Apparently forgetting he already remade The Evil Dead to perfection in Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi flogs the undead horse in this humourless husk from 2013.
In Fede Álvarez‘s directorial debut, some people stay at a cabin in the woods to kick Mia’s (Jane Levy) heroin habit, only to find themselves out of their depth (especially the actors). But a heroine deficiency proves the least of the remake’s problems, as it slowly dawns on viewers that there is no comedy. In an Evil Dead movie.
Sure there is gore, but it takes 40 minutes to start and is shot in the grim murk of torture porn, devoid of slapstick energy. Instead we get serious talk about Mia’s dead mum (hardly the kind of Mummy issues we want from the Necronomicon) and nothing characters that make Ash Williams look comparatively well-rounded.
Without Raimi’s eccentric comic book style, the ridiculous behaviour and bloodshed becomes insipid, turning assault into insult. To make such a creative and colourful movie so pallid and pedestrian is pissing on a legacy. The only new angle is the addiction-as-possession allegory, which apart from ripping off 2012 indie Resolution, falls apart as soon as the solution becomes hacking the victim to pieces.
Speaking of hacks, the Diablo Cody-doctored script is given straight-faced readings of lines like, “It’s not a science book,” and “My face hurts.” It is a film with tongues everywhere but in its cheek, numb to the spirit of the original that the TV show Ash vs Evil Dead briefly rekindled. The remake has quickly dated while Evil Dead still feels alive, a slave to a torture sub-genre that was already dead and buried.
That fixation on self-mutilation rather than fighting Deadites reveals a fundemental misunderstanding not just of the source material, but of horror as a form of masochism: that we watch these films not for fun, but misery.