The Evil Dead from 1981 is one of the most beloved horror films of all time. It’s become a cult classic, along with its sequels. It made Bruce Campbell a horror household name. I remember the first time I saw it and I didn’t think I’d eat for weeks. It is one of the most disgusting films I’ve ever seen and it defines the slasher genre of horror. The remake, Evil Dead, released to decent reviews and audiences flocked to theaters to see it. Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi served as producers of this film, thank god, and the remake managed to not trash its original. Evil Dead is definitely a tribute to its creator, and a great one at that, but it could never bring the magic of the original. Try as it may, there will never be another The Evil Dead, no matter how much money studios throw at the project.
Evil Dead has the same premise of the original. A group of teens head to a cabin for a weekend and unknowingly release demons. These demons possess each of the teens, turning them into batshit crazy killers. One reason why I loved the original was because the group of teens was just a happy-go-lucky crew hanging out for the weekend. They didn’t have sex, they didn’t do drugs, they just hung around and enjoyed each other’s company. There was no drama, just eventual blood and guts. It was refreshing and allowed the viewer to focus only on its slasher qualities and not be caught up in some silly character story line. This remake, however, went a different route. There are no happy-go-lucky youngsters on this cabin vacation. They’re actually there for a drug intervention for Mia and the weekend in the cabin is to be full of her detox. There’s a lot of side drama between Mia and her brother and also Mia’s friends and the brother. Too. Much. Drama. This is supposed to be a slasher - nothing more. I missed that quality from the original. The drama between the characters is distracting and silly. I don’t even remember the characters’ names from the original and that’s a good thing. I remember only the gore, gore, gore.
There are a lot of tiny tributes throughout this film and I definitely appreciated that. But the added character drama and subplots detracted from the pure slasher aspect and this remake simply doesn’t compare to the original. There is a lot of violence and gore, but it’s not used in the same way. To be fair, remaking The Evil Dead is a lost cause, just like remaking Psycho. The Evil Dead was a perfect storm of low-budget 1980s graphics, zero story line and tons of blood used in the most horrific way. This remake, backed by millions of dollars, simply can’t recreate that perfect storm. No amount of money, great writing, or buckets of blood can recreate the magic the original film brought to the screen. This remake used an excessive amount of fake blood, far more than the original, but as a viewer, I felt like there was less blood. This is a testament to how well Sam Raimi used blood in the first.
Overall, Evil Dead was a fun flick. But it is not, and will never be, The Evil Dead. Even with Sam Raimi producing, this film can never reach the greatness of the original. This film is proof that all the money in the world doesn’t make a great horror film. I enjoyed watching it, but I ate right after. And that, is a damn shame.
If you liked Evil Dead, you might also like The Evil Dead, The Conjuring and The Exorcist.