Friday, November 22, 2013

Film Review: Evil Dead

Copyright: Sony Pictures
This picture shows everything that was, and still is great about splatter horror.

Since a certain imaginary hostel in Eastern Europe became a shrine where mainstream modern torture film was born, and Saw franchise began to regularly devise more and more sadistic dilemmas for its characters, humanity received a new phenomenon called torture porn. Yes, we collectively began to use the word "porn" to describe things.

Just as pornography denounces any resemblance to an actual sexual intercourse and chooses to stylize them to the point where they completely lose touch with reality, so have the directors of horror films began to express suffering.

However, while the scenes of real violence cause nausea and leave serious consequences to the viewers (this lesson of human behavior became clear in various army testing laboratories when the military unsuccessfully experimented with violence desensitization), cinematic torture is more acceptable to our eyes. We know it's not real, but it still manages to press the right mental buttons.

Evil Dead has a lot of violence. It’s neck deep in scenes of bloodletting and various dismemberment, but it’s not torture porn. Instead, its director opted for something much older - it is truly a purebred splatter horror, a genre that was drowned by the sheer weight of its newer and harsher cousin. In this semi-remake/semi-continuation of the famous work by Sam Raimi, a group of young people travel to an isolated cabin in the woods. Their goal is to take one of them off drugs by going cold turkey. Instead, they discover a weird chamber beneath the cabin and unintentionally summon a demonic evil. Very soon, their stay in the woods becomes a struggle for survival .

Splatter is a genre that glorifies bloody violence to a nearly comical level. All the right elements of that genre are in this movie: sawed-off shotguns, nail guns and of course, an indispensable tool from the Evil Dead series, the glorious chainsaw.

The film was directed by the newcomer Fede Alvarez. He achieved a spectacular pace in his first full-featured movie, accompanied by a young and fairly unknown cast. Raimi and the iconic Bruce Campbell acted as producers and together successfully overcome the generational gap as well as the unrealistic expectations of the now middle-aged fans of the original series.

Evil Dead didn’t conform to current trends. Instead it remained within the same framework that had been outlined decades ago (albeit with the absence of the comedic side). It’s a very modern film, devoted to scaring us, and not making us nauseous like I Spit on Your Grave 2 tried to do.

With sharpness that exceeds the standard teens-in-the-forest horror, Evil Dead is a great splatter revival.