Evil Dead 
Director: Fede Alvarez
Screenplay: Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, Sam Raimi (1981 screenplay)
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Running Time: 91 minutes
Evil Dead is a horror film that means business. After a brief prologue set in the past, the film wastes no time diving headfirst into pure, unadulterated horror.
This reboot/remake takes the premise of Sam Raimi’s 1981 original film and kicks it up several notches. Once again, five friends are getting together for a weekend vacation in an old cabin in the woods. David (Shiloh Fernandez), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) have arranged this little trip as an effort to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her drug addiction. Within minutes of arriving, they discover a hidden door on the floor of one of the bedrooms. Downstairs in this room are dead, rotting cats hanging from the ceiling and bound in barbed wire. There’s also a burned corpse. Oh, and a book known as the Naturom Demonto. You may have heard of it.
Eric, ever so foolish, reads a short passage from this book aloud, awakening an evil supernatural force that begins haunting Mia. It doesn’t take long for the evil to spread to others in the group, causing a wild, bloody and gory affair.
Oh, the gore. This film is not for the weak of heart. Skin is pulled in unfathomable directions, limbs are tossed aside like cigarette butts, and blood sprays everywhere. I usually have a strong stomach for this type of stuff, but I had to look away on more than one occasion. This is a gruesome, violent movie, and it’s bound to disgust those not suited to this style of horror.
For fans of the genre, though, Evil Dead is a real treat. Despite lacking a strong central figure like the original’s Bruce Campbell, the cast is solid enough to make the film work. None of the performances are exceptional, but Jane Levy does stand out with her well-played transitions from evil to innocent.
The real highlights in Evil Dead come from the makeup and special effects. The film is essentially CGI-free, and it is all the better for it. The attention to detail with the blood and gore is a thing of sick, sick beauty. Again, I cannot stress enough that this is not for the weak of heart.
Evil Dead is a rare remake that gets it right. It’s extremely doubtful that it will obtain the same type of cult following that Sam Raimi’s film has achieved over the years, but it’s still strong enough to stand on its own. For that alone, Evil Dead can be considered a success.