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Evil Dead (2013) - Blu-ray Review

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Evil Dead - Movie Review

4 stars

Sam Raimi’s spooky old cabin – isolated in the deep, dark, twisted woods of rural, America – somehow exists outside of time.  The newly reimagined Evil Dead – appearing some thirty plus years after the original film - is proof of that anomaly.  As if no one has dared to open its creaky front door since Bruce Campbell attached a chainsaw to his arm and went hunting down the dead, the cabin stands undisturbed.  That is, until now…

Enter film maverick Fede Alvarez.  With a groovy swagger reminiscent of Raimi himself and a deft visual sense of gore, Alvarez proves to be the director needed to reinvigorate the manic mojo of the stalled-out Evil Dead series.  He dares disturb the pages of the Book of the Dead.  While it doesn’t re-define the horror genre like The Cabin in the Woods did, Alvarez’s Evil Dead manages to do the next best thing: it satisfies.

Honoring the original without insulting audiences who have never seen it, Evil Dead gets a solid shake-out from the auteur of a robot invasion that became somewhat of a YouTube sensation.  First-time filmmakers rarely are this confident.  Alvarez, thrust into the big league spotlight with this release, is all about confidence.  Produced by Raimi and Campbell, he has every right to be so assured.  Yes, it’s a familiar set-up – a lone cabin in the woods complete with a tool shed and a trap door – and, while never as clever as it ought to be, Evil Dead succeeds at genuine horror in what goes down as probably the goriest film you’ll see all year long.

The original premise of teens on Spring Break gets a bit of an update and provides reason for this round of teenagers – actors Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore – to travel (or is it return?) to the cabin.  It’s a drug intervention for Levy’s character but the demons she’ll be fighting this time are real.  Much like most addictions, it’s the people around the addicted that get hurt the most.

What happens in Evil Dead (including its violently perverted tree sequence), is no different.  Incantations are spoken.  Books come alive.  Demons rise.  Souls are swallowed.  Bravely, however, the role of Ash (made famous by Campbell) is not recast.  In fact, there is no Ash.  An Ashless Evil Dead?  Yes, and it works.  And – wait for it – there’s a reason.  There are big plans in the works for the franchise.  Stay for the credits.  I can say no more, Ghouls and Gorehounds.

This type of no-holds-barred horror will have those who “get” it cheering. Others – not aware of what they are in store for - will be puking.  In fact, there is a profound excitement over the film already – driven by the strong word of mouth from SXSW – which is proof enough that remakes don’t have to automatically suck.  Alvarez is the right man for this film.  Fans will fist pump the air as Evil Dead homages abound and grin as they hear dialogue that references the original fun throughout.  Prepare then to get supremely excited when the film deviates from the familiar in the final arc of the narrative and still nails its ending.  It is truly then – as Levy fights her way free from confinement - that Alvarez’s work becomes fresh and original.

Yet, the film will have its detractors.  From exposition danglers to the acting, Evil Dead (much like the original film's initial reaction) isn’t a perfect film - but it is fun.  We know this story and Alvarez, thankfully, knows that you are here to see mutilation upon mutilation.  And he delivers.  Power tools and demons; a deadly combination.  The reimagining of Evil Dead maybe isn’t smart enough to completely rotate your head (and the genre) like The Cabin in the Woods did last year but – in a post The Cabin the Woods world - it is … groovy.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Evil Dead - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language.
Director
: Fede Alvarez
Writer: Fede Alvarez; Diablo Cody
Cast: Jane Levy; Shiloh Fernandez; Jessica Lucas
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
The most terrifying film you will ever experience.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I will feast on your soul!"
Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
www.evildead-movie.com
Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 16, 2013.

Synopsis: The film depicts five college students and their vacation in an isolated cabin in the woods, which turns into a nightmare when they find an audiotape that is a key to unlocking evil spirits.

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Evil Dead - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
4 stars
 
5 Stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 16, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Thai
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Region-free

The Evil Dead remake debuts unto Blu-ray with a fantastic 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blood-splattered encode that does not disappoint too much. The fresh digital-to-digital transfer is highly-detailed with excellent clarity of the aged cabin and surrounding foliage.  Textures are strong throughout.  Colors appear subdued and restrained, adding to the story's gloom and doom, but primaries remain accurate and cleanly rendered, especially the blood. Black levels are a bit disappointing though and take away some from the intended picture.  The strong DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack will scare you into unconsciousness with its sound design and active soundscape.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Fede Alvarez and co-writer Rodo Sayagues along with Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas provide the commentary.  It’s interesting for fans of the movie and has a lot of good information about the making of the film and its future.

Special Features:

Along with the UltraViolet Digital Copy, Sony offers a few high-def supplementals to make this a worthwhile purchase.  You get Behind the Scenes footage and commentary from actress Jane Levy, the heavy toll of making a horror film, special director footage and commentary from Fede Alvarez, and input from original creators Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell on the remake.  Unfortunately, it only contains the R-rated theatrical version of the movie, not the much-hoped-for unrated cut that was handed an NC-17 rating.

  • Being Mia (9 min)
  • Making Life Difficult (8 min)
  • Directing the Dead (7 min)
  • Unleashing the Evil Force (5 min)
  • Evil Dead the Reboot (10 min)

 

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