'Evil Dead' reboot ditches laughs for gore
That lesson was alluded to in a previous installment of the "Evil Dead" franchise, but it really hits home in the new "Evil Dead," a remake or reboot or whatever you want to call it of Sam Raimi's 1981 horror-goofball classic.
The duct tape is needed in the blizzard of dismemberments and gougings that occur with intense regularity in this movie. The tape actually does the job pretty well, but somebody should've thought of duct-taping shut the ancient book of occult incantations that sets off all the mayhem.
But there'd be no "Evil Dead" without young people going to a cabin in the woods and doing stupid things like opening ancient occult books (and reading the incantations aloud, which, by the way, the instructions specifically say not to do).
Before you know it, our five travelers are dealing with rising demons and bodily possession.
The opening sequence, in which all the character traits are spelled out in the first sentences of dialogue, pretty much signals how this is going to go. But unlike the original "Evil Dead" pictures, there's not much actual fun to be had in watching this horror play out.
Except for the game Lou Taylor Pucci in the "nerd" role, the other actors, led by Shiloh Fernandez and Jane Levy, don't leave much of an impression. They're overwhelmed by the straight-faced, ultraviolent approach from director Fede Alvarez.
Alvarez ditches campy humor, which is always lapping around the edges of Raimi's stuff (Raimi is a producer here, along with "Dead" icon Bruce Campbell). Instead, the remake goes for relentless violence to the human body, a gore-soaked style that makes you wish for a little campy humor.
The problem is, Raimi's '81 film was already self-conscious about sending up some of the cliches of movies about teens in cabins in the woods -- and that was when the slasher-movie craze was just starting. After 2011's "Cabin in the Woods," there is not much left to wring out of this blood-soaked rag.
For the record, the movie's competent in pursuing its scares, and it will surely exhaust many members of this weekend's opening crowd. They may find themselves wondering why they needed to sit through this experience. But if you do sit through this experience, stick around for a brief reward after the end credits. By then, you'll need it.
"Evil Dead" (2 stars)
A reboot for Sam Raimi's 1981 horror-goofball classic, about young people going to a cabin in the woods and foolishly reading an occult manuscript out loud. There's none of Raimi's sense of fun in Fede Alvarez's gore-soaked remake, but there's a lot of stupid behavior and a rash of dismemberments.
Rated: R for violence, language, subject matter.
Showing: Alderwood Mall, Everett, Galaxy Monroe, Marsyville, Stanwood, Meridian, Varsity, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.
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