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The 2013 Remake of Evil Dead Is Better Than the Original

India has been an avid fan of all things spooky and scary ever since she can remember.

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David: “Don’t worry Natalie, you’re going to be just fine.”

Eric: “Dude, she just chopped her fxxxing arm off!”

— Evil Dead, 2013

I’d like to start by saying that if you’re a fan of the original Evil Dead, please don’t come for me. As much as I enjoy the campiness of the 1981 version, I found the 2013 remake cleverer and more compelling. Perhaps that’s because the film was created with the awareness that, despite its vastly improved special effects, it remains a typical tale about a group of young people who happen to stay in the worst possible cabin in the woods. (Too bad they don’t come with a warning label.) As a result, director Fede Alvarez’s balances genuinely scary scenes with much-needed moments of levity (especially toward the end). Evil Dead may make you roll your eyes at times, but it will also make you think.

Despite its clear connection to the original Evil Dead, the twenty-first-century version does diverge from the 1981 plot. Instead of following Ash Williams, it focuses on Mia (Jane Levy), an addict determined to get clean. However, rather than going to rehab she's chosen to detox in the family cabin (red flag #1). Along with her brother, his girlfriend, and her childhood friends, Mia vows to do whatever it takes to kick her habit. Of course, our plucky protagonist's resolve doesn’t last long, and she tries to return to the city (seeing as how one of her friends is a nurse, the group really should have anticipated this). However, the others stop Mia from leaving, stating that they can’t stand to watch her kill herself. Of course, they soon learn that Mia isn’t the only one in danger…

As I mentioned earlier, 2013’s Evil Dead is a movie with two faces. On the one hand, it’s a bloody yet light-hearted romp featuring chainsaws, cheesy one-liners, and questionable logic. (Case in point: books bound in human skin and barbed wire are best left alone. I’m looking at you, Eric!) On the other, it’s a tale of two siblings struggling to repair their relationship. Alvarez uses David’s struggle to help Mia overcome her addiction and Mia’s struggle to forgive him for abandoning her to meditate on the lengths people will go to save their loved ones. For despite the secrets, lies, and misunderstandings which drove them apart, ultimately it is Mia’s love for her brother which gives her the strength to conquer her demons—both literally and figuratively—and emerge victorious.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2022 India LaPalme

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