Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — As much as I try not to fall into the label any particular group of films as avoidable before they leap out of the gate, I continue to struggle to this day to waste an hour or more on almost anything recently categorized as horror. This is even taking into account my occasional guilty pleasure of self-torture through B Movies and even then this is usually only possible when I treat every one of them as a punch line.
This was certainly the case when I finally picked up a remake of something that I could barely giggle my way through as an original (the series was only truly awesome when it got to “Army of Darkness”) and was out of respect to a god among B actors. I’m not sure I would necessarily recommend this one either to most people, certainly those young enough to seriously be scarred by the adult content, but for those who thrive on it, it’s actually a tolerable update of the agony. “Evil Dead” doesn’t so much improve on quality of plot, acting, script or even dialogue, but for some reason the cheese is a little more fun with more modern cinematic technology behind the graphics.
In true remake/reboot fashion, many of the elements in the story remain the same, although it seems there was also a slight intent to have this also act as a partial sequel. The biggest changes seems to be the names of the characters and instead of a spring break retreat like the first time around, it is instead a hastily slapped together cold turkey drug rehab for a girl named Mia Allen (Jane Levy).
Not really prepared like an actual medical facility would be, but determined to stick it out anyway, her friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) along with her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) feel this sort of isolation is the only way to save her from a habit that nearly ended her life. Unfortunately for these misguided heroes, the cabin they chose seems to have a rather diabolical vibe attached to it and after dimwitted Eric decides to do some reading from a certain human skin covered book, things literally go to hell in a hand-basket. Cue the good old horror clichés from foul mouthed demon possessions to enough blood/guts to fill a serial killer’s swimming pool at least nine times over and you either split your sides laughing or wish you had croaked along with each of the leads.
Despite the been there done that formula, one is admittedly pulled in and is at least something you can have fun heckling like you were a cast member of “Mystery Science Theater 3,000.” There are plenty of decent shout outs to the original franchise, including Sam Raimi’s car, a bit of the wardrobe and some of that humor that launched Bruce Campbell’s career.
It’s another one of those moments I’ll never repeat in order to save more brain damage for another day, but just in case it plays into the future of the series I’ll at least be caught up. I mean something had to fill the gap until the supposed “Army of Darkness II” comes out some day. After the last ounce of red food coloring was spilled I’d say “Evil Dead” earned a predicable two out of five groovys.
DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.