Thursday, April 4, 2013

Everything Evil and Dead Are Scary Again

When Sam Raimi announced he was going to make a new Evil Dead movie, there was the fear that it wouldn't live up to the three previous ones. For one thing, no Bruce Campbell.

The new Evil Dead was unspooled to some preview audiences in Northern California, including one at the Downtown Plaza in Sacramento a couple of days ago. True, there was some laughter, but mostly the nervous kind. The crowd was very impressed with how nasty the nightmare became, flowing in blood and fear. Sure, there were some nasty scenes that would have been seen recently on True Blood or even Grimm. Then there's some really nasty stuff that led to people seeing the movie with their eyes nearly covered.

The biggest reason to check this out, though, is Jane Levy. Yeah, the red-headed teen from Suburgatory who acts as if the suburbs can be a living Hell. Well, it's not compared to a cabin in the woods where the ultimate in demons sleeps until someone's curiosity wakes it up.

Mia (Levy) is at the cabin with her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), and friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and (Elizabeth Blackmore). It's part vacation, but mostly an intervention for Mia, who nearly died from a heroin overdose.
Things get into high gear when Mia tries to run away after she hits withdrawl, while Eric finds a book wrapped in barbed wire. Kind of suggests a package that shouldn't be opened at any Christmas. Of course, he does open the book, and reads the words that awakens the evil demon within. Mia, meanwhile, crahes into the water, and sees...something. It leads to her, as those who saw the original know, being trapped by the branches of an very scary tree.

Slowly, things get out of control when Mia acts strangely. The sight of her very scared face, whispering that she wants to leave, is something you don't forget. It's passed off as part of her withdrawl, until she tells her friends in a possessed voice that they're doomed. Fede Alvarez, who also co-wrote the script, keeps things very tense as he builds suspense and starts the blood flowing from everywhere and everyone. This script makes you laugh at what you see, then cringe when you realize what you just saw. It's best to say you have to see it for yourself, but it's major-league gore the old-fashioned way.

It's also creepy when Mia and her friends become Deadites, and become either more horrible, especially after what they do to their bodies. Levy is the most impressive of all, when she goes from a junkie trying to kick her heroin habit to a creature that has an even worse urge. What will also surprise you is what happens when they try to kill her to defeat the demon, and that's not a spoiler.

There was a fear that The Cabin In The Woods could have affected the response to the new Evil Dead movie.
Just like in CITW, you have five victims, doomed to die. Despite that, Evil Dead has a lot going for it. Aside from the gore, it has a good backstory involving Mia. However, nothing much is said about Eric and how he can make sense of the evil book. We know he's a teacher, but how did he figure it out? David resists the truth because he doesn't want to lose his sister, even if it has to be done to stop the evil. Let's say there's also some personal guilt.

This Evil Dead for the 21st Century lives up to the original tradition, especially thanks to Levy. Check it out!

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