I’m of mixed feelings on the Evil Dead remake. After receiving several positive reviews in the lead up to the film’s release, the movie has just opened in the number one spot at the box office with $26 million. Not too shabby for a movie with a budget of $17 million although it wasn’t the highest opening for a horror movie this year, that is still reserved for Mama. But all the praise has dropped down a little. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is now at 65% instead of the 80% plus it had earlier in the week and the Metacritic score is 58 out of 100. And while it currently has a IMDb rating of 7.5 out of 10 the Cinemascore is a -C which isn’t a good thing.
I have a strong dislike of remakes. There is seldom a reason for them other than an easy buck for Hollywood. They have a built in audience and it’s easier to market the film. The original Evil Dead from 1981 is a masterpiece. Shot an low, low budget of $350, 000, the film went on to make $2,400,000 in it’s initial box office run. I can’t bring myself to bother watching the remake but I did recently re-watched the original film, having seen it several times before. Yet the 1987 sequel always seems to overshadow the film, it’s the movie that everybody seems to remember better.
The movie starts off like a cheap amateurish student film. Five friends are driving out to a cabin in the woods. The cheese factor is high in the car scene and the acting is atrocious. You have to wonder why are you even watching this film. They soon arrive at the cabin and discover the Naturon Demonto, the Book of the Dead in the basement along with a tape recorder. The group of friends play the tape recorder and discover that an archaeologist has discovered the book in a dig and is translating the various incantations on the tape. This awakens an evil in the woods and Ash’s (Bruce Campbell) sister becomes the first victim. From there the film runs on a mad sort of energy. The camera work, the cheap but effective gore effects and the concluding stop-motion all work in the film’s favour creating something more than another cheap slasher flick.
The original film started the career of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, along with giving future filmmaker Joel Coen his first work as an assistant editor. It launched a successful cult franchise and influenced a generation of filmmakers. The remake has managed to make the producers some money and nothing more.