Billy Summers: 'Evil Dead' mostly lacking in evil, but full of 'dead' moments
I have always thought that I never really “got” most of the humor of “Saturday Night Live,” because my brain was not altered by substances when I watched it. I think that that show was presented to a category of audience of which I was never a member.
The new horror remake of the 1981 cult classic “The Evil Dead” gives me the feeling. Those that will enjoy the new remake, titled “Evil Dead,” are of a mindset I will never be able to attain.
Call it bad taste or whatever, but my mind can never watch a movie of this sort and find anything positive. This movie really bored the heck out of me. With only a few moments of really gross out bloodshed, I struggled through the rest by imagining a paraphrased mantra of, “Keep telling yourself, it's only a movie (that I get paid to watch)”…
Even the Hollywood talent knew this was a bomb. With a cast of no-name players, it is obvious that there was probably someone waiting tables in California who said, “I have always said that I would NEVER turn down a starring role, no matter how bad the script, but…well….”
No one playing a major role here is doing their career any favors.
Jane Levy (“Suburgatory,” “Fun Size,” “Nobody Walks”) stars as Mia, Shiloh Fernandez (“Jericho,” “Red Riding Hood,” “Skateland”) plays David, while Lou Taylor Pucci (“Beginners,” “Horsemen,” “Carriers”) is Eric and Jessica Lucas (“C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigations,” “Melrose Place,” “Friends with Benefits”) comes in as Olivia. The fifth wheel, here, is Elizabeth Blakemore (“Legend of the Seeker,” “Burning Man”) as Natalie and all five have about as much personality and back story as one good actor in a good movie.
The viewer can switch any actor with any other part and no one would notice. The plot is no better. The same old “Let's all go into the spooky old forest and conjure up the spooky old demon” plot, adding absolutely nothing new from the original 1981 film, nor even anything new from last year's “Cabin in the Woods” (which, although pretty bad, DID have a secondary, underground plot, that made it interesting).
While the original movie had humor planted firmly in its cheek, this one fails to even try and capitalize on that angle. It takes itself completely seriously, and the actors also appear to be true believers in the essence of this movie.
This is nary a single incident where any actor gives a figurative wink at the camera, or a character smirks at a plot point. These guys actually think they are reciting Shakespeare, instead of doing horror porn, “Romero, Romero, wherefore out thou, Romero?”
The director does go Old School with legitimate special effects gore, as opposed to modern CGI enthralls, a plus in a movie with many, many minuses. The “Saw”-like slicing and dicing did creep me out in a couple of scenes, but the overall plot and acting was horrible!
To remake a movie that was not that great in the first place; “The Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead ll” were not that well received, and it wasn't until the third installment, “Army of Darkness,” which took the story in totally different direction, was there any fan interest.
And most fans will say that actor Bruce Campbell (“The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr.,” “Burn Notice,” “Xena: Warrior Princess”) and director Sam Raimi were the reason for its success. Raimi and Campbell are noticeably absent in “Evil Dead.”
So what we have here is a movie that puts the “horrible” in Horror.
It's like going to McDonald's for your two-thousandth Big Mac and expecting something special from this particular sandwich. It's a recipe of one part well-worn plot, one part actors without appeal, one part scenery that we have seen in about five hundred horror flicks; nothing at all to differentiate it from all the others.
This is a movie that is more Dead, than Evil…
Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.