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Midst Bruce Campbell’s hamming it up on stage, New York Comic Con this weekend got a
surprising, fantastic look at Fede Alvarez’s remake of Sam Raimi’s classic,
When I say Campbell was being his normal, showman self,
there’s no exaggeration. The actual substance of the panel ended up little more
than the original EVIL DEAD star showing off and using such posturing as
ringing endorsement for Alavrez’s vision. While the director and star Jane Levy
barely got in a word, the exclusive trailer spoke for itself.
The clip started off overly familiar, especially in the wake
of something like CABIN IN THE WOODS. Many are still dismayed at the fact EVIL
DEAD has now been remade, but in reality, it’s totally unsurprising. What’s
more interesting than the concept of simply being angry at remaking the film is
that EVIL DEAD and its panel partner CARRIE are now myth. The films are
endlessly referenced in mainstream cultural lexicon and folks who’ve never read
or seen CARRIE know exactly what Pig’s Blood is for, and have at least heard
the name EVIL DEAD.
So, what could Fede Alvarez find invigorating and fresh in
remaking EVIL DEAD, an influential film that’s spawned two sequels, and whose
visual flare and imagination is forever imitated? Well, in his best moment on
stage, he told the audience “If you’re a young filmmaker and Sam Raimi asks you
that [to remake EVIL DEAD], you don’t go, ‘No thank you. I don’t believe in
But it seems his approach is total departure from what EVIL
DEAD has become synonymous with, which is the splatstick of EVIL DEAD 2 and
ARMY OF DARKNESS, and Ash. It’s both a
departure and a return to the form of Raimi’s nasty, unnerving original. The
tree rape may be outlandish. It’s still rape.
EVIL DEAD 2013 looks to be not the least bit funny. In fact,
when the trailer moved past the threat of the amber grime of an early 2000s
horror retread, it ascended to a visually exciting, gory as shit piece of
madness. There are certainly callbacks and story beats from the ’81 film—cellar
deadite, tree rape, the Necronomicon, even the kinetic movement through the
forest—but Alvarez looks to have really grabbed the reins and made it his own.
The forest surrounding the cabin seems wholly disorienting, while the
happenings inside were jolting and hyper-violent. Self-mutilation, puss, boils,
chainsaws, a very painful-looking branch wrapping itself around an arm and what
really sent the audience over the edge: an already-deadite lustfully licking a
knife as it splits her tongue in two.
EVIL DEAD looks intense, fucking gross and has what seems
to be missing from most remakes: effort and vision. Hopefully, it lives up this April 12.
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