I am not a movie buff. I watch plenty of movies and typically come up with serious opinions on them, but they are rarely a major part of my entertainment budget especially when compared to books and games. As a perk of my job at a movie theatre, I get to see movies for free. After my shift ended tonight, I decided to go watch the newly released Evil Dead.
Again, I am no movie buff, but I do love a lot of Sam Raimi’s work, including Evil Dead 1, 2, and Army of Darkness. I was too scared as a kid to be a big horror movie buff (Are You Afraid of the Dark freaked me out), so I only watched these movies because of Bruce Campbell. You see, when I was growing up, I absolutely loved watching Hercules and Xena every week. There was plenty of action and humor, but more importantly, lots of Greek mythology which I adored. Bruce Campbell often portrayed Autolycus, King of Thieves, on both shows, and I fell in love with his mix of humor, action, and smarmy bravado. That love took me to Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness specifically, but it also meant a good chuckle to myself as I recognized Bruce’s cameos in most of Raimi’s recent movies.
After getting older and meeting friends who were big Horror aficionados, I lost most of my ‘fear’ of the genre, and began to appreciate it. I won’t say it’s one of my favorites, but a horror movie that I consider good is often leaps and bounds above non-horror movies I consider good. There’s a simple reason for that: a good horror movie reaches deep within you and twists your heart, beats the air out of your stomach, and leaves you utterly effected. Few movies do something like that.
Let me state clearly for the record that I love Evil Dead 2. It’s just a fun movie, filled with great gore, humor, action, and suspense. The Evil Dead remake I saw an hour ago? It’s not love, but I am not unhappy either.
First, the humor is mostly gone. I think this is a big plus, not because the humor in the first wasn’t great, but because it owed so much to Campbell’s performance. There are definitely parts in the remake that will make you laugh, just don’t expect possessed deer heads to start laughing. Second, a lot of reviews billed this movie as a ‘torture porn’ type horror film, but I didn’t get that feeling at all. Yes, there is dismemberment and the like, but I didn’t feel the camera ever lingered so long that it felt like it was crossing any imaginary line. If you want a bloody, gorey night at the movies, you won’t go wrong here.
More than that, there are certainly points to enjoy. I actually really enjoyed the movies overall conceit. Here, the cabin is a family vacation home of sorts and the place where a bunch of twenty-somethings decide to stage an intervention for one member of the group whose drug addiction nearly cost her life. It’s a nice departure from ‘kids need a place to party’ and really helps heightened the serious despair of the movie. The two central characters throughout are an estranged brother and sister, which also helps give a little more emotional weight than you might otherwise expect. That’s not to say that this is an acting masterpiece, however, but there are no outstandingly bad players.
All in all, I am really glad to have seen it. The script has some definite nods to the original two, which help remind me why I still love them. I won’t go as far as to recommend it to people, but I don’t think you’ll find it nearly as disappointing as you might of otherwise expected. Thankfully, it doesn’t directly setup a sequel, but I would be curious to see Raimi let the two series meet, as I read in a recent rumor. I don’t expect the results from such a meeting to good, but I think the idea might be a lot of fun.