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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Evil Dead | Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
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Evil Dead | Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore | Review

It’s back to the little innocuous-looking cabin in the woods, where a hidden Book of the Dead lies bound in barbed-wire and unmolested in the creepy, dead-cat mobile cellar until…

Five young adults visit the cabin and unearth its secrets, none of which are pretty or life-affirming.  Demonic possession ensues and the quintet loses members at a frightening pace.  That’s about the only fright that takes place in this literal bloodbath that’s more sickening than scary.  Fans of graphic disfigurement should swoon.

The teeny tiny plot threaded throughout all of the carnage has recovering addict Mia (Jane Levy) her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and three friends ( Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore) one of whom is a nurse, convening at the cabin for a farewell to drugs ceremony for Mia that none of them believe is permanent.  They resolve not to let her leave under any circumstances.

Meanwhile a smell coming from the depths of the cellar reveal hanging cat corpses and a strange book covered in barbed wire.  Oh yes, someone must investigate the blood spattered contents and everyone must pay the price.

More hack ‘em up than horror, this remake pales in comparison to Raimi’s iconic 1981 original.  Hey!  Maybe that’s what he and co-producer Bruce Campbell, star of the first trilogy of “Deads” were aiming for. Theirs is so superior to this gratuitous gore-fest, that it ensures an immortality of sorts within the genre.

A no-name cast gives you more reason not to care about them as they chop, slice, stab and mutilate themselves and each other.  Blood flows, spurts, rains and pools in the front yard.  Still, there are fans for this sort of action so profitable box office returns just might lead to a sequel featuring even more corpses and corpuscles.

At least first-time director Fede Alvarez revisits the rapid-race-through-the-woods-shot to illustrate a demon’s awakening, eliciting a mild nostalgia for the original film.  There are co-starring roles for a chainsaw and an electric carving knife and a box cutter.  Since one of the cabin’s visitor/victims is a nurse, there’s some violent syringe action as well.

Alvarez’ food processor of a film removes its predecessor’s clever, tongue in cheek terror and charismatic leading man and replaces it with…blood.  Buckets of it.  Academy Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) polished the script, co-written with Alvarez, and parts of the dialogue, especially the possessed Mia’s diatribes will bring The Exorcist to mind.

If only that came with the power to spin one’s head around so that it’s not facing the screen.

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