Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Written by: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language
Running Time: 91
Date: 04/04/2013

Evil Dead (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Swallowing New Souls

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A newcomer from Uruguay, Fede Alvarez, was given the task of remaking one of the great classics of the horror genre, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1983), and though he can't top the original, he provides enough new ideas and enough energy to make it a decent movie in its own right.

David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) arrive at a remote cabin in the woods, where David's sister Mia (Jane Levy) is going to attempt to kick her drug habit. Two other friends, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas), are also there to help. Tension arises early around the fact that David hasn't been around lately, but things get much worse when they find dozens of dead cats hanging from the rafters in the basement. Then, Eric finds and reads a strange-looking book which unleashes all kinds of horrific demons into the cabin -- or is it just Mia hallucinating? It's eventually up to David to find a way to put a stop to all this craziness for good.

To start, he turns the cabin getaway into a serious issue, kicking a drug habit, rather than just a weekend party. This gives a whole new slant to the story, and the character's potential withdrawal hallucinations can be blamed for the initial horrors. Otherwise, Alvarez seems to know where to pay tribute to the original, i.e. a chainsaw, vomiting a river of blood, a light bulb filling with blood, and the appearance of a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. (He also pays tribute in small ways to Raimi's own sequel/remake Evil Dead II.) But he also knows where to depart, with his new characters, their relationships, and their particular problems. Alvarez also tries to keep the kinetic, frenzied horror from the original, but makes it a bit darker and less comical. Overall, his new movie packs a punch.

Note: According to some sources, Diablo Cody also worked on the screenplay.