Feb 19 2013
To be honest, guys, I’m really not a gorehound. I shy away from the movies that aim to scare/shock their audiences with elaborate, imaginative displays of things happening to the human body that really, really shouldn’t.
That said, I can totally understand the buzz building behind the upcoming release of The Evil Dead. The trailer looks energetic and imaginative, taking tired horror tropes and cranking the volume up to earsplitting levels. Plus the director has gone on record as saying there is NO CG enhancement to any of the gnarly gags for the entire movie. Cool!
With all that energy, innovation, and buzz, why the hell does this thing have to be a remake?
Many, many people have written many, many words on the alarming state of novel ideas in “Hollywood” (for lack of a better term). If you hit this link, you’ll see that a mere five of the top twenty movies from last year are original properties. So, yeah, it’s an issue. It’s an issue that’s been talked to death, but it’s still an issue.
What bugs me about this remake of The Evil Dead is that I don’t even understand why it has to be a remake. Like, what market are they capturing by using it as a springboard for this new movie? Fans of the original?
Raimi’s The Evil Dead, for all its fame, is a cult classic, which means that the people who love that movie are the kinds of people who seek out great horror films all the time. Were they captured by the original’s iconic brand or franchise history? NO. They were captured by its edgy tone, its filmmaking bravado, and its basic entertainment value. Traits that this “reboot” seems to share with its predecessor.
Here’s the other thing about The Evil Dead: It’s a genre icon. Not an icon in the sense that, say, the ‘89 Batman was. That movie was a bold new look at a character with an established history. It’s not an issue for someone like Nolan to come in and do his own thing with the material when the property runs itself into the ground. Same deal with the reboot (remake?) of Raimi’s Spider-man trilogy. That one’s a dumb move, but not really an issue past that.
This really is like, the most insulting tagline of 2012.
No, The Evil Dead is an icon solely because of two men: Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Campbell was the charmer; playing Ash with a mix of comedy and bravado that few have been able to replicate. Raimi was the magician, cramming crazy horror, medieval action, brilliant camera work and memorable sound design into three films that together cost about the same as the recent period drama A Dangerous Method.
The result: Evil Dead II has more entertainment per square dollar than just about any movie ever. Army of Darkness is one of the great horror-flavored comedies. And the movie that started it all is the class text for low-budget filmmaking.
Just don’t study in groups.
You know what was awesome about their take on horror? Well, yeah, all of the above. But more than that, it felt fresh. It felt dangerous. The Evil Dead was a movie that seemed at once immediately familiar and brand spanking new.
And here’s the frustrating thing: This new Evil Dead looks like it might be that too. If nothing else, they’re trying their guts out to make it great. Yet, it’s saddled with the inexplicable burden of being a “reboot” of a thirty-year old indie super-success. Doesn’t remaking The Evil Dead sort of take away the rebellious spirit of the project from the get-go?
But then, as I ask that question, I have to admit that I’m sitting here, writing an article about the movie, specifically because it’s a remake. I’m probably not even going to see it, and I’m talking about it.
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