Evil Dead

by Matt J. Popham

Much like the recently produced prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing, Fede Alvarez’s remake of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead is overflowing with – among other things – sincerity and reverence for its source. But unlike that largely sterile wasteland, it makes up in style and substance what it lacks in character and personality. While not as outrageously hilarious as Raimi’s originals, it’s not without humor, and it is, at least, outrageously, hilariously gruesome. Ostensibly (and commendably) an allegory for overcoming addiction, it’s really a carnival ride of imaginative mayhem that energetically propels you through a series of homages and horrors without much connective tissue. Of course, what’s really missing is Bruce Campbell’s Ash, either materially or in surrogate form. Campbell’s a rare actor who can pull off swagger, self-parody, scares and slapstick, often simultaneously, without missing a beat. None of Alvarez’s actors or characters could even begin to fill his shoes, and to their credit, they don’t try. Problem is, the film doesn’t offer anything or anyone else to fill the hole. They just use electric knives, hypodermic needles and nail guns to make a whole bunch more. It’s bloody good fun, but you just can’t improve on a classic…

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