Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Evil That Men Re-Do

So, as I'm sure everyone reading this already knows by now, the red band trailer for the Evil Dead remake was released earlier this week to mostly rapturous response. I'm sure not every fan is on board with this still because Bruce Campbell isn't starring in it or whatever but whaddya gonna do? I was all for this even before the trailer so I just feel that much more stoked now.

As remakes go, it's galling when cheeseballs like Michael Bay cash in on a much-loved property like A Nightmare on Elm Street but with The Evil Dead, not only are the original players involved (which worked out well when Wes Craven oversaw the remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and The Last House on the Left) but there is, I believe, a good reason (other than crass commerce) to bring back The Evil Dead for a new generation.

As great and as classic as the original is, it hasn't aged so well. Movies of roughly the same vintage, like Halloween or Alien, still can play for a new audience and not suffer too much from being dated. You couldn't do the same with The Evil Dead, though. Of all the Evil Dead movies, it's the one that doesn't hold up so well. It has a charm to it still but it's more unintentionally corny now than it is scary.

The thing is, that's not how The Evil Dead played back in '83. Back then, it seemed like the ne plus ultra of splatter cinema. Or, as the end credits described it, "the ultimate experience in grueling horror." It was a movie that was intimidating in its reputation and that absolutely lived up to the hype. I don't know anyone who was around back when The Evil Dead was first released who didn't regard it as a legitmately scary movie. The sequels took a different route and were great in their own right but I think a return to a truly frightening take on The Evil Dead is a good thing.

It's just such a classic set-up, such a classic horror movie premise - kids in an isolated cabin who find themselves possessed one by one by demons until only a last survivor remains - why not bring it back for a new generation and try to make the best version of that tale possible? You know, as much as Cabin in the Woods was acclaimed by some, it really didn't do much for me.

I dug the menagerie of monsters in the last leg of the movie and chuckled at the apocalyptic conclusion but other than that, I wasn't all that taken with it. I liked it, but didn't love it.

My preferences in horror generally lie in favor of movies that play it straight-up - the real thing rather than a deconstruction. And, so far at least, the new Evil Dead is looking very much like The Real Thing.


Mummbles said...

While the preview does look interesting I still feel we should support new movies and ideas and not just remakes. I think I will pass on this unless I get in for free.

Jeff Allard said...

Fans should support good movies, period - whether they be originals, remakes, sequels, what have you. We'll have to wait until next April to find out how Evil Dead fares.

Will Errickson said...

I agree, fans should support good movies, no matter from where they originate. For me this backlash against remakes is over, I try to see it akin to Hammer remaking all the classic Universal monsters. And original ideas are not always any good at all! Looking forward to the new adaptation of CARRIE as well...

Matt-suzaka said...

The way I see it is, there are just as many awful "original" films as there are remakes. I think people forget about how many films are actually remakes (and how many remakes are classics), yet so many feel that everything has to be so sacred.

Anyway, the new Evil Dead looks pretty awesome based on what I've seen in the trailers. It looks like it could be unrelenting and, just as importantly, it looks as if it's bringing something different (from the original) to the table.

Jeff Allard said...

Will, Hammer is a great example of how remakes shouldn't be disparaged out of hand. Those movies reinvented the classic monsters for a whole new generation. As for Carrie, I'm definitely intrigued and hoping for the best.

Matt, I agree. Just because a film is original is no guarantee it's any good. Likewise, plenty of remakes have become classics in their own right. Hopefully the new Evil Dead will fall into that category. We'll see.

FilmFather said...

While the trailer for the Evil Dead remake looks promising, this one image from it creeped me out 10x more:

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