Evil Dead lops off limbs, severs fingers and even cuts out Ash, the much-loved hero of Sam Raimi’s original Deadite trilogy. But the real surprise is it amputated the ‘The’.
Don’t modern audiences do definite articles? Or did the 2013 Evil Dead just want to stand on its own two bloody stumps?
Made in 1981, Raimi’s lo-fi indie The Evil Deadbecame king of the video nasties, making more court appearances than Lindsay Lohan.
It baited the tabloids and changed horror cinema. Shot on digital, Uruguayan writer/director Fede Alvarez’s reboot uses old-school practical effects (25,000 litres of blood, 300 litres of vomit), albeit more for nostalgia than necessity.
It’s slick, sick studio product that atones for its lame new set-up – a heroin heroine (Jane Levy) going cold turkey – with refreshingly unsanitised sadism.
“This is balls to the wall horror,” explains soft-spoken Alvarez in the workmanlike behind-the-scenes featurettes accompanying a busy cast and crew chat track (which sadly doesn’t include producers/Evil Deadveterans Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell).
“People would say, ‘is it too much blood?’ but on a movie like Evil Dead, nothing is too much.” That quote would look great on a T-shirt, but in the context of the movie, it rings a bit hollow.
Revving the chainsaw for his blood-in-the-rain- machine finale, Alvarez arguably tops the original’s splatter.
But this can never be the real The Evil Dead, the revolutionary DIY indie that defined an era 30-odd years ago and still retains its mad majesty.
It can be bigger, louder, bloodier... but not better.