Evil Dead Fede Alvarez

Evil Dead Fede Alvarez
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Stripping an inherently silly idea of humour isn't always the best approach. It's especially hard to swallow a straight-faced remake — there's no real evidence that this iteration is intended as a prequel or sequel — of the most famous cabin in the woods horror of them all, especially after both The Cabin in the Woods and Resolution so smartly, and recently, razed the entire conceit to the ground.

As re-imagined by first-time feature director Fede Alvarez, Evil Dead is a lame-brained gore-fest that relies on cheap shock tactics and desperate, superficial call-backs to Sam Raimi's original piece of resourceful lunacy and its much more entertaining sequels.

In place of the cartoonish madness that slowly turned Ash into the most iconic horror protagonist in modern cinema, Alvarez opts to dress his brand of insanity in slick music video stylization. Admittedly, there's more of a narrative this time around (though it directly borrows the forced detox angle from the far superior Resolution), but the plight of a junky trying to get clean with a little help from her friends, and the none-too-subtle subtext it provides, is more distracting than it is engaging. Kicking an addiction is tantamount to battling demons; being hooked on drugs is like being possessed by evil. Could you scream your intentions any louder, Mr. Alvarez?

What's less obvious, but still readily apparent to anyone paying attention, is the misogynistic suggestion that women are more susceptible to craziness than men and are prone to infecting others with the taint of their irrationality. This view is especially overt until little things like internal logic and continuity fall by the wayside in the third act.

Aside from Jane Levy's showy, wide-eyed turn as Mia and a few brief moments of knowing levity, courtesy of Lou Taylor Pucci (Southland Tales), the rest of the cast is utterly devoid of personality. A bunch of disposable 20-somethings facing a parade of desperate grotesqueries and twice recycled gimmicks are poor substitutes for a proper sequel to Army of Darkness.

This is a redundant abomination that should have stayed locked in the cellar. (Sony)