Wow, I was definitely surprised how good this film turned out. I'm not calling it the holy grail or anything, I just thought it was much better than most horror movie remakes these days and that's saying something. But to be honest, it felt like more of a sequel than an all-out re-do of the Evil Dead series. There is more to it though: like character development, more mystery behind the deadites, and scenes that are just as intense and bloody as the original.
The Story: Two friends decide to help drug addict Mia by sending her out on a cabin the woods, instead of rehab, fighting her addiction. Along with Mia's estranged brother David and his girlfriend, the group soon experiences strange supernatural occurrences that seem to grow rapidly. Unfortunately for the group, there seems to be an evil entity grasping their inner souls and preventing them from leaving the woods for good.....
What I really liked about this movie is that the characters are not idiotic assholes and they just don't go in the cabin in the woods to party and have fun. What they're trying to do is to help a friend beat her drug addiction. In a sense, that makes the characters more grounded and mature. The acting was also top-notch, the strongest one of the cast being Jane Levy.
Jane Levy plays Mia, a trouble young heroin addict, trying to cope with her mother's death and also trying to reconnect with her estranged brother, David.
She is the equivalent of Cheryl in the original but as it turns out (spoiler alert! Guys please watch this movie so I won't spoil it for you), she becomes a female Ash, chainsaw hand and all. One of the changes that was made with this is the sibling relationship with Ash and Cheryl i.e. David and Mia. You never really a see that caring sibling relationship with these two characters in the original, it almost seems as if Ash was annoyed by Cheryl, including his friends. In this you actually see how distant they are from each other at first but soon grow to love and protect each other once all hell breaks loose. That's one of the strongest aspects that I like from this version and adds much more to the story.
I have to say Mia is a badass! Here's a woman who's overcoming family heartaches, drug addiction, and even demonic possession, coming out on top either way. She is definitely a character to root for, cause when she triumphs, it's pretty much epic. Even a rain of blood falls on this girl to reward her success.
Jane Levy is just awesome in this. If anybody could win an Oscar for best horror performance, she would be it. Even Bruce Campbell would approve.
The hot and sexy Shiloh Fernandez plays Mia's brother David, the equivalent to Ash. He's come to make amends with his friends including his sister when he left everybody behind to leave for Chicago. Which contrast to him tying in vain to save everybody. You would think he turn out to be this pseudo-Ash type be he eventually passes the torch to Mia when sacrifices himself to stop the evil entity. Like I said, the brother-sister relationship is actually genuine and makes the character of David much more noble. Shiloh Fernandez pulls off an intense performance and is very, very, sexy to boot.
Then we have Lou Pucci Taylor as Scott, the typical snarky, opinionated hipster who is not too happy to see his former friend David, tagging along.
He is the one who uncovers the necronomicon. Even though it says do not read book with barb wire covered on it, he takes a look anyway. This doesn't make his character dumb, just curious. It's just like when your parents tell you to not see an R-rated movie but you do anyway if that makes sense. Once shit hits the fan, Scotty gets put into the ringer really BAD! I mean this guy literally takes a beating and soon enough succumbs to his wounds. Scotty was a bit more tolerable in this than in the original. The Scotty in this version is not entirely likeable but the movie does make you feel sorry for him once bad stuff happens to him. Scott in the original, however, was an obnoxious, self-righteous, annoying, whiny, insufferable jerkass. But I'll leave that for another review.
There really wasn't much to the character of Shelly other than being the typical hysterical woman. So Olivia played by Jessica Lucas, who's the responsible leader type who tries unquestionable methods to help a friend. Like taking Mia out in the middle of the nowhere woods to overcome her drug addiction instead of rehab. Keep in mind that Olivia is only a nurse and not a licensed doctor.There times where she can be controlling and in spite of herself to the where I think that's her only character trait. Even though I don't care for her acting, Jessica Lucas did do a good enough performance for what she is given.
Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie was "meh". She's the equivalent of Linda, who wasn't much of a character either. She is David's girlfriend and that's pretty much all I have to say about her. She's blond, She's pretty, She's nice, She's bland. The actress's performance was average at best, not putting much to the role.
Woah doggy! The blood and gore is just as insane as it was in the original. At first, I was expecting CGI blood since horror filmmakers are too lazy to use real fake blood but I was pleasantly surprised. The blood and gore scenes are quite cringeworthy and effective, making you squirm with delight.
The makeup on the deadites were kind of cool and inventive, giving them grayish skin and golden demonic eyes to have the menacing factor up high along their animalistic nature.
Of course with the directing, there is CGI in this but it's not overwhelming or distracting and in some scenes it actually works like the Re-do of the tree attack scene.
There was actually effort put into this cause you can tell the director was fan of the series, putting his love and passion into it. Heck, Sam Rami and Bruce Campbell were the producers. Maybe Platinum Dunes could learn or thing or two. Although it's not the best of the series, I did enjoy the movie for what it is. Double double points for the badass final girl. Mia is definitely on my list. Overall, awesome remake.
The Verdict? both films are great with incredible special effects, good story, and definitely good directing.
My Last Word: Yes! Watch It!