Evil Dead (2013)

Posted: 05/06/2013 in Movies
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Evil Dead

Evil Dead

I have never considered the Evil Dead franchise to be zombie movies. Despite the misleading titles, Evil Dead and Evil Dead II are demon possession movies. (You could make a stronger argument for Army of Darkness, with the skeletons rising from the grave) However, my brother asked me if the Evil Dead remake was something that we should see in the theaters as part of Zombie Movie Night. I told him my thoughts. His response was, “Yeah, but I’d like to see it.” That was enough for me, as we headed out to the theater.

THE GOOD: Evil Dead doesn’t mess much with the formula of the original. A bunch of young people are staying in a cabin and unleash an unspeakable evil by reading from the book of the dead. One by one, the friends become possessed and try to kill the others. The remake changes the purpose of the get together from a vacation to an intervention, in an attempt to make the characters’ actions more plausible (She’s not possessed, she’s detoxing). It works to a certain point. The remake also obviously had a much larger budget than the original, so the acting and the effects are all pretty decent.

THE BAD: The original Evil Dead is great because of its low budget, grainy feel. Remaking it with a real budget just seems unnecessary. It was already good the way it was. The two sequels changed the tone to campy and wacky, which is what I think of when I think of the franchise. Making the new film a straight up horror film left me wanting some laughs.

THE ZOMBIES: Ok, so my opinion has not changed. This is still clearly a demon possession movie, not a zombie movie. But after the film, my brother and I examined the precedent set by other films on the ZMN roster.

Our basic, very loose zombie definition is: An external force of some kind alters human beings in such a way that they lose control of themselves and begin to cause harm to others.

Evil Dead fits this description. Still, so does the Exorcist, and no one would ever consider that a zombie movie. There has to be a little something more to make it a zombie – like the ability to infect others. But….Evil Dead contains a victim who is possessed after sustaining a bite to the hand, just like countless zombie movies. There are multiple people possessed in Evil Dead. Not just one demon jumping from body to body. We have the movie Demons on the list, which is clearly about demons. But that movie definitely feels like a zombie movie, with the possessed running around wildly trying to kill and infect others.

The main thing that feels wrong is the monster’s ability to taunt and mock the survivors, as well as trying to trick them by changing its appearance back to human. Very un-zombie-like. However, we’ve got [REC] 2 on the list, where the zombies do just that (after we find out that they’re the devil). My feelings about that move aside, it’s on the list and it’s a zombie movie.

Final decision: I don’t fucking know. I still feel the same way. In the end, we decided that Evil Dead is not a zombie movie, but based on precedent, it is a part of the ZMN Standings. It does take a serious hit in ranking based on its very slim zombie-ness.

VERDICT: If you want to watch a zombie movie, don’t watch Evil Dead. If you want to watch a horror movie, Evil Dead is ok, but you’d be better off checking out the original. (It’s currently streaming on Netflix) Grade: C

Current ZMN Rank: #55 out of 112

Golden Zombey WatchA tough one to call since none of the zombie categories really apply. Could Mia count as both Outstanding Zombie and Best (non-zombie) Villain? Probably not, but that would be interesting.


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