Of all the blemishes on modern cinema, the most prominent is the lack of originality. Remakes are en vogue and are being put out at a relentless pace.
They're all unnecessary. But if one decides to revisit a film, the hope it it will be a drastic reinterpretation of the first, to at least provide a variation of a theme.
In this respect, you can consider the remake of Sam Raimi's horror classic 1981 'The Evil Dead' a modest success.
The original movie is beloved for its ragged charm that alternates between being amateurish to moments of novel filmmaking, thanks to its bizarre camera angles and go for broke attitude. And its humor, which was given its biggest jolt by lead actor Bruce Campbell.
The 2013 remake is produced by both Campbell and Raimi, and with the exception of most perfunctory story elements takes a decidedly different tone.
In this version, the twenty-something folks who take place in the haunted cabin aren't there for pleasure. They're helping their friend Mia go cold turkey off her drug addiction.
And while doing so, they stumble on the Book Of The Dead, unleash the evil spell and are plunged into horrific chaos.
Like the original, 'Evil Dead' is punctuated by moments of over-the-top gore. Refreshingly, this is a CGI-free movie. The practical effects lend itself to old-school visceral textures.
There are some truly squeamish moments. While the scares take second place, there are some good jolts.
The tone of the film is very straightforward, and like much modern horror, obsessed with torture and an unrelenting bleak tone.
'Dead' was directed by Fede Alvarez, who keeps the intensity flowing, but in a more straightforward manner than Raimi's film. Tricky camera angles are kept to a bare minimum.
The world could have gotten on just fine without a remake of 'Evil Dead,' It doesn't elevate the genre. But it keeps your attention, and doesn't denigrate the original. Horror fans should find it entertaining, but it might not warrant repeat viewings, and make one pine for the simple charms of its namesake.
'Evil Dead' was released on DVD and Blu-ray July 16th, 2013 and is Rated R.