‘Evil Dead’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 15th, 2014 at 12:50 am,

Evil Dead Reviews 2013 Starring Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez Evil Dead Review

Remakes don’t get much better than this – in terms of revitalizing the franchise and servicing both veteran and newcomer viewers.

Evil Dead 2013 re-imagines the story first made famous by Sam Raimi’s (Oz the Great and Powerful) 1981 cult-classic flick, The Evil Dead. In this new version, a group of five victims friends travel out to a remote cabin in the woods to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her drug addiction, cold turkey.

When science teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) finds a mysterious book in the horrific basement of the cabin, he unwittingly unleashes an evil force that grabs hold of Mia and begins to infect the other members of the group one-by-one. Soon, it’s up to Mia’s estranged brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), to put an end to the growing evil… if he can manage the courage to do what needs doing.

In the dreaded land of movie remakes, Evil Dead (2013) is that rare example of a film that manages to strike a near-perfect balance: It’s a new interpretation offering something slightly different, while simultaneously honoring the spirit of the original, and what made it so enjoyable. The soul of Evil Dead is alive in this new version – in all of its sick and twisted glory.

Randal Wilson as Abomination Mia in Evil Dead 2013 Evil Dead Review

Evil Dead architect Sam Raimi and his leading man Bruce Campbell are behind this new version (serving as producers), and it is their choice of behind-the-camera personnel that makes the remake work. Director Fede Alvarez and his writing partner Rodo Sayagues broke onto the scene with their impressive apocalyptic short film, Panic Attack!, and that imaginative filmmaking is put to great use in the shock-gore world of Evil Dead.

From the get-go, the film is a full-speed assault that never lets up, moving from one horrific sequence to another seamlessly and efficiently, with nary a second of dead time (sorry, bad pun). Sure, it’s a pretty repetitive and episodic progression (gore-horror scene 1, gore-horror scene 2, etc…) but each of the “episodes” is imaginative, fun, gross, and tense enough to keep your body clenched tight. In short: from start to finish, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from Evil Dead. The movie also relies mainly on old-school practical effects, and the difference is certainly noticeable in its impact. There are also many stylistic nods to Raimi’s film, which hardcore fans will recognize and appreciate.

Alvarez also shows off some great directorial skills in his own right when it comes to blocking, cinematography and sequencing, making the film richly visual and fun to watch. Our director also knows exactly what this film is supposed to be (more shock-gore experience than tension or jump scares), and he manages to stage many of the agonizing moments in a slow, purposed way, with an unflinching eye and sense of almost goading sense of sadism. (It’s painfully evident (bad pun #2) why this film once had an NC-17 rating.)

Elizabeth Blackmore in Evil Dead 2013 Evil Dead Review

The script – by Alavarez, Sayagues and Oscar-winner Diablo Cody (Juno) -  is also a successful adaptation of the original premise, married to some new and (fun?)(sick?) ideas.  The revised premise actually sets a competent subtext to the horror, using Mia’s addiction, backstory and relationships with her friends and brother as a (albeit thin) emotional through line to follow. More to the point; while this new version isn’t as playfully silly as Raimi’s version was, there is still a good deal of humor throughout.

Those wary of Cody’s involvement need not be; her “hip” signature in no way corrupts the film, and in fact, a betting man might wager that the better moments of self-reflexive wit and subversion of classic horror tropes belong to her. In this post-modern era of slasher flicks, when one character says “Maybe things will get better,” audiences are all-too-aware of the irony dripping from those words; thankfully, so are the writers of Evil Dead, which is why a response like, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed… things have been getting worse, every second,” is welcomed and enjoyed by all. Like the direction, the script for the film knows what it is supposed to be, and knows the proper balance between taking itself seriously, and not taking itself too seriously.

Shiloh Frenandez Jane Levy Lou Taylor Pucci Elizabeth Blackmore and Jessica Lucas in Evil Dead 2013 Evil Dead Review

Shiloh Frenandez, Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore and Jessica Lucas in ‘Evil Dead’ (2013)

The cast is made up of relative unknowns who turn in some pretty good performances. Suburgatory star Jane Levy certainly makes a leading lady name for herself playing Mia, enduring all sorts of goop, gunk, and grossness with commitment and dignity, while also managing to bring gravitas to Mia’s backstory. While likely doomed to be labeled a generic ‘knock-off Ash,’ Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood)  is also solid in the role of David, bringing just enough weight to the central drama of the story.

Lou Taylor Pucci (Jack and Diane) is the biggest scene-stealer as Eric, tasked with serving as the film’s deadpan comedian. From the timing needed to deliver lines of witty meta-humor, to moments of drama and a pretty extensive run of physical horror/comedy gags, Pucci makes Eric into one of the best things about this new version. Meanwhile, Jessica Lucas (Melrose Place) and Elizabeth Blackmore (Legend of the Seeker) are just window dressing… until they both get to have some sick fun in “abomination” form.

Jessica Lucas in Evil Dead 2013 Evil Dead Review

Evil Dead was always a B-movie cult-horror favorite, and this new film – for all its polished, big-budget looks and deeper character drama – makes the smart decision of not trying to aspire beyond that. Even at its best, the film is only going to reach a certain height on the grand scale of cinema; however, taking that into account, it’s easy to commend Alvarez and co. for achieving as much as they have. Remakes don’t get much better than this – in terms of revitalizing the franchise and servicing both veteran and newcomer viewers.

Best of all: Evil Dead  is one of the rare horror films these days that functions well as a theatrical experience. You want to see this film with a crowd (late-night crowd if possible), and it’s a pretty fair bet that the usual interruptions – cellphones, talking, etc. – won’t get a strong foothold in this shock-a-minute parade. You’ll laugh together, scream together and cringe together – and isn’t that what the movies are all about, in the end?

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Still not sure? Check out this red-band trailer for Evil Dead:


Evil Dead is now playing in theaters. It is 91 minutes long and is Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language.

If you want to discuss the film without ruining it for others, visit our Evil Dead spoilers discussion. To hear our editorial team discuss the film in detail, stay tuned for the Evil Dead episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast.

Consider yourself a hardcore fan? Check out our article, “Evil Dead Remake: 23 References to the Original Version“. Did you spot any references we didn’t?

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: Evil dead
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  1. nao consigo assistir o video minha internet é uma bosta e esse video tambem porque nao consigo assistir

  2. After seeing this movie and reading this review, all I can say is wow. Was the editor paid by Campbell and Raimi to give this such high praise?
    I’ll highlight the aspects of the film that were well done. The acting was good for such a poor script. All actors played a well enough part to make the story watchable. Also, the scenery where the story takes place is spot on. They managed to take the original Evil Dead atmosphere and adapt it almost perfectly with the new film. However, the praise for this disappointment ends there.
    Evil Dead 2013 has one of the poorest written scripts a fan of the original could imagine. The film exchanges fear for gore. Blood alone is no substitue for terror. I was hoping to have nightmares for days before seeing this film, but instead, not one scene stands out as truly rememberable. Sure, at every turn, some one is being stabbed, slashed, poked, or gouged with some hazardess object, but the premise that gave the original its place in cult horror legacy is no where to be found. Instead of releasing demons hell bent on the hatered, mutilation, torture, and eventual death/enslavement of mankind, the Necronomicon in this film lets loose orange eyed jesters which inhabit it’s victims.
    In short, the original is much more terrifying. But, the producers got what they wanted, I suppose. Hope Sam Raimi loses the six dollars I spent Saturday afternoon in the laundry, or some bum breaks into his car and takes the six in change off the floor. Don’t forget to look in between the seats.

    • have you seen The Evil Dead? like seriously? Sam raimis first film is great becuase of how ridiculous it is. its a great horror film yes, and so is this film. its an incredible remake. its got more than enough gore like the original and ithe gore is actually scary. and are you serious? its sam raimi man he is the king of three stooges love dude. thats all you get with the original is homages to three stooges hich is great. i love the orginal. but you suck. for not apreciating this film. yes the script wasnt that great. HOMEBOY ISNT AMERICAN!! get over it bro. this film delivered in terms of what a remake should be. it was honest and it found a new voice while toying with the original. which is what a remake should be. build upon the beauty without taking away from the essence.

    • Bitter!!!!

    • Are you sure you weren’t talking about army of darkness as the original movie? You praised the original for “releasing demons hell bent on the hatered, mutilation, torture, and eventual death/enslavement of mankind” but the original movie is not like that, it has the same premise as this one, students in a cabin find the book of the dead, evil is called, one bye one they are possessed and they kill each other till finally the hero is left to fight another day (Ash), the end. All hell gets loose until the third movie which is “Army of Darkness”, the original first movie is named “The Evil Dead” (the remake only removed “The” from the title), even more it was not until “Evil Dead II” where the monsters got creepier however the original just was the actors having make up on their face.
      I personally think this Evil Dead remake pays truly homage to the original and its pretty fun. Just wanted to ask ’cause it sounded like you were comparing this movie to the third installment of the franchise.

    • 1) I have met and seen my share of drug addicts – there is no way a junkie is saving half a bag of smack so she can throw it down a well. That sh*t would have been done in in the car-ride on the way to the cabin!

      2) I know these 20-somethings are on an important mission here, but they are a seriously miserable bunch of dreary-faces. None of them even cracks a smile, a joke, nothing… no wonder this poor girl does drugs!

      3) Long-haired character dude is clearly upset and disturbed by the evidence of the black rituals that had taken place down the basement. He brings the ‘book’ upstairs, studies it, gets to a part that says, “Don’t read this,” and what does he do? He reads it …

      4) Early in the film, the main character, Mia, crashes a car in a lake, gets out, and is then being chased by her possessed self. If she hasn’t been possessed yet, how is her possessed self chasing her???

      5) Tree worm thing is a bit gross, but not all that scary.

      6) They find Mia in the woods, bring her back to the cabin and are keeping a close eye on her. She is frightened/terrified. Her brother tells her to go take a shower, which she does. When exactly did she kill the dog with a hammer???

      7) Need to make a possessed girl, just add boiling water – what book did that come from? I’ve been watching films, shows, and reading books, on witchcraft, spells, demon possessions and necromancy, for a lot of years and nowhere did it ever say, “Add boiling freaking’ water!”

      8) Voice of possessed girl sounds like ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ taking a nasty dump! Not scary.

      9) How many nails can you load into a nail gun, anyway?

      10) Suddenly, there’s a huge roast beef for lunch, just so we can see it being carved with the electric carving knife. I call foul! Going to a cabin in the woods, you’re not bringing a giant roast beef – its hotdogs and burgers, man! and maybe some chicken! But that’s freakin’ it.

      11) Everyone and everything is shooting each other with a nail gun. Nail Gun, Nail Gun, Nail Gun! When the brother goes to seal the cellar door, he uses a regular hammer!(wtf?)

      12) When carving the roast, the carving blade is one size – carving off an arm, its suddenly 3x longer!

      13) As long as you have duct tape, no one’s injuries mean anything. Stabbed in the heart? seal it with duct tape. Cut off an arm? seal it with duct tape. Sliced with a razor-knife, a broken mirror shard, seal it with duct tape. There, good as new, now lets go running around the cabin hunting possessed girlfriends.

      14) Apparently, the brother’s job in Chicago gave him the knowledge of how to build a makeshift defibrillator using a car battery, jumper cables, two very large syringes (they’ve grown since seeing them earlier, too), and lots of duct tape.

      15) The Brother empties the gas can all over the cabin to burn it down, two scenes later he shoots the (empty) gas can with a shotgun which blows up the cabin!

      16) When 5 souls are collected, “the abomination” will rise from the ground. This was the biggest disappointment of the film. “The abomination” was just another possessed dead body…that was easily killed with a chainsaw. (WTF!) that’s it? The Ultimate anti-climax.

      17) Furthermore, there were not even 5 souls, If Mia was back to life, it still only had 4 souls. (can somebody please explain this fuzzy math!)

      18) The intact necklace that Mia picks up at the end of the film was clearly broken to pieces several scenes earlier.

      19) Mia is being chased by “the abomination” and is stuck in the tool shed. She picks up the chainsaw and there’s no gas in it. So, she bangs a shelf-unit with her foot and a small bottle of gas (it’s marked gas right on it in big letters) falls right into her hands. Foul! Hokey Hollywood cliché # 1!

      20) If you got a big red gas can (see #15), why is there gas in a small water bottle, marked gas, out in the shed?

      21) Mia gets her arm stuck under a tipped-over car. She pulls really, really hard and it breaks off, oh yeah? Tell that to James Franco – it took him 127 f***ing hours!

      22) Now free from the offending car she was pinned under, she walks around like nothing happened and even has the sensibilities to make snarky comments at “the abomination”.

      23) Hokey Hollywood cliché #2 – the climatic one-liner. Mia, before finally chopping “the abomination” in half with the chainsaw says, “Feast on this Mother F***er!” Really? That was tired when Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis said it for the thousandth time in the early 1980’s (okay, they didn’t say those exact words but things very similar).

      24) lets back track to the beginning. Bunch a hillbillies break into someone else’s cabin, set up a whole alter with hanging dead cats, and kill a girl (alright she was possessed) then leave behind all the evidence for someone else to find? Including the book that starts the whole mess in the 1st place??? That’s hard to swallow.

      25) They have a shower scene and the girl keeps all her clothes on!!! How do you f*ck up a shower scene???

      26) They clean up and fix up the cabin for what seems like hours, but no one moved the throw rug? Suddenly the brother picks up the rug and dah-dah-dah! Gasp! There’s a cellar door, gulp.


      • @hotpocketgamera I’d go through this list and explain each and everything about it to you but honestly, what’s the point? This is quite literally one of the most wrong comments and I ever seen. You are obviously predisposed to not like this movie and choose to be nitpicky ABOUT EVERY DETAI instead of enjoying the ride. You seem to have absolutely no clue what the original was like.

      • Two answers, Time travel and 90′s Hollywood action hero rules.

        • Groovy

    • This comment is spot on, this review deffinelty sounds like a paid off one, and not only does this movie fail as a remake, but watching makes me feel as if I was watching a bad version of evil dead/exorcist/cabin in the woods balled into one movie. And with me also being a heavy H.P. Lovecraft (inventor of the necromonicon) fan, I was sorley dissapointed in the necro’s role in this film, so I guess its a good thing I waited to watch it on the internet

  3. Its a great addition to the series. It pays some serious homage to the original and again its a cult classic. No its not a mainstream horror movie like Nightmare or Friday the 13th that everyone knows.
    I thought this was a great movie in all honesty. A huge twist on the original story that was much more straight forward, cut and dry. Out of all the remakes that we’ve seen (nightmare on elm st, friday the 13th, my bloody valentine, etc) this one was by far the best. IMO

  4. It released today, I saw it and other than the idiot who turned to me and started talking and laughing and telling me what I was trying to watch on the screen right at the beginning, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot.

    I’d say it’s the best movie of 2013 so far.

  5. there were tense bits. the nurse bit for one… trying to give away as little as possible. but the script was pretty poor at parts and some characterisation was poor as well. i needed to watch a better as to why the book got opened in the first place, or even brought up from where it was found. it made no sense as to why that happened. but, a really impressive remake visually. with plenty of homage to the original two and reminded me of the exorcist too which was great. plenty of things i liked about it such how vulnerable all the characters were. i did think the film could have happened without David’s girlfriend… she wasn’t a great character imo.
    great remake tho. i imagine collectors will buy this film for the set but wont dare open it and treat it like the book itself. because it is a truly brutal film. perhaps the goriest film ive ever seen

    • watch a better reason*

  6. Decent entertainment value, simply because of the initial plot(cold turkey off heroin and blood and gore). Other than that, worthless. Poorly written, full of prop errors and etc etc. For instance, i love how each person decides to go off by themselves for whatever reason…horrible s*** starts happening and they make no attempt to alert the others. See a crazy b**** in the mirror, stay in the bathroom…alone as the door slams shut. Proceed to cut off face. Long haired dude goes to check…by himself, late as usual. Pitch black, sees the b**** on the floor but doesn’t alert friends. And why did he come alone? They all should have went to bathroom. b**** proceeds to start stabbing him in the face with a syringe after thrusting a piece of mirror into his chest…makes no attempt to alert friends. Once again, they come perfectly late. Dumb s*** like this throughout the whole movie. When did she kill the dog? How do you see a thick ass trail of blood perfectly while it has been purging down rain for 8 hours? Etc etc….worthless.