HUGHESY’S “EVIL DEAD 2013 IS GOOD BUT NOT GREAT!”…An HCF Alternative Review of the remake


 The Hughes Verdict!

Evil Dead is one of my favourite horror films of all time!

Ok, I started this alternative review with a lie!

The truth is, the original remake is one of my favourite horror films of all time! While there may be gasps from those who are wondering what “remake” I am on about, obviously I am talking about Evil Dead II. more of a semi remake than sequel, that joyfully expanded all that was good about Evil Dead (notably more Ash) and made a film that will forever be a truly regarded as a cult classic!

I am also one of those fans that totally adore the third film, Army Of Darkness, a high quality romp that to this day has Bruce Campbell at his very best! The end of that film (depending on which version you have seen) still has one of the best unresolved cliff-hangers of all time! Ash stupidly taken one extra sleeping pill instead of the required amount and waking up to a future that made a possible fourth film be a mixture of Evil Dead meets Mad Max and even the thought of that to this day, excites me more than anything the horror genre can offer.

News then of an all new Evil Dead film had me thrilled to the bone. The return to that cabin would not only be a welcome treat, but also banish the memories of that awful Cabin In The Woods film from last year that was just too damn clever for its own good. As I sat in the cinema, muttering to myself that I could not wait for Ash to “give me more sugar”, the room went dark, the teen crowd went quiet and then the titles rolled. As I sat and looked up and glad that for once I did not have those 3D glasses on for a change, my heart sunk when the title appeared and it wasn’t Army Of Darkness 2: Ash to the Future starring back at me!

Yes, I realised what I knew but failed to admit, that Evil Dead, like all my other horror classics that I adore, has sold itself to the reboot franchise and what was facing me was the all new Evil Dead, a modern version of a film that never really needed a kick up its arse because the original and the second film are so glorious to watch that any attempt to remake it seemed doomed from the start!

Now before I go on further in this review, I am not writing this to be the odd one out. Just to be the lone voice in the horror world because this new version has been rightly praised, even by our own Matt and having read his review after seeing this, I can totally understand why he likes this movie so much.

It is a throwback to 80’s horror, a notion that I totally loved myself. Old fashioned effects and not one moment of crappy CGI, brings a unique feel to it all. It also does what no other horror film has done in recent time and not sell out to the teen crowd. The much welcome R- Rating is music to the ears to all horror fans who have suffered for a few years having seen the genre watered down and most films coming out with a 15 rating! Evil Dead 2013 is gory. The screen is awash with it and I sat back and did think to myself “Fair play guys!”….as I haven’t seen this much blood in a Zombie flick since the days when Peter Jackson was not making films about hobbits and was releasing the joys of Braindead onto us.

So why the Alternative review then?

Well, new EVIL DEAD is good, but not great and certainly not the best horror remake of recent times (you can breath now Dawn Of The Dead). The problem with this modern version is that like the recent splat of Jason, Freddy and Michael remakes, the film takes itself just too seriously and forgets the main reason why the original was so good….in that it was terrifying but fun at the same time.

Yes I am glad the makers and writers did not bother to recast a new Ash as that alone would have doomed this film, but if you a diehard fan then most probably like me, you just wanted the moment for Bruce Campbell to turn up and smash the shit out of these new deadites. The fact he didn’t and you long for it to happen, is one of the sole reasons, why Evil Dead 2013 failed to grasp me like it should!

Usually we at HCF only do an alternative review if the said film has won so much praise from one of us and is universally loved and I do feel like a cheat writing this as I really did enjoy this film. But I couldn’t help but feel that behind the vast amount of blood and gore was an empty film that missed the heartbeat of Ash and his chainsaw.

The Evil Dead films worked because they were fun to watch and somehow had a nice balance in which one moment we were horrified by a woman getting raped by a tree, to then laughing as poor Ash was once more being put through the mill.

This version, the intent to make it all serious and dark and gloomy, may work for 95% of horror fans, but those who just love the franchise may just sit back and think “Yeah I can see why and I am enjoying this, but its not a patch on big Sam’s“.

Also I was not once scared by the entire film. You could argue that thirty years later, the original has dated badly and no longer a scare factor, but I would say the deadites from the 80’s still freak me out more than the 2013 version. There was something lacking in the design of them, maybe the fact that they probably did look too “good” if that is the right word, but I did not feel threatened at all and the menace just wasn’t there. The cheap production of the 80’s film somehow adds to the menace and overall creepiness and you just cant buy that for love or money, despite the best intentions of those here involved.

Am I being harsh? Probably! But then I am well known for hating all this remake lark. I despise the new Halloween, Friday and Elm St films and everything else that has come out recently. Only The Fly and Dawn Of The Dead have rightfully won praise in my heart for their attempt at bringing something good to the table and maybe my feelings go back to that dreaded Psycho remake in which I had to sit and watch the all new Norman Bates undo his trousers and masturbate to Anne Heche. That one scene alone that made me walk out of the cinema in disgust as it was pointless, stupid and completely wrecked the “mother’s boy” character of Norman and would have had Hitchcock himself demand an apology.

To contradict things, I did enjoy this Evil Dead! Its a good try at a classic and if it does get a few people of the new generation to seek out the old films then it has served its purpose, but I would rather if this film was created in the same universe of the original three. Maybe not a remake but more of a continuation of the story. They could have wrote a plot where this new version would have somehow connected to the previous events.  The end post credit scene does suggest that a future plan is afoot to do this and if it does happen, then maybe I will find more love for this version and if what they saying does pay off, then it is one idea that could make this remake all seem worth it!

I am not dismissing the cast even though like most characters in horror, they do not offer much of a background and you really wont be gutted when some of them die. But I hate to hark back to what I wrote earlier, but there was no one on show here that made you feel like you did with Ash!.

Overall, this new version is not the disaster it could have been, but its also not the scariest film either. I enjoyed it for what it was but I wont be jumping on the bandwagon and I dismiss those who say that this is equal to what Sam done all those years ago. What Evil Dead 2013 does well, is show that you can still make R Rating horror and make money which will serve the horror genre good for the future. What it doesn’t do is make you laugh and cherish at what you see in front of you. Blood and gore can only take you far and when you lack a heartbeat as well, to borrow a famous phase off the Joker, all I could think of when I was watching this was….

“Why soooooo serious?”……..

Read Matt’s brilliant cinema review for Evil Dead 2013

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About Ross Hughes 564 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

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