Evil Dead (Blu-ray)

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Evil Dead – Blu-ray
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – 2013

Directed by Fede Alvarez
Screenplay by Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues

Starring
Jane Levy
Shiloh Fernandez
Lou Taylor Pucci
Jessica Lucas
Elizabeth Blackmore

I saw this in the movie theater when it came out in April.  At that time the movie left a pretty strong impression on me.  The Blu-ray reinforces that with a pristine transfer sporting superb image and knock-out sound.  It also comes packed with enough supplements to please any fan of the film or genre.

I have to say that this remake has to be the most violent film I’ve ever seen a major studio release.  There is a ton of bloodshed, which is appropriate considering The Evil Dead was a ground breaking juggernaut of gore and innovative camera acrobatics.

There is no doubt that the people behind this movie put their hearts and souls (couldn’t resist) into it.  The acting, Aaron Morton’s cinematography, Robert Gillies’ production design, Roque Baños’ music, the physical effects, make-up effects, visual FX and Bryan Shaw’s editing are all fantastic.

I think it was a good idea not to try to recreate the same characters from the first film, but rather use an entire new set in a similar situation.  The fact is Bruce Campbell was so good as “Ash” that anyone who would even attempt to play the part would pale in comparison.

I don’t think the prologue showing how the cabin became cursed was necessary.  Sometimes the less you know about a film’s threat, the more mysterious and cinematically magic they end up being (say Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s Halloween or the title character in The Mothman Prophecies).

I’m really impressed with Fede Alvarez.  The young filmmaker has a bold vision for this film and is unrelenting in his approach to horrifying the audience. His skills with actors, the camera and capturing effects are outstanding.  Maybe the thing that most stands out about Alvarez is that it’s obvious to me that he respects the original, yet isn’t afraid or timid to make this film his own.

As far as the story, I actually liked that the writers tried to ground the story by having the trip to the cabin in the woods be a drug intervention for Mia (Jane Levy).  Not only did it help give the characters an onscreen cause but lent to having her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and her friends; Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and David’s girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) to doubt her claims when weird things start happening because of her problem.

I think the cast did a real solid job.  Actress Jane Levy endures a tremendous amount of physical punishment as Mia.  She represents the Bruce Campbell part in this film.  Levy gets covered from head to toe in blood and is beaten to a pulp like Campbell was in the original.

Shiloh Fernandez is quite compassionate as David.  Without his sensitivity he film wouldn’t have an emotional center.

Special Features are: Making Life Difficult – captures the intense physically exhausting creation of the film.  Directing the Dead – Director Fede Alvarez Re-imagines the Cult Horror Classic.  Being Mia – Jane Levy’s physical and psychological transformation into “Evil Mia.”

Blu-Ray Exclusives include Cast & Filmmaker Commentary – which Alvarez and co-writer Rodo Sayagues join with actors Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas talk about making this movie. Unleashing the Evil Force – Tells the origins and design of the new Book of the Dead.  Evil Dead the Reboot – Bruce Campbell talks about the long gestation of finally making a new Evil Dead film, we get to see cast rehearsals, learn of Deadites and more.

There’s no way this film could ever replace Sam Raimi’s original film.  If you compare this against that low-budget pioneer film, it can’t touch it.  Even with The Evil Dead’s more amateurish production blemishes, including questionable acting, there’s an energy and cinematic glow that just can’t be equaled.  Never the less, I’ve heard some folks put this film down because of the comparison, which I don’t think is necessary or completely deserving.  In due time, people will look at this re-do with more affection because it definitely warrants it.  I highly recommend getting this Blu-ray.

www.sonypictures.com/bluray