By Ohad Amram Staff Writer
Fede Alvarez’s feature film debut, “Evil Dead,” pays homage to the 1981 Sam Raimi original in a spell-binding, grotesque account of horror. Raimi was one of the producers on board for the remake, alongside the star of the original, Bruce Campbell. Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Diablo Cody (“Juno”), co-wrote the screenplay for “Evil Dead” with Alvarez, Raimi, and Rodo Sayagues. The original cult-classic of ’81 remains, to this day, one of the most iconic cabin horror films ever made. This is the result of Sam Raimi’s visionary storytelling and crippling camera use, both of which are incorporated in the remake. Jane Levy (“Suburgatory”), who plays Mia, gives a quite the memorable performance as the troubled addict held in an old family cabin by her friends for a forced detox. There, she and four friends encounter a book containing satanic scriptures that, upon opening, unleash the demons within. At, an hour and a half running time, this remake accomplishes something that many horror films, let alone remakes, cannot manage to do today, which is to be good. “Evil Dead” encapsulates nearly every plot point of the original; however, the film is not a shot-for-shot remake. This, in turn, is what is most likely to appeal to fans of the original, and is likely to attract new fans of horror as well. The stark lighting and eerie visuals make for a paralyzing combination. Not to mention that “Evil Dead” has got to be one of the few films of such violent stature to obtain a wide release. Though the film may not be the scariest to be made in recent years, “Evil Dead” proves that there is still potential in reinventing the horror genre. The remake is by no means as funny as the original, but then most of the original humor was unintentional, derived of the amateur makeup and old-school special effects. “Evil Dead” is fantastic in the way that most of the effects are not the product of CGI, but are rather simply effects. Alvarez ambitious filmmaker set out to take a more serious approach to this remake rather than a comedic one. This may be due in part to the fact that many comedic horror films of today miss the mark in terms of comedy. Alvarez continuously walks the thin line between gore and hilarity. Despite typical difficulties that take away from horror films of today, such as forced character buildup and an immediate call to action by all characters without any backstory on their lives, “Evil Dead” executes on exactly all of the qualities that it set to deliver. Horror enthusiasts and fans of the original should be more than pleased with this remake. Viewers are sure to jump, cringe, and even laugh. Could “Evil Dead” be the start to a trilogy, much like the original? Who knows; the success of this captivating remake just might spur interest in executives for a launch of a trilogy. One thing is certain: “Evil Dead” bears an uncanny resemblance to true ‘80s horror -- a feat not many current horror films can pride themselves on.