New ‘Evil Dead’ not like original

Jane Levy in TriStar Pictures' horror, "Evil Dead." (Kirsty Girffin/Courtesy TriStar Pictures/MCT)

Producer and original director Sam Raimi and film star Bruce Campbell, who plays the film’s hero Ash, chose up-and-coming director Fede Alvarez to create a remake of the first in the “Evil Dead” series. This cult classic remake pulled in $1.8 million in late shows Thursday, creating more revenue than the original but leaving some fans with a bad taste in their mouths.

Produced in 1981, the original low-budget film had a total cost of $350,000, and yet it has captivated fans and motivated future directors for more than 30 years.

Known for its original and creative use of cameras and a delightful blend of humorous yet gory horror, it played on the stereotypical horror flick of youths trapped in a broken-down cabin in the woods.

Ash is portrayed as an average Joe who, placed in horrific circumstances, battles soul-hungry demons summoned accidentally through the book of the dead, known as the “Necronomicon.”

There is an air of humor as he endures beatings and eventually cuts off his own hand to avoid demonic possession. Using quirky phrases such as “groovy,” Ash becomes the ultimate normal guy turned over-the-top hero.

The new remake is anything but an honor to the famous original. The characters, while showing similarities to the original group, fall short of their 1981 counterparts.

The hero, still named Ash, is portrayed as a cowardly brother who has abandoned his friends and drug addicted sister for years, while the original character was a normal but good-hearted cashier taking the ones dearest to him on a weekend getaway.

The distance between characters in this remake loses the effect caused when Ash is forced to kill them in order to stop his possessed friends from killing him.

Many fans of the original found themselves missing the key points from Raimi’s version. In the 1981 film, Ash cuts off his own hand and attaches a chainsaw to the nub, going postal on the bloodthirsty invaders.

While the chainsaw, and many other original props make an appearance in the remake, the movie’s use of these devices is almost insulting to the original.

Story plot aside, the film’s budget and special effects still managed to do “Evil Dead” a serious injustice.

In the 1981 version, a camera was used to show the audience a firsthand view through the demons’ eyes, often chasing Ash through woods and rooms, smashing doors and obstacles in its path.

While special effects were lacking, the expressions on the hero’s face while being chased by a camera are one of many attributes on the list making it a cult classic.

As the headline of The Blade staff writer Kirk Baird’s review read, “Remake of ‘Evil’ horror classic almost pointless.”

Liam Lacey, critic for The Globe and Mail, said, “So long as you grit your teeth and keep your eyes on the screen, it’s an enjoyable if almost academic exercise in bad taste.”

For die-hard fans of the original “Evil Dead,” please— save your money.

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