It’s an unspoken rule in Hollywood that horror remakes are never good. Just look at “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” to see how once great horror icons can get butchered by remakes.
Thankfully, fans of the cult horror trilogy “Evil Dead” can rest easy: the franchise is in good hands. Thanks to up-and-coming director Fede Alvarez, the new “Evil Dead” is a loving tribute to its predecessors while updating the story and scares for a modern audience.
Like the 1981 original, “Evil Dead” follows a group of teenagers going to an isolated cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway. While there they find an ancient book that, when read from, summons evil spirits that turn them into demonic creatures.
The original had cult actor Bruce Campbell, but this one finds recovering drug addict Mia (Jane Levy) and her friends and family out in the woods. The drug addiction gives the film a new direction from the original, allowing Mia’s friends to wonder if she’s suffering from withdrawal or actually possessed.
Unlike most horror remakes, this film does more than just throw huge amounts of gore at the audience. A dark atmosphere and tons of suspense make the whole affair scarier than your average modern-day horror film, and the story is well-developed enough to draw you into the picture. With that said, there’s still huge amounts of gore, so it’s hard to recommend this for the easily squeamish.
The strength of the story and the suspenseful tone help balance out the overly gory parts, and create a film that is at once a fantastic homage to the original while also being its own entity. Long-time fans will enjoy the references to the old films, especially an after-credits scene, but newcomers can still get into it and enjoy the genuine scares and gore. Thanks to a smart story and loads of suspense, the new “Evil Dead” is easily the best horror remake in a long time, and one of the best horror films in recent memory.