SXSW FILM 2013
By Dirk Sonniksen | March 9, 2013
Director: Fede Alvarez
Writer(s): Fede Alvarez (screenplay), Diablo Cody (screenplay), Sam Raimi (1981 screenplay), Rodo Sayagues Mendez (screenplay as Rodo Sayagues)
Starring: Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore
Who would have thought heroin detox would take a backseat to anything! But alas, it is so. Mia (Jane Levy) is a junkie and her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and three friends venture to the creepiest family cabin ever to get Mia off the smack. What they don’t know, but will soon come to realize, is that a heapin’ helpin’ of witchcraft is lurking in the basement! What happens next? The good news is that Mia apparently kicks her drug habit. The bad news is she becomes possessed by some crazy demon and everyone starts dying horrible deaths. It’s a tradeoff of sorts.
The reimagining of Evil Dead is like having electroshock therapy over and over for an hour and a half, only ten minutes in, you realize you really like electroshock therapy. It’s a ride that doesn’t stop long enough for the audience to catch their breath, and no matter how goofy you may find the premise of Evil Dead, you just keep watching, and your friends continue to laugh as you jump out of your seat repeatedly.
The cast of Evil Dead are kids basically (at least to me), and they’re great. I can’t think of five people I’d rather see die horribly, and to paraphrase a line in Paths of Glory: they died brilliantly. Indeed, there is something to be said for actors that can so convincingly be impaled on objects, shot, stabbed, buried alive, electrocuted, chainsawed, and when screaming in agony was needed, the cast pulled out all the stops. My overall favorite was Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric as he had the best one-liners and received the most life-threatening wounds while maintaining a hearty attitude.
The Evil Dead remake proves that you can take a cult classic and make it better. It’s slick cinematography that raises the bar for horror films with a script that has one purpose — to scare the hell out of you — and it succeeds. I almost passed on Evil Dead, but I’m glad I took the plunge, as it will likely be one of my favorites of SXSW. Evil Dead was a horror-tastic bloodbath, and while I will likely have nightmares for months — overall I’m a better man for seeing it.