If you tried, you could probably find a bigger Evil Dead fan than me. It might take a little bit, but you could. I mean, I’ve got my three T-Shirts, my Necronomicon copies of the movies on DVD in addition to several other versions, including Blu-ray transfers, I’ve got my toys, books, comics, and video games too. So while I’ll never claim to be the biggest Evil Dead fan, I can say I’m a pretty big one.
For years I’ve waited on a continuation to the story. I remember my first experiencing watching the original movie at a sleepover. It was Steve’s house, but he fell asleep early after playing too much Command & Conquer. Only me and Matt were awake and he, no joke, got a boner from the tree rape scene. There was always something off about Matt. But it wasn’t long after that I found the second. I remember Army of Darkness in theaters.
Everything Bruce Campbell wrote or said about the franchise, I ate up. Waiting to hear about Evil Dead 4. When talk turned to a remake instead of a continuation, I was upset but hopeful. Maybe Campbell would be in it. Maybe they would cast Seann William Scott and that wouldn’t be all that bad, would it? Now we have firm news that the Evil Dead reboot is moving forward – time to praise the lord? Hardly. What we know sucks and here’s why.
Well hold on a moment. First, the positives. A lot of the original creators are serving as producers. That’s about it. Hell, that might even be a bad thing. I love Bruce Campbell, but the things he’s had a lot of input on (They Call Me Bruce, The Man With the Screaming Brain) haven’t been great. Sam Raimi took the mother of all nasty, brown, bloody, putrid shits on Spider-Man with his horrific abominable abortion of a third film. So take that with a grain of salt.
Moving on – the director, a guy by the name of Fede Alvarez is going to make his debut with the remake. Nothing wrong with that – after all, Sam Raimi was on his first feature when he was making Evil Dead. Though he did make a short film, Within the Woods, that was a test for Evil Dead and it was very similar – low budget, gory, all practical effects. Fun stuff, if not great. Fede, similarly, has a short to his name, which people passed all around the internet, called Panic Attack.
While this short is nifty to look at, it’s devoid of anything close to a plot or a story. It looks like the calling card of a visual effects guy, not someone looking to direct films. The film in no way shows anything that can give us hope in terms of an Evil Dead movie. The only blood in the film is a digital spatter on the camera. The movie without CGI is nothing. The camera gets a case of the shakes here and there. Can we damn the whole project based on this? No, of course not. But we can’t really take anything away from it. A guy made a neat looking short that was dominated by retro looking CGI Robots. Nothing there says Evil Dead.
Moving on to the writing – Fede Alvarez wrote the first draft which is now being finished by none other than horror master Diablo Cody. Wait, did I say horror master? I meant shitty contemporary writer Diablo Cody. Writer of the terrifying Juno and the pop culture infused Jennifer’s Body. You could argue that it’s unfair to criticize Cody for her limited experience. I say it’s not. She’s written two movies, both of which I think are full of terrible dialog and shitty characters. It’s not “realistic” (or whatever) to have snotty teenagers use vocabularies twice that of any current high school student and to have female characters constantly reference their periods. That is not smart or witty or good. It is bad.
Seriously, thus far, all Cody has shown us that she is capable of writing is bratty, asshole teenage girls. I don’t want the ancient texts played on a hot dog shaped boombox and I don’t want Ashleigh to talk about bloody tampons. So should we be excited about Cody tweaking this script? Not me, brother.
But worse yet, far far worse than either of these things, is a single sentence in the official announcement:
“We can’t wait to scare a new generation of moviegoers using filmmaking techniques that were not available to us thirty years ago as well as Fede bringing a fresh eye to the film’s original elements.”
What the fuck? Worse sentence ever. “Filmmaking techniques that were not available to us thirty years ago?” That is Evil Dead blasphemy. These movies were low budget, dirty, and practical. The Evil Dead Companion book even had a recipe for fake blood within its pages. One can only assume that the new filmmaking techniques are going to be digital. Or 3D. Now, while 3D could be a fun gimmick in an Evil Dead flick, it could also be terribly shitty and would likely be accompanied by CGI.
If there is one movie that demands an entirely practical approach, it’s an Evil Dead film. The film that practically birthed the low-budget horror movie phenomenon. This is the movie that inspired thousands of kids to grab cameras, knives, Karo syrup, red food coloring and then head out into the woods to make movies. Filling it with CGI blood, or CGI anything, is a terrible mistake.
So to recap what we know about the upcoming Evil Dead remake: it will be helmed by a director with a CGI heavy, storyless short with a script polish by a writer who writes shitty, contemporary pop-culture dialog, and will make use of new “filmmaking techniques.” None of this sounds like an Evil Dead movie I want to see.
No one would be happier than me (except maybe those few bigger fans of the series) to see a great new Evil Dead kick off a new franchise. I’d love to see it. I want to see it. I hope to see it. If this team pulls it off, I’ll sing its praises all day long. But, if the movies goes in the direction signs are pointing, we’re in for one shitty ride straight into the ground. And I’ll be waiting there, already past my boiling point.