Saturday, 20 April 2013

Surprise review of Evil Dead!

Okay, this review is a little surprise for you all, since it wasn't in my upcoming reviews list, but here it is anyway.

I have to warn you in advance though. If you do not wish to know anything about the movie yet, do not read any further, as there are major spoilers ahead!



I'm just home from seeing it, so figured I'd review it whilst it is still fresh in my mind.

And I must say... Wow.

The movie begins with a scene of a prior "possession", and the process that occurs to "purify" the soul and remove the demon from their victim's body.

This then leads into the new cast being shown, with a very clear throwback to the original, in which three girls and two guys have come out to a cabin in the woods, only this time, it is in order for one of them, Mia, to go "cold turkey" from her addiction to drugs. 

Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas) are out in front of the cabin when you first see them, waiting for the arrival of Mia's brother David (along with his girlfriend, Natalie). They are clearly pissed when he arrives, since they'd been waiting for him for a while.

Mia (Jane Levy) is seen sitting on the hood of a car (which I'm pretty sure was the Oldsmobile), drawing a sketch of the cabin whilst smoking, and jokes to David when she sees him about him finally coming.

David (Shiloh Fernandez) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), brought the family dog (named Grandpa) with them when they came to the cabin, much to Mia's surprise. They quickly get re-acquainted, with David giving his sister a necklace that will keep her spirit strong. 

The group then gather round a well, and Mia throws her drugs in, proclaiming to never "touch this shit again"

The cabin belongs to drug-addicted Mia and her brother David's family. It has become run down in the time since they last visited, which is apparent by their reaction to how it has become, and how Mia points out that her mother "would hate to see the cabin [like this]". 

From the moment the group enter the cabin, Mia complains of a smell. A smell that the rest of the group are oblivious to. The dog then starts sniffing around and catches a scent, coming from underneath a rug in the centre of the floor. David pulls the rug back, to reveal a trap door to the basement, along with streaks of blood. 

Once the basement door is opened, the gang gasp from the stench coming from below: a mixture of the scent of the rotting flesh of dead cats strung up in the basement, and "burnt hair".

Eric discovers a black, plastic bag, containing something which nobody wants to be seen, since it is wrapped in barbed wire. He cuts the barbed wire open, and discovers that it is a book. 

He stupidly reads a few words aloud, and releases the unthinkable.

Seriously? When you find a book, bound in human skin, with words written in blood, and disturbing images inside this book, with clearly written warnings to not read from the fucking thing, why on Earth, would you read it!? Okay, morbid curiosity, I guess, but still!

Mia is then wandering round in circles outside and sees a woman in the trees. It spooks the shit out of her, so she demands that they all get out of there. Everyone refuses, since she needs to kick her habit, and leaving will do her no good (ha!). She then leaves anyway, and ends up driving into water after trying to swerve out of the way of this woman whom she saw earlier.

Fast forward a little, and she is raped by trees. Thorny trees, no less. Ouch.

This was a good reference back to the original, in which the character of Cheryl, played by Ellen Sandweiss, is also raped by trees and is the first of the group to become possessed. And possibly as another slight reference, she is the main character: Ash's sister, in the original, which suggests that David, Mia's brother in this movie, will have a similar path to that of Ash's.

She comes back to the cabin, now possessed (albeit still in control of herself, for now), freaking out - naturally - but everyone assumes it is a combination of lying to get away from the cabin, and hysteria from going cold turkey. She then burns herself, badly, by standing in a shower which is spraying boiling hot water, and there is no chance of getting to a hospital since the road home is flooded.

This alerts Eric, since both the "tree-rape" and boiling water are things depicted in "the book". He knows that this isn't just Mia, desperate to go home, it's something worse.


Demonic Mia has awoken, and tells the others that they're "all going to die tonight" in the creepiest voice imaginable, before puking blood all over her nurse friend, Olivia. Olivia kicks her down into the basement and Eric slams the door shut, before confessing to David about the book.

Not long after, Olivia is then possessed, and proceeds to cut half of her face off with a shard of broken glass from the mirror. Eric goes to check up on her, and ends up being stabbed, with both broken glass and a hypodermic needle - which he then has to pull out of his face *shudder*. Olivia is not ready to give up however, so ends up having her skull caved in with part of the broken sink, by Eric (at which point, a horrified David walks in).

There is definitely no shortage of blood and gore so far, and being big gore fans, Allan and I have no complaints. The guy sitting next to Allan however, was hiding behind his hands (and jumping every few minutes) for the entirety of the movie.

Eventually, the only remaining "non-possessed" female in the group, Natalie, succumbs to the dark side, after being bitten in the hand by Mia, before Mia tells her to "kiss me you dirty cunt" after slicing her tongue open on a blade. Her arm is the first thing to show signs of being 'infected' by whatever it is that is taking over, so she cuts it off in an attempt to save herself, but this doesn't help her. 

The gasps and disgusted grunts from myself and the rest of the audience as her arm falls to the ground were so in sync. The filmmakers definitely went all out in trying to make this as gory, bloody and gruesome as possible, and they were oh so successful. 

This is later shown again when her other arm is blown off by shotgun-wielding David, in order to protect Eric from having his head shattered by Natalie's crowbar.

Eric tells David that he needs to kill Mia to end it all, and bring her peace, before they head outside to the car.

David quickly builds something, although at this point, you have no idea what the hell it is, or at least, I didn't, before he heads back inside the cabin. A struggle with Mia is ended by Eric saving the day, by knocking her to the ground to protect David, before telling him that he missed him (in the years they'd not seen each other), and then dies due to his wounds. 

David then takes Mia outside to lay her to rest, and buries her alive, since that is one of the three ways shown in the book that will bring peace (the other two being dismemberment and being set on fire).

We then discover that the thing David built was a defibrillator, which he uses to bring Mia back to life after she dies, sending the demon out of her body. 

All is done, and five souls were not possessed (which is required to make it rain blood, and bring another being to life). 

Or so we think.

A now-possessed Eric then attacks David, bringing the soul count up to it's final number of five, before David locks Mia out of the cabin, and shoots a can of gasoline (which he had been using earlier, as he'd originally planned to burn the cabin down) to sacrifice himself to save his sister.

Mia looks down to see the necklace her brother had given her at the start, and picks it up, sobbing. I was welling up too, as that would be the last memory of her brother. A drop of blood comes down from the sky, landing in the centre of the necklace, before a million other drops rain from the sky, awakening the demon underneath. A hand pops out of the ground, grabbing Mia's ankle, and after a struggle and some gruesome blade on skin moments that I (and the rest of the audience) could just feel, Mia grabs a chainsaw (which we actually caught a glimpse of earlier in the movie), gets her hand crushed under a car (then pulls her arm from, leaving nothing but a stump) and soon becomes victorious for the final time against the evil, with an awesome line to boot:

Demon: "I'm going to feast on your soul"
Mia: "Feast on this, motherfucker"

Driving the chainsaw through the demons face, and slicing it right down the middle, showing us that our thoughts of David being the "Ash" of this series was completely wrong, and that Mia is our new Ash.

Brilliant ending to a completely brilliant movie.

I loved seeing all the references to the original movies (as this one splices many of the things from The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II together), such as: 

- The group of five (3 female, 2 male) at the cabin.
- The Oldsmobile.
- The way the camera moves through the trees.
- The use of both Cheryl and the Professor's voices from the original.
- The chainsaw.
- Being bit in the hand, and it becoming possessed (happened to Natalie in this, and Ash in Evil Dead II).
- Main character losing their hand.

All in, it's a must see, and it's just as good as the original (but both in their own way), with clear reference back to the original, but with a whole new twist. The darkness of the movie was fantastic, and the score complemented it massively. You must must must wait behind till the end of the credits to catch a "Groovy" glimpse of Ash, since that's the only downside of this movie - the lack of Bruce Campbell as Ash!

Jane Levy was absolutely outstanding in her performance, being very convincing as both the normal, human version of Mia, and the crazy, demonic side too.

And, Director Fede Alvarez did a great job, especially as we all know how remakes tend to work out! He definitely did the movie justice, and I really hope he stays on board for the next one.

We rate this movie 9.5/10.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments below :)


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