evildeadbdDirector: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas.

Certificate: 18

Running Time: 91 minutes

Extras:  Making Life Difficult–The Intense and Physically Exhausting Creation of the Film, Being Mia–The Physical and Psychological Transformation into “Evil Mia”, Directing The Dead–Director Fede Alvarez re-imagines a cult horror classic, Commentary featuring Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Director Fede Alvarez and Writer Rodo Sayagues, Featurette -Unleashing The Evil Force–Exploring the origins and design of the new “Book of the Dead”, Featurette – Evil Dead the Reboot–Cast Rehearsals, Bruce Campbell, Deadites and more…

Any kind of reboot, remake or sequel of a film like THE EVIL DEAD is a very brave move. Redoing Sam Raimi’s classic is like putting into production a remake of CITIZEN KANE in the eyes of horror fans,and when plans were announced to do exactly that, millions of Raimi fans squealed in horror at the mere thought of it. It was with slightly heightened delight when news came through from Hollywood that both Raimi and partner Robert Tapert, along with the film’s original star Bruce Campbell, were all going to produce it, and they had found the perfect script to do the original some justice.

You cannot really call this a remake or sequel, or indeed an update, as this is a very different movie from the 1980s original. For one, there is no Ash, the cult character that gave Bruce Campbell a career, and the lifelong following of armies of horror fans across the world, not to mention two official sequels. There’s not even a defining male lead, with director Fede Alvarez going with a new female lead character named Mia, instead of any incarnation of an Ash for the new generation. Included in this new imagining of the classic story are elements of the first movie (including the infamous tree-rape scene), and some of the second, which was, at the time of its original release, billed as a kind of sequel but also part remake too, considering they had a ton more money to throw at the screen.

Money is something that they have a lot more of here too, as well as gallons and gallons more blood. Instead of opting for the jumpy horror we’ve come to expect from the Hollywood horror machine over the past few years (read INSIDIOUS and the recently released THE CONJURING), Alvarez and co. have gone the high-octane balls-to-the-wall gruesome route, hoping to create some of the controversy of the original film through pure gore rather than cheap scares (THE EVIL DEAD was caught up in the original 1980s video nasty affair and was banned on VHS for several years).

We have strong lead in Jane Levy’s Mia, who is superb in this, her break out role. Here, Mia is a drug addict who is brought to the famous cabin in the woods on a full cold-turkey detox with the aid of her friends, substituting the now over-familiar students-having-fun-in-a-spooky-getaway that we’ve seen so much more of in the thirty-plus years since the original’s debut. It’s certainly a scenario that works, especially as the character starts to act more and more odd as the curse of the Book Of The Dead starts to take over her body, rather that the effects of coming off the hard stuff.

It is gruesome, wincing, jaw-dropping (literally) from the outset, and is not one for the first date at the movies. The film will certainly not sit pretty with some die-hard fans of the original, but EVIL DEAD is several notches above any Wes Craven reboot you’ve seen from the Platinum Dunes stable over the past decade, and well worth the price of a copy from down your local Sainsbury’s, though many other retail buying opportunities are probably available.

We would however recommend the glorious gory Blu-ray though for that true HD experience of seeing the main character’s tongue being sliced open by a Stanley knife as she licks it, or the climactic rainstorm of blood that descends upon the most famous cabin in the woods of all.

As brutal as it gets.

EXTRAS: Pretty good to be honest. Fans will lap up the behind-the-scenes interviews and featurettes with the cast and crew, especially those with the screenwriters and director Alvarez who tell all about bringing this classic back to the screen. There’s also some gold from Bruce Campbell who talks about not wanting to see his beloved Ash brought back to the screen, and his initial hesitation of agreeing to the produce a new movie. There’s also a great commentary but we would have loved to have seen Raimi included on it. All in all, a great bundle.

4-Star-New45 EVIL DEAD is available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK from Monday 12th August 2013.