There have been few films in the horror genre in recent years that have manages to truly instill fear in their audience. “Evil Dead” managed to engage viewers and truly terrify its audience. The acting is good for a horror film, but could be better at times. The characters are believable and have true motivation for their actions. Despite knowing terrible fates await many of them, this movie succeeds in making the audience feel connected to its characters.
The film takes place in an old cabin in the woods. David (Shiloh Fernandez “The East”), accompanied by his girlfriend Natalie, (Elizabeth Blackmore “Beauty and the Beast”), goes to his family’s old cabin for his sister (Jane Levy, “Fun Size”) Mia’s, attempt to detox from opioids.
To help in her attempt, Mia has brought her friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci, “The Story of Luke”) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas, “Cult”). Olivia and Eric warn David that they have attempted this before, and Mia has fallen back on drugs, causing an overdose which left her legally dead for a few minutes. Due to this, they try to be stricter, and refuse to let her leave.
The group discovers the remnants of voodoo rituals in the basement of the cabin and Eric takes interest in a book found there. After reading from it, a force starts haunting Mia. This leads her to run from the group. After they find her, strange and horrifying things begin happening around the cabin.
The story is engaging and the characters have a good reason to not believe Mia’s accounts of what is happening. They know she is having withdrawal from her detox, and try to act in her best interest. It is a refreshing break from the usual scenario of a bunch of teenagers falling victim to a killer or supernatural elements at a party. Each character has a reason for being there. Eric has an interest in the book, the necronomicon, because he is a high school teacher, and therefore has an academic interest. Olivia is a nurse and is there to ensure Mia’s health during the detox process. David is there to support his sister in her need. The characters are not stereotypes, instead acting like real people.
The real draw of the film is its horror scenes. It does not disappoint fans of the genre, as it uses its premise to full effect. Many scenes are unsettling; characters are killed and dismembered in various ways. This is not a film for those with weak constitutions, as there is a lot of blood and gore. The gore is not what makes the film scary, however, it is used more to demonstrate the full effect of the terrors infected on the victims. These scenes are intense because the audience has more of a connection with the characters than in many other horror films. Many quiet scenes help this closeness to the characters where the characters simply talk about what is happening to them, although these scenes become fewer as the film works towards its climax.
“Evil Dead” is a smart film that knows what it is and what the fan base wants. While working to give viewers what they want and expect, it goes the extra mile and takes the risk of going against the norm for modern horror films. This works in the movie’s favor, as viewers can become more invested in this film than in most contemporary films in the genre. Though the film lacks the comedic elements of the films it is based on, it makes up for it with intense scenes filled with more scares and gore. Those looking for an enjoyable horror film with a good story and developed characters will not be disappointed by what “Evil Dead” has to offer.