If you spend any amount of time on the internet, which, for our sake, we hope you do, you already know that Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic The Evil Dead was “remade”. Not only did it have Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s blessing, but they were heavily involved with the production. The story goes, Sam had wanted the film to be remade for a while, but Bruce was vehemently against the idea. Then, a couple of young guys they met(Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues), thanks to director Fede Alvarez’s epic short film, Panic Attack, came forward with a unique script. One that tackled the story, minus the character of Ash. Ash, as you know, is the iconic character from the original Evil Dead trilogy, portrayed by Bruce Campbell. And, based on the interviews Campbell has given in regards to this remake, the main reason he didn’t want to see the film remade, is that he didn’t want to see some actor, desperately trying to mimic his bad acting from the original film.
Just as it always happens, once news breaks that yes, Evil Dead is being “remade” the internet was set ablaze, by the same rabid fanboys that always moan and groan when whatever obscure film from the 70s or 80s that mainstream America doesn’t really give a shit about anymore, is announced as being the latest remake. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some atrocious remakes released, theatrically even. Off of the top of my head, the remakes of The Fog, and Prom Night spring to mind. But, I think if you examine the situation from an objective standpoint, I think you’d realize that more of these remakes are entertaining than not. Yes, A Nightmare On Elm Street was treated to an awful remake. But, while most people you would have an everyday conversation with would tell you, they hated the Friday the 13th remake, I’ve never met one of these people that could explain to me, exactly why Friday the 13th(2009), was worse than ANY given sequel from the franchise. Basically, it was a Platinum Dunes(Michael Bay) release, of a beloved classic, and that automatically meant you had to go into the movie, expecting, almost determined to hate it, at whatever cost. One fine example of a remake, is Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I normally catch grief for saying this, but I think Aja’s remake is ten times the film as Craven’s original, which, in my book, is a truly awful film. I digress.
The time came when the Evil Dead remake was being shown to select audiences at film festivals, and press screenings. And, to the surprise of many people, the reception was exceptionally positive. Suddenly, even before its official release, it seemed like Evil Dead(2013) had legs. Of all of the pre-theatrical reviews I skimmed through, there were 10 overwhelmingly positive reviews, to every two neutral or negative reviews. That’s a good sign, people. And from that day on, I was even more excited to finally get the chance to see this new take on one of my favorite horror franchises of all time.
I loved this movie so much when I saw it at the theater, that I do something that I rarely do, even if I do have spare time. I went back to the theater for a second helping. It starts strong, introducing us to the evils that await our group of unsuspecting characters that are about to enter the house of evil. It does slow down for around ten minutes, just to give you a good idea as to what type of people we’ll be following for the duration of the film, but once the carnage starts, there is no lulls to follow. Nonstop, bloody and brutal carnage ensues. If someone tells you that this film bored them, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that they are lying to you. You don’t have time to be bored. There is always something insane happening on screen, and with each new scene of beautiful, all practical gore effects, the chaos multiplies in intensity.
One disappointment people have voiced, that I do disagree with, is that there was so much hype beforehand, about how much had to be cut to secure an R rating. When the film was originally submitted to the MPAA, it was slapped with the death-dealing NC-17 rating. As you know, the majority of theaters will not screen a movie of this rating. Couple that, with the fact that some of the scenes that were shown in the trailer, did not make it to the final movie, and it leaves you puzzled as to why they didn’t release an UNRATED version of the film on home video. Some people remain convinced, that one day we will receive this mythical unrated cut, but I am not one of these people. As our podcast host, Jeff Konopka suggested to me in a conversation we had recently in regards to this title, it is highly possible, that when they submitted the film to the MPAA, they pulled the old trick, of putting a bunch of things in the submitted cut that you know will not possibly be acceptable for an R rating, and then when you submit the real version of the movie you’re trying to get rated, it makes them think that you’re playing ball, and trimming out the things they found inappropriate. This is just speculation, of course. None of us know what really happened.
When I received my review copy of the Evil Dead Blu Ray, I did another thing I rarely have time to do; I immediately opened the package, and put the disc in right on-the-spot. This would be my third viewing of the film, and I was curious, even though I had already seen it twice, if I would enjoy it as much this time around, as I had previously. And, as soon as the intro finished, and the Evil Dead logo flashed up on the screen, I knew the answer to that question. This is one of my favorite theatrical genre releases of 2013. This may be this year’s The Cabin In The Woods for me. It’s an extremely fun movie to watch, and it looks and sounds absolutely fantastic on Blu Ray.
There aren’t exactly what you would refer to as a wealth of supplemental material on the disc. Another disappointing thing is the exclusion of any kind of deleted or alternate scenes. There is a scene in the trailer, that I’m sure you know, that shows Shiloh Fernandez’ s character wielding a chainsaw in the middle of some form of bloodletting. This scene did not make it into the final cut of the film, nor is it available anywhere in the extra features. Do not let this dissuade you from picking this Blu Ray up. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, viewing it on Blu Ray is the next best thing, after experiencing this film theatrically. And, there really are several cool behind the scenes featurettes on the disc. There are some exclusive editions of the release at Target and Best Buy, in the form of Blu Ray Steelbooks. From what I’ve heard, the Best Buy exclusive steelbook actually comes with an extra DVD of special features. Those of you that have not yet joined us here in movie heaven(Blu Ray), will be disappointed to know, that the DVD only release not only has less special features than the standard Blu Ray release, but, you’ll also be missing out on some awesome disc art, which has practically become a lost art. Seriously guys, come to the dark side(Blu Ray). I promise we have cookies.
The Blu Ray