Evil Dead Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 7/10
A creepy cabin in the woods, unappealing young people, overacting or underacting, evil spirits, human flesh used in uncomfortable ways, lots of bloodletting, and superficial soul searching, these are the ingredients for Evil Dead. Let’s not ignore cinematic history, I’ll acknowledge this is not a new recipe for horror. We all know this is a “remake” of The Evil Dead, but I don’t like to compare, so I won’t.

A story about a young woman trying to get off drugs, again, is supposed to be sympathetic and something to identify with. If they hadn’t made plastic robotic characters to surround her, it would have been an easier idea to get behind. The dialog and acting is what it is. I don’t understand why these shallow insipid conversations sound OK to the director (not Sam Rami) or the performers while they are doing them. I get it, it’s about the gore and the blood and the EVIL DEAD, but if you can make the rest of the movie well, why not add some good dramatic performances and good conversations?

As for the build up of the story, it’s fine with me most of the time to take a third of a movie to establish who everyone is, ease us into their pending choices, dramas, traumas, and consequences. The thing is, this ain’t that kind of movie. I want quality dialog that doesn’t last 30 minutes. Exorcist, yes, I could watch the build up of that story all day long and then move to the horror phase of the tale. Once it’s established that the quality of the interactions is pretty low, and the expectations are to be kept there, why not just get it over with and move on to the bloodfest?

The two things about Evil Dead that I did enjoy were our leading lady, about 75% of the time, and the overall idea. Mia is played by Jane Levy, who does her best to give this character a range of features. She’s supposed to be weakened by a drug addiction, then she finds some strength with a very unpleasant demonic possession, and she has to be her ass-kicking self to try to defeat the horror, while dealing with a lot of emotions about her friends, her brother, being possessed. I did like her, she threw herself into every gross intimately uncomfortable moment and it pays off. She’s truly the star of the show. As for the idea of the Evil Dead universe, the book of the dead, spirits coming to torment humans by using their bodies in horrific ways, it’s all good gore movie stuff. The mythos around the book, the history of what must have happened through the years with the various people have found it, I love it all. It’s not deep, and I would like a more serious take on the whole thing, but accept it for what it is and move on.

I will continue to watch Evil Dead movies. I’m not in love with them the way Ascully is, but in time I might just come around to that kind of fondness. For now I’ll take this 2013 spinning of the yarn and appreciate it for the good, dismiss the blah, and wait for another dip into the mind of Sam Rami.

Features: 7/10

  • Making Like Difficult – Jane Levy talks about the “Hardships” she went through to get this movie made. It does look like a rough ride but the finished product speaks for itself.
  • Directing The Dead – Fede Alvarez talks about the process of making the film, you even get some footage from a very early table read with the whole cast.
  • Being Mia – A great little video diary where actress Jane Levy takes a digital video camera to work and shows us the makeup chair and some of her on the set antics.
  • Cast & Filmmaker Commentary – Actors Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas join Director Fede Alvarez & writer Rodo Sayagues for 90 minutes of talk about the film. Most of the movie uses practical effects and no CGI, Fede explains how he worked through the problems associated with that.
  • Unleashing The Evil Force – A close up look at the new and improved book of the dead.
  • Evil Dead The Reboot – A lot of the people responsible for the movie (including Bruce Campbell) take us through the thought process of getting this remake made. Bruce was not on board originally as he thought only he should play Ash. As soon as the script was revealed to not have an Ash character he soon changed his mind. Hollywood ego at it’s finest ladies and gentlemen.
  • UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
It’s good. That’s what I’ll say about this cover. I would have it as a poster, but alongside other Rami offerings. I do like the striking image, so there ya go. It’s rare that I do like cover art, this is a time to be savored and remembered. As for the menu, it’s themed, but I’m not that interested in menus anymore, so I’ll leave it to your judgement.

Audio & Video: 8/10
For such a dark and shadowy film Evil Dead looks better than you would imagine on Blu-Ray. The original movie was known for its grainy low-budget look and while that is not the case here it does manage to have a grimy look all of its own. It’s quite obvious a lot of effort was made not to crush any of the shadow detail and this makes the movie way more horrific. Evil dead has a washed out color palette until the final act where everything literally becomes bathed in red. If you are a fan of blood and gore Evil Dead on Blu-ray has you more than covered.

From the outset you know your are in for a fun time here as the flawless DTS-HD Master Audio track uses every inch of the sound field to create an ambiance that is unmatched in modern horror. A lot of the films shock value comes from the soundtrack, the sound of a knife cutting into bone or a chainsaw ripping through demon flesh will make you wince. if you listen really carefully you will even hear excerpts of the original movie in the surround speakers. One particular thing I liked about the sound design is the air raid siren mixed into the rear of the sound-stage when something BAD is about to happen. This is masterful stuff and top-tier demo material for all you home theater audio buffs.

Value: 7/10
A night of horror would be a fine time to add Evil Dead to the mix of your old standards. I just wouldn’t need to spend the full price tag, but a rental chunk of change would be just right.

Overall Score 7/10