Few 80s horrors have escaped the unflinching gaze of the ruthless Hollywood remake machine. But some thought The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi’s scrappy, much-loved debut, too sacred a cow to receive such treatment –especially since Raimi effectively remade it himself six years later with Evil Dead II. And yet here we are.
Fede Alvarez’s re-imagining, flat and witless, doffs a deferential cap in all the wrong places. Present and correct is the bloody chainsaw, and that aggressively libidinous tree. But gone is the innovative camerawork and B-movie charm; instead we get slick, dull production values and glossy over-lighting. Gone, too, is the cheeky sense of humour; in its place, a peculiarly po-faced script. And most conspicuously of all, gone is Bruce Campbell.
A bland cast of expendable twenty-somethings are scant substitute for Campbell’s angular jaw, arched eyebrow and groovy one-liners. Like most remakes, Evil Dead makes a miserably weak argument for its own existence – especially when stacked against a superior original.