Evil Dead (2013 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fede Alvarez|
|Music by||Roque Baños|
|Editing by||Bryan Shaw|
|Studio||Ghost House Pictures
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures (USA)
Sony Pictures (Int'l)
|Running time||92 minutes|
Evil Dead is a 2013 American horror film co-written and directed by Fede Alvarez. It is the fourth installment of the Evil Dead franchise, serving as both a reboot and a loose continuation of the series; the first not directed by Sam Raimi.
The film is the feature debut of Alvarez, whom Raimi selected. It was produced by Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert G. Tapert: the writer-director, lead actor, and producer of the original trilogy respectively. The film had its world premiere at the South by Southwest festival on March 8, 2013. On March 9, 2013, it was announced that the film will have a sequel, followed by a crossover with the original trilogy. Evil Dead was announced on July 15, 2013 to be adapted into a live experience as the first maze announced for Universal Studios Hollywood's and the second maze for Universal Orlando Resort's annual Halloween Horror Nights event for 2013.
After being captured in the woods, an injured girl (Phoenix Connolly) is restrained in a basement with many people present. Upon revealing she is demonically possessed, her father, Harold (Jim McLarty), sets her on fire and shoots her dead.
Some time later, Mia (Jane Levy), her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), their friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas), and David's girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), arrive at an old, remote cabin in the woods where they plan to help Mia recover from heroin addiction. David is estranged from their friends as well as his own sister after leaving when their mother was committed to an asylum, forcing Mia to care for their mother on her own, likely contributing to her heroin addiction; he hopes that being here would allow him to reconcile with everyone. A foul stench leads them to the cellar, where they discover rotting animal corpses, a double-barreled shotgun and a book titled Naturom Demonto, a Sumerian variation of the Book of the Dead. Ignoring warnings scrawled on the book's pages, Eric reads a passage aloud, summoning a demon. Believing that there is something coming after her, Mia pleads to leave, but the group refuses, believing she’s suffering from withdrawal.
Feeling betrayed, she hijacks the group's station wagon and heads out on her own, but when a demonic version of Mia appears it causes her to steer into a flooded ditch which disables the car. Returning to the cabin on foot, she gets entangled in a cluster of vines that become animated and rape her. After the rape, David and Olivia find Mia and take her back to the cabin; visibly traumatized, Mia tells David that whatever attacked her in the woods is in the cabin with them, but he doesn't believe her. When Mia kills David's dog, David walks in on her scalding herself in the shower, which Eric recognizes is prophesied in the book. David takes his Jeep to drive her to a hospital, but flood waters block the road. After returning to the cabin, the now fully possessed Mia attacks both Olivia and David before passing out. The group locks her in the cellar to contain her. The demon then possesses Olivia, forcing her to mutilate her face with a broken shard of glass and attack Eric, who kills her in the ensuing struggle.
While David tends to Eric's wounds in a shed next to the cabin, a crying Mia lures Natalie into the cellar, managing to bite her hand before she flees back upstairs. Eric does some research in the book, and learns that it prophesies that a demon called the Taker of Souls must consume five souls in order to unleash a being called the Abomination. Meanwhile in the kitchen, Natalie's bite wound begins to infect and corrode her hand and rapidly spreads onto her arm, leading her to sever it with an electric knife before it can reach her torso. David and Eric tend to Natalie's wounds, then discuss their next move. Eric explains that Mia must be "purified" via burning, live burial, or dismemberment, which will end her possession and hopefully end the demon's assault. Suddenly, a possessed Natalie attacks them with a nail gun and a crowbar. David blows off Natalie's other arm with the shotgun, and the demon leaves her body as she bleeds to death.
Coming up with a plan, David leaves a heavily injured Eric by the car while he plans to knock out Mia and bury her alive. In the ensuing struggle, David is about to be killed but is saved when Eric saves him by knocking out Mia, but not before Mia manages to stab him with a box cutter. As Eric finally dies from his wounds, he confesses that he missed David, which David takes as Eric forgiving him for leaving. David then injects Mia with tranquilizers to completely render her unconscious while he puts her in a shallow grave next to the cabin. After she dies, he digs her up and uses an improvised defibrillator to revive her; the demon has been exorcised, and she is human again. Returning to the cabin to get the keys to his Jeep, David is attacked and mortally wounded by Eric, who is now possessed. David locks Mia out of the cabin, engaging Eric by himself. Eric taunts David about the Abomination's imminent arrival. David responds by using the shotgun to ignite a nearby gasoline can, engulfing the cabin in flames and killing them both.
Since five souls have now technically been taken, the prophecy has been fulfilled. Blood rains from the sky as the Abomination rises from hell, out of the ground, and chases Mia. After a protracted showdown that results in the loss of her hand, Mia manages to kill the Abomination by splitting it in half vertically with a chainsaw, upon which the Abomination sinks back into the ground. The blood rain stops and Mia, hardened by the events of the night, walks away into the forest. The Naturom Demonto lies on the ground nearby, unscathed by the cabin fire, and slams shut on its own.
During the credits, Professor Raymond Knowby recalls his past discovery of the Naturom Demonto. In a post-credits scene, an older Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) appears in a dim spotlight and says his iconic line from Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, "Groovy", before turning to the audience.
- Jane Levy as Mia Allen
- Shiloh Fernandez as David Allen
- Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric
- Jessica Lucas as Olivia
- Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie
- Phoenix Connolly as Teenager
- Jim McLarty as Harold
- Sian Davis as Old Woman
- Stephen Butterworth as Toothless Redneck
- Karl Willetts as Long Haired Redneck
- Randal Wilson as Demonic/Abomination Mia
- Rupert Degas as the Demon (voice)
In addition, using audio from the original film, Bob Dorian plays Professor Raymond Knowby during the credits and Ellen Sandweiss plays a voice cameo as Cheryl Williams. Bruce Campbell plays Ash Williams in an uncredited cameo appearance.
Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues co-wrote the script, which was then doctored by Diablo Cody in an effort to Americanize the dialogue since English was not the writers' first language. The film was produced by Raimi, Campbell, and Robert G. Tapert, who are the producers of the original trilogy.
Raimi and Campbell had planned a remake for many years, but in 2009, Campbell stated the proposed remake was "going nowhere" and had "fizzled" due to extremely negative fan reaction. However, in April 2011, Bruce Campbell stated in an AskMeAnything interview on Reddit.com, "We are remaking Evil Dead. The script is awesome [...] The remake's gonna kick some ass — you have my word."
On July 13, 2011, it was officially announced, via a press release, that Ghost House Pictures would team up with FilmDistrict to produce an Evil Dead remake, with Diablo Cody in the process of revising the script and Fede Alvarez directing. Actor Shiloh Fernandez was cast in the lead male role of David. Bloody Disgusting reported that Lily Collins would play the lead female role of Mia, but on January 24, 2012, she dropped out of the role.
On February 3, 2012, it was announced that actress Jane Levy, star of the television series Suburgatory, would replace Collins in the lead female role as Mia. Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore, and Jessica Lucas later joined the cast.
In January 2013, Alvarez commented on the ambiguity of the film's relationship to the original:
Now, the way I personally like to see Evil Dead (2013), it's as a story that takes place 30 years after The Evil Dead ended. The car is there, the cabin is there (a family bought it and did some work on it more than 20 years ago) and the book has found its way back to the cabin... New kids will encounter it and suffer its wrath. Is Evil Dead a sequel then? Maybe. But the problem with the sequel theory would be that there are too many coincidences between the events on The Evil Dead and the ones on Evil Dead to have happened on a continuous story line [...] But if you believe the Naturom Demonto can force these things to happen... then it could be a sequel... and I do believe in coincidences.
Alvarez, who also has a background in CGI, also confirmed in an interview that the film does not employ CGI (except for touch-ups): "We didn't do any CGI in the movie [...] Everything that you will see is real, which was really demanding. This was a very long shoot, 70 days of shooting at night. There's a reason people use CGI; it's cheaper and faster, I hate that. We researched a lot of magic tricks and illusion tricks."
Sam Raimi's 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 can be seen in an opening scene with David and Mia as they arrive at the cabin. The 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 has appeared in almost all of the movies that Raimi has been involved with over his career.
TriStar Pictures released the film theatrically on April 5, 2013 in the United States. Alvarez tweeted on January 28, 2013 that the film first received an NC-17 rating, which prompted cuts in order to obtain the contractually obligated R-rating. The film has been rated uncut as an 18 by the BBFC for containing strong "bloody violence, gory horror and very strong language". Evil Dead premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on March 8, 2013. The music for Evil Dead, composed by Roque Baños, was released by La-La Land Records in a 40-minute digital form and a 70-minute physical release, on April 9, 2013.
Evil Dead was released on DVD and Blu-ray, on July 16, 2013. The Blu-ray exclusives include commentary from three of the cast, and screenwriters Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, behind the scenes and a featurette, while the regular DVD will include three other featurettes.
The film brought in $26 million in its opening weekend and became a box office success, grossing over $54,239,856 domestically and $43,303,096 internationally, for a worldwide take of $97,542,952.
Evil Dead has received generally positive reviews. The film has since earned a "fresh" score of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 173 reviews with an average rating of 6.1/10; the consensus states: "It may lack the absurd humor that underlined the original, but the new-look Evil Dead compensates with brutal terror, gory scares, and gleefully bloody violence." On Metacritic, the film holds a 57% rating, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Criticism focuses on the characters and some of the story being spoiled by the trailers for the film.
Evan Dickson from Bloody Disgusting reviewed the film at SXSW, and went on to say that "Evil Dead is amazingly gory and fun" and gave the film 4/5 stars. Chris Tilly of IGN gave Evil Dead 9/10, and called the movie a "terrifying, exhilarating and relentlessly entertaining new chapter in the Evil Dead story". John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter also gave the film a positive review, calling it a "remake that will win the hearts of many of the original's fans." Independent horror review site HorrorTalk gave the film four stars out of five saying it is "the most unrelenting and bloody horror film to come out of a major studio in a very long time". Emma Simmonds of The List commented, "Evil Dead has ample cheap shocks and few bloodcurdling frights but it builds to something gorily bravura and, if that's your bag, you'll come away satisfied. It's a while before anyone picks up a chainsaw, but boy is it worth it when they do." Matt Singer called the film "an assault on the senses" and "a success, one that out-Evil Deads the original movie with even more gore, puke, blood, and dismembered limbs. It may not be wildly inventive, but it is effective, and plenty faithful to the spirit — and tagline — of the first 'Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror.'"
Richard Roeper rated the film one star out of four, criticizing the film's unoriginality, the characters' lack of intelligence, and the films reliance on gore for what he felt were cheap scares. He concluded his review by saying, "I love horror films that truly shock, scare and provoke. But after 30 years of this stuff, I'm bored to death and sick to death of movies that seem to have one goal: How can we gross out the audience by torturing nearly every major character in the movie?"
Awards and nominations
|2013||Golden Trailer Awards||Best Horror TV Spot||TriStar Pictures and mOcean for "Everything's Fine"||Nominated|
At the SXSW premiere event, Alvarez announced that a sequel is in the works. In addition, Sam Raimi confirmed plans to write Evil Dead 4 with his brother; it was later specified that this film would be Army of Darkness 2. At a WonderCon panel in March 2013, Campbell and Alvarez stated that their ultimate plan was for Alvarez's Evil Dead 2 and Raimi's Army of Darkness 2 to be followed by a seventh film which would merge the narratives of Ash and Mia. On October 30, 2013, co-writer Sayagues confirmed to DeadHollywood that he and Alvarez will not return for the sequel. That same month, Alvarez took to his Twitter that the rumor is not true.
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- BREAKING: Evil Dead Writer Confirms Him and Fede Alvarez Exited the Sequel. Describes ‘Machina’
- UPDATED: 'Evil Dead 2' Is Still On With Fede Alvarez Attached!!