able to do that very often. This particular entry isn’t for everyone, but there’s a movie in the Evil Dead franchise for everyone. You’ve got your grindhouse violence, your horror comedy, your slapstick comedy, and your modern horror. I love each one for different reasons, and I’m so happy I finally got off my ass and watched them all.
As for the future? That seems to change at every horror convention. Raimi talked about Army of Darkness 2 for a decade. Then a new Evil Dead 2. Then a new Evil Dead 2 AND Army of Darkness 2. Then a 7th crossover film. Now its supposedly going to be a TV series. I’ll believe it when I see it, but you better believe when I see it I’ll be writing thousands of words about it.