starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas
screenplay by Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, based on the screenplay by Sam Raimi
directed by Fede Alvarez
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. The greatest irony of Fede Alvarez's otherwise laudably straightforward reboot of Sam Raimi's Spam-in-a-cabin classic The Evil Dead is that the moments where it references its primogenitor are actually the movie's weakest. I'm thinking, in particular, of handsome young hero David (Shiloh Fernandez) getting thrown around a wet cellar in high Raimi smash-zoom style, which only underscores how much the original films drew their tone from Bruce Campbell--and how much this new one misses him. The danger of casting a group of beautiful people and taking itself deadly seriously (and jettisoning the "The," in a gesture that reads as hipster insouciance) is that Evil Dead might draw closer to the mainstream and farther from its grindhouse roots. The small miracle of it, then, is that in both its absolute glee in finding the line of how much gore to show and then crossing it (a pair of glasses stop a hypodermic needle...but only for a moment) and its surprising efforts at locating a deeper thread in a frayed brother/sister relationship and the impact of drug addiction, Alvarez's film is a solid, even affecting genre piece that allows for an abundance of memorable money shots. Compare its intelligence and earnestness, its infernal energy, against the disrespectfulness and self-satisfaction of The Cabin in the Woods to see that Evil Dead is not just a taste of the old religion, it's really pretty great.