ON THE SCREEN: Evil Dead

Starring a young and unknown cast, where one of the cast members resembles Shaggy from Scooby Doo, comes the remake of the iconic 1980′s horror film Evil Dead where a group of teenagers become hostage to a ruthless demonic spirit that possesses each one individually, causing them to carry out horrific acts while staying at an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. Stereotypical of the genre that’s true, but add countless amounts of fake blood and the film becomes recognised as an ultimate gore-fest, for horror fan-boys.

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The truth is, the remake of Evil Dead is actually a strong horror film, something that’s been lacking from the genre for a few years now. The cast are well chosen and come-off naturally in a situation completely ludicrous with stand-out performances from Shiloh Fernandez (David) and Jessica Lucas (Olivia) who work well adapting to the script. Produced by horror icon Sam Raimi (the creator of the original franchise), Bruce Campbell (the star of the original franchise) and Robert Tapert (the producer of the original franchise), the three adapt the slightly comical narrative to fit with contemporary times, accomplishing its purpose of satisfying audiences with a full blown gore-epic where we literally have bloody rain.

However, as a scary movie, Evil Dead doesn’t actually live up to its hype and reputation: the producers clearly substituted fright factor for gore with the remake. Only counting two ‘jumpy’ scenes, I expected more from a horror film as renowned as this franchise. Instead of adding the fright factor, in Evil Dead we have the down right horrible factor: scenes where characters remove their own limbs are instead used commonly trying to create a gut-wrenching feel for the audience but if we’ve seen it once, we’ve seen it a thousand times.

The feeling that the film was a ninety minute commercial for B&Q was a mutual feeling between myself and my fellow friends sitting in the theatre. During the film we have two uses of duct tape coming in handy to help the injured, a long advertisement for the usefulness of a nail gun (whether you’re nailing a door to the wall or nailing your friends hand to his chest), the idea that anything is possible as long as you have a chainsaw and a hammer, because you always need a hammer. Motto of the story: if in danger from a demonic spirit threatening to kill you and all your friends, get down to B&Q and treat yourself to this exquisite jumbo pack of tools for just £99.

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Although, Shiloh Fernandez stands out on the acting front, his character of the pretty boy David proves that whatever threatening force is coming your way, if you’re a pretty boy, you’ll still keep your face unharmed. Throughout the film characters cut off their jaws, receive horrific burns to the face and are hit with nails from the nail gun close to the eyes. Shaggy (a.k.a. Eric) manages to be stabbed in the face several times, stabbed in the chest with glass, shot in and around the face with a nail gun and on top of that almost use blood as a means of make-up while David is stabbed in the leg with the nail gun and sliced on the arms and legs a couple of times, no biggie. Another motto of the story: if you’re handsome, you’re in luck of even dying with a face that’s untouched.

On the whole the remake of Evil Dead is one of the better remakes out there. The fact that unnecessary sex scenes are removed from the horror film shows diversity within the genre: the idea that the first woman to get screwed is the first to hit the dust is tedious and just as repetitive as a couple getting together at the end of a corny-romance flick. Story wise, it’s a little over the top and incredibly farce but it’s pulled together well by a strong cast and a set of producers who know the strengths of the genre, working to those standards delivering a contemporary classic.

Movies are what that matter; whether old, new, mainstream or independent, I will provide a reflective breakdown of what makes the films work, or what makes it fall into the abyss of forgotten films like so many have done over the years. At the same time I’m a keen writer of film features, analysing genre, narrative and representation of film franchises we know and love. Since studying Film and Media at Manchester Metropolitan University I have taken a keen interest in the Bond franchise making it an area of expertise in terms of analysis and reflection. Don’t hesitate to leave your comments; everyone is entitled to their opinion. Feel free to query my thoughts: I will take the time to answer and discuss any comments debating my reviews or features.