Sunday, April 7, 2013

EVIL DEAD: Tasteless Gore, Tastefully Done

Dexter Morgan and I have something in common.We were both at one point took in quite a bit of gore as a child. Fortunately, mine was on the silver screen. One of my favorite past times as an N' Sync hating movie-sponge? Watching Bruce Campbell overact through a demonic funhouse. It was ridiculous and gross and FUN.

It's my Disney. It's my Muppets. It's Evil Dead.

To paint a picture of this film is to explain the wildly debatable reviews that are already out there. What other films bolster a 65% satisfaction rating AND have critics walking out of the screening they are in? I was simultaneously told by an exiting audience before my show that it was "Awesome"and "a piece of shit."

I was obviously about to see something more than a cheap, fun horror flick...

Mia (Jane Levy) is a heroine addict. But she has friends,and those friends decide to take her to a remote cabin to detox under the care of nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas), high school teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), brother David (Shiloh Fernandez)and David's girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore).

This cabin in the woods ain't smiling...

When Eric locates an ancient book and fearlessly starts to decipher the contents, things get a little hellish. And by a little, I mean a lot.

Anarchy sets in when Mia has a rather wince-heavy interaction in the woods and explains to her brother that the cabin is now the playground for some very masochistic demons.

The following hundred or so minutes is where the debate of the film lies: is it grotesque, Saw-level gore? Pain for the sake of pain? Is this Hostel?


Fede Alvarez and Sam Raimi take the colors of shallow brutal films and paint a masterpiece. Limbs are removed, skin is pierced and slashed and removed. But it isn't happening for you. It's happening because hell is consuming reality. It is necessary evil.

Evil Dead can best described as the gorefest for adults. Saw isn't subtle. Hostel is too lazy. Evil Dead doesn't just lay out the pain and wipe its hands clean. It pushes you through uncontrollable fear, twists you through experiences you almost can't stand,and gives you a heroine that is as surprisingly good as she is surprising.

Levy deserves a great deal of credit for the human depth of Evil Dead, as well as for a chilling performance that will inch it's way into the history books.

As Mia is taken from humanity, suffers possession and reaches the height of her potential, Levy makes us feel everything from fear to morbid amusement to "f*** yeah!" cheerleading.

Evil Dead may not be your cup of tea, but it's worth trying. For a remake, the film does a great deal to redefine what a gory movie can still be, and reminds us that horror isn't an artless genre.

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