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Evil Dead (AF)


Stars: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty, Sian Davis, Stephen Butterworth, Karl Willetts, Randal Wilson, Rupert Degas

Director: Fede Alvarez

When Sam Raimi's groundbreaking The Evil Dead opened in Britain in 1981 it was excoriated for its then potent violence in the British media. I ended up appearing on television with Raimi to defend him and his film. The evening, somewhat improbably, ended up with my unfortunate appearance in I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle. Sensibly perhaps, Raimi, who was also invited to appear, did not.

He returns here, along with The Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell and its producer Eli Tapet, as one of the trio of producers of this undeniably much gorier remake of Raimi's cult classic which drops the 'The' from its title but, scripted by Uruguayan-born director Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, adds contemporary horrorflick nastiness, while it sensibly stays with the original storyline, subjecting a group of 20-something American friends whose stay in a remote cabin in the woods - ostensibly to help Jane Levy overcome her drug addiction - leads to a bloody, violent outburst of horror when they open the ancient barbed-wire-bound book they find in the animal corpse-ridden basement and release an ancient demon that comes after them to claim their souls...

Gorehounds are particularly well catered for with gallons of (hopefully) fake blood filling the screen, as the luckless players are sliced, diced and generally unpleasantly disposed of. It's more vividly and credibly nasty than Raimi's version since Alvarez is able to make use of more effective effects and all-too-convincing prosthetics. The fact that there are no recognizable faces in the cast adds more than a touch of credibility to the grisly on-screen happenings of a horror film remake that, for once, doesn't disappoint. Alvarez can be proud of his first film as director.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: StudioCanal (TriStar). Colour.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 20 Apr 2013