Or the Pit of Hell. We Report! We Speculate Wildly!
The Evil Dead is known for a lot of things. Kickstarting a generation or two of low-budget horror. Freaky trees. More movies. That comedy show that it is tangentially related to. For a movie about being overwhelmed by the dead who are evil, Evil Dead has certainly overwhelmed us, who are living. But Sam Raimi, the man behind the big heavy book you probably shouldn’t chant from, in talks with Skydance Media to take his morbid scrolls and dump them in a corner of the Atlantic Ocean. In the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, to be precise.
But marine traffic in the Devil’s Triangle’s is already crowded: Skydance’s project is one of three currently in production by a major Hollywood studio. Juliet Snowden and Stiles White (makers of the original Ouija and the not last year’s superior prequel), last we heard, were pushing a script “set in the legendary Caribbean area” back and forth at Universal for the past two years. Even more cursed and prehistoric, however, is the “mid-six figure deal” that Warner Bros. closed back in 2013 with a fellow named Daniel Kunka (12 Rounds) for a movie, at the time, titled The Bermuda Triangle. What is it titled now? Who will star, direct, or watch these various frothy entertainments? Production mysteries, all.
In fact, production on these projects has remained a mystery for so long, that the actual mystery of the Bermuda triangle was purported to be solved in a facetiously-edited documentary on Discovery’s Science Channel. Or actually was, depending on who you read. Perhaps some scripts had to be rewritten after the Daily Mail was brave enough to ask, last year: “Is there a crystal pyramid below the Bermuda Triangle?” But Skydance’s project, despite apparently being the furthest ahead, is the most recent vertex of this triangle, as it dates to 2015: when Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard (Prince of Persia) were hired by Skydance to rewrite a script that Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Shark Tale, the Friday the 13th reboot) had sold them. A script that is being kept as secure as I would keep my Necronomicon: per The Hollywood Reporter, Raimi and others had to secretly read the new script while cloistered inside an office building in Hollywood.
So what will Raimi bring to this potentially monotonous or not boon in the Bermuda triangle? He has certainly done his share of projects that don’t involve mysterious spirits and the curses they bear – namely the original Spiderman trilogy and his last movie was an odd investment in the idea of James Franco as a likable actor – but his entry into a triangle where things mysteriously disappear strikes me as Raimi’s home turf.
Raimi’s post-Spiderman critical revival has been powered by this very return to roots. His first movie after the much-maligned Spiderman 3, the hyperactive horror punch of Drag Me to Hell had all the tight and campy thrills of his earlier work combined with the kind of bright visual colors that $30 million can buy. Critics loved it! It won the kinds of awards horror movies win! In the press for his next number, Oz the Great and Powerful, he told Vulture that he “was very unhappy with Spider-Man 3,” and that he had turned down the immense piles of money that would have been Spiderman 4 and his version of World of Warcraft because the scripts he was handed would have made movies that were “less than great.” Oz may have been manufactured inside the confines of Disney studio but Raimi decorated Franco into the kind of uncannily embalmed hero that populated Raimi’s best work. Germain Lussier, over at /Film, called Oz “basically Army of Darkness,” referring to the third installment in Raimi’s Evil Dead series, where its titular evil force is found to originate in the Middle Ages.
If Raimi can turn Disney’s Wizard of Oz reboot into, essentially, another Evil Dead movie then I don’t think whatever plush little mystery-under-the sea that Miro and Bernard have cooked up and hidden away in a Hollywood office building stands much of a chance. Will his antic shots overwhelm us and thrust us into a world where control slips away from our fingers, as if it is hell itself that we have crashed into? Will ocean waves grab an imperiled love interest with a grip that feels almost human? Will the root of centuries of crashed ships be traced down to the curse that an affable protagonist accrued by not giving a loan to a strange elderly woman? I sure think so!