Five friends head to a remote cabin in the woods for a week-end. They find a book of the damned in the creepy cellar which unleashes evil around them in gory and painful ways…
“Wanna see Andy tonight?! You might need a flashlight and a couple of shovels” booms a stand in for Tony Clifton (a character created and performed by the late Andy Kaufman) at the very end of “Man On The Moon” (1999) by Milos Forman in a scene that follows the emotional funeral of Andy Kaufman played by an admirable Jim Carrey. To paraphrase that scene, Hollywood graveyards are full of all-time classics lamented by many and sometimes by the authors themselves.
Like Sam Raimi with his beloved “Evil Dead” (1981) who, after twenty long years, finally made the film, giving it back movie life with his own production studio “Ghost House”. The original “Evil Dead” went through every kind of trouble with actors running away after principal photography, a limited budget, an abandoned cabin as set and the director’s own garage for cellar scenes. Sam Raimi with Joel Cohen as assistant editor and actor Bruce Campbell, who put his parent’s property as collateral to finish the film and to blow it up to 35mm print for theatre release, created a miracle that changed horror forever in the same way that George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) or Wes Craven’s “Last House on the Left” (1972) did. A jewel set in the crown of the horror genre. Now back to the 2013 version, a remake or a reboot of the franchise, it’s not very clear, with a back story so straight and well played it had to be easy to give new life to a beloved classic: just maintain the same horror and funny moments, bloody scenes with dark humor, new cinema values and up-to-date special effects. What could possibly go wrong?! But like a car crash on a sunny day aboard a new vehicle, it’s a mystery for CSI movie goers. “Groovy!” – NOT!!!
In the 2013 version of “Evil Dead” there’s no “Sam Raimi presents” as if he changed his mind on any idea of endorsement. Giving the script doctoring to Diablo Cody (writer of “Juno”) to make it more “American” (maybe with F and C words every three seconds) could mean that the screenplay by the Uruguayans Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues (You Tube stars with the nice short “Panic Attack!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dadPWhEhVk) had too many rewrites. “Evil Dead” 2013 has plenty of gore pushed to the limit for its limit sake, no or little character development as actors are only bodies to be violated in every sadistic way with good photography that tries to cast the best light on spikes in eye bulbs. Fede Alvarez directs in a modern way, yet sadly no shot seems his own, as if he’s too tied up in a paper-thin script. “The Cabin In The Woods” (2012) by Drew Goddard, from a story written with Joss Whedon, takes the “Evil Dead” concept and gives it modern twists and plenty of humor mixed with bloody scary moments. Maybe “Evil Dead” 2013 was meant to be a manual for the horror effects fans or those people who like to chew their steak raw and bloody, getting excited by the taste. But to real horror fans of the “Evil Dead Trilogy” this is just bad mojo for the franchise. The poster tagline says “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience”! If this is what producers consider horror today…Well, that’s really scary!
(Translation by the author)