Why Evil Dead is Awesome

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A blood-soaked visit to a remote cabin that feels very familiar.”

First things first: have you seen the original Evil Dead trilogy? If not, then go watch them now. Seriously, go do it. They’re awesome, and this film has so many homages and references to them that you just won’t get otherwise. That’s part of the reason this film is awesome: it knows, and is proud of, what came before. And you can tell it from every little reference and sly wink the film gives the audience, ranging from visual references to sounds and even camera tricks. On that note, watch the entirety of the credits. Trust me.

As for other parts of the film, they range from decent to brilliant. For one, the story is very bare-boned and is more just an excuse to get a bunch of twenty-somethings to go to, and stay at, a cabin in the middle of a wooded area. The story follows a drug-addicted girl that wants to go cold turkey and has a retreat set up in order to help her by getting her away from any possible source of drugs. All hell breaks loose after one guy, despite several warnings from both his friends and in writing, reads from a book that unleashes demons who have a mission of possessing and killing everyone in the cabin in various, sometimes original, ways.

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Still a better love story than Twilight.

Which brings me nicely to one of the major draws (or repulsions, depending on your point of view) of this film: the gore. This is a very visceral, very gory film and shouldn’t really be watched if you can’t handle blood, as there is buckets of the stuff. At one point it literally rains blood; that’s the level of blood-letting we’re talking here. Some may say it’s needless, others excessive. I just think it’s brilliant. As an aside, there is a LOT of swearing in this too, almost using the full spectrum of offensive words. It works in the film, and makes certain set-pieces and bits of dialogue better and more poignant. I genuinely don’t feel neither the swearing nor the violence in this film are excessive and fit perfectly well with the universe it creates.

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Use tomato juice, they said. Good for the pores, they said.

Speaking of violence and gore, what is impressive is that the vast majority of effects in this film are done with practical effects instead of CGI. Though some parts were touched up to look better with minimal CGI, most of the effects are done in the style of the original films; meaning that nearly everything is done in real-life as it comes out in the film. Which I personally think makes the entire film look infinitely better, especially over most CGI effects implemented in this age of cinema which don’t look particularly good and detract from both the film and the atmosphere due to the very apparent difference in what was there and what was later added to the film. Look no further than The Thing prequel from 2011 for how CGI can have a hugely negative effect on what is otherwise a decent follow-up to a classic.

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The world’s creepiest game of hide and seek.

The characters of the film are well-acted, from what they have to work with anyway. There is a clear split between the characters that are needed for the story progression and those that are cannon fodder. So, y’know; like every other modern horror/slasher film. The cannon fodder characters are decent enough in and of themselves, but you do start thinking “when are they going to die?” as the film pulls very few punches with how it’s going to go. The couple of characters that do get some development are well acted, particularly the main character Mia (played by Jane Levy), the previously mentioned drug addict. And the first to get possessed. Her possessed form is what I consider to be the single creepiest aspect of the film, as she takes cues from Henrietta Knowby from the Evil Dead 2, i.e. the possessed woman in the basement. The interactions between her and the other characters create most of the tension and the conflict in the film, along with the most offensive of the film. Then again, she’s a demon-possessed junkie, what do you expect?

As I’ve already mentioned, there are loads of references and call-outs to the original films, which actually technically puts this film within the continuity of the original trilogy. Though advertised as a remake, you can just as easily look at this as a continuation of the story of the films that came before it. There are a few things that kind of imply or suggest this, not least of which is the apparent plan for this set of films (a sequel is already in the works) and the original series to merge in a further sequel to both series’. Which I am very much hoping happens.

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When she’d agreed to go camping in the woods, she hadn’t realised just how traumatic going to the toilet would be.

And for the fans out there: don’t worry, everything you expect from an Evil Dead film (chainsaws, creepy singing, lots of gore, characters getting beaten up repeatedly, tree rape, etc.) is all here and accounted for.

Until next time, this has been Josh writing for The Awesome Update.

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