I have one thing to say about the teaser for the EVIL DEAD remake: Ugh. Anything else I have to say is not fit for polite company.
Since we don’t just cut-and-paste here and there may be as many as three people out there who like to read my inane ramblings, I suppose I should share more of my feelings about this teaser. And share I will.
Fans of the original, film geeks, horror fans and even audiences in general – we’ve all been duped. Ever since they announced that a remake of THE EVIL DEAD was in production years ago, very few people were excited about it. By that time, the horror remake craze was already in full swing and it was predictably underwhelming. Independent filmmaker Dante Tomaselli even lobbied for the job of directing EVIL DEAD himself because under him, he would at least try to add a new spin on the material. From the looks of things, people should have taken both his and my advice because it looks like we’re getting more of the same.
For those unaware, THE EVIL DEAD was the first film from Sam Raimi. It was a small film, made independently by a group of plucky college students. It told the story of a cabin in the woods where a bunch of kids accidentally unleash evil spirits that wind up possessing and killing them off. Pretty simple, but we hadn’t seen many films like that back then. EVIL DEAD was one of the archetypes for this tried and true formula. Moreover, it was directed brilliantly, with improvised special effects and camera techniques, some created with nothing more than a 2×4. It’s a horror classic and is required viewing for anyone who takes their films seriously.
In the years since the new EVIL DEAD was announced, everyone involved was trying to convince us that this isn’t just a regurgitation of what came before. After all, several creators of the original were producing this one. Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell himself were assuring us that this is a balls-out horror film, for lack of a better term. This would be different. It’s not like the dozens of other remakes out there. Pshaw! How could you suggest such a thing?
But from the looks of this teaser, a regurgitation is exactly what the new EVIL DEAD is, both figuratively and literally.
The film looks slick, very slick. That was never in question. Everything is lit like a Tool music video from 2003. There is a lot of blood and bodily fluids and it looks completely intense. I am not disputing that at all. In fact, it looks exactly like the original EVIL DEAD and that’s the problem.
This trailer sums up everything I hate about modern filmmaking. It’s very slick, very polished and has absolutely no soul whatsoever. I could guess where many of the scenes featured in the teaser occur in the final film, and the reason I could do that is that I had seen them – or some approximation of them – many times before. You can too. It’s on DVD, Blu-ray, VHS, Beta, streaming and if seeing this really makes you want to stick it to someone, a damn torrent. This teaser shows us nothing we didn’t see thirty years ago.
Raimi had the opportunity to do the same thing again as well, when he got the chance to do EVIL DEAD II. Like this film, it involved a similar plot and a bigger budget. But instead of just copying what he had done before, he spent the first 10 minutes remaking the first film with just two people and then spent the next 75 minutes turning that film and horror films in general on their head.
The film may wind up being a decent movie. Why not? The original EVIL DEAD was a fantastic movie and this is repeating it. No, this is something much, much worse. This is an unnecessary movie. Seriously, take a look at that teaser and find me the point, one that has nothing to do with marketing or the bottom dollar. You can’t. It is more fast food for the masses, being shoveled into their fat, gaping maws, soon to be excreted in a manner not entirely different from the way it went in. This one is for the kids, the young audience, the teens – or at least the absolute dumbest and most easily swayed members of that demographic. Hollywood is once again cynically turning them into numbers on an Excel spreadsheet and judging that there is some more cash to squeeze out of this demographic, are doing the bare minimum in an attempt to separate young people from their money. Most depressing of all, it will probably work.
And yes, moves like this do tarnish the original because for future generations that could discover the original film like my friends and I did, it threatens to relegate it to the realm of irrelevancy. Not that anyone, not even the original creators, seem to care. There’s money to be made.
Keep in mind that this rant is based purely on the teaser trailer. The final film could turn out completely different. It could be something fresh and new. But I wouldn’t count on it. After years of saying this time it would be different, this is their first marketing push for the new EVIL DEAD and it’s a punch to the gut.
The new film is directed by first-timer Fede Alvarez. It stars Jane Levy (FUN SIZE, SUBURGATORY), Shiloh Fernandez (RED RIDING HOOD, DEADGIRL) and Jessica Lewis (CLOVERFIELD, MELROSE PLACE). It will be released in spring 2013, if you still care. I no longer do.