Evil Dead reviews have trickled in from the showing at SXSW, and top critics are showing some early division as to whether the remake to Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror classic works.
Fangoria awarded the film 2 out of 4 skulls, with reviewer Aaron Hillis stating “there were too many cheap jump-scares and jarring volume-cranking to say Evil Dead is ever particularly scary.”
Hillis pointed out that Bruce Campbell replacement Shiloh Fernandez is “too humorless to fill Campbell’s giant shoes,” though those who have seen the original will remember Campbell was pretty humorless and didn’t become the Chin fans know and love until Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.
Nevertheless, Hillis calls Evil Dead “just another remake,” adding that “it’s missing the idiosyncratic voice and originality that elevates a genre movie to cult legend.”
As lacking in promise as all that sounds, Hillis admitted the film finally won him over with a gruesome scene involving an electronic slicer and “the most hardcore, tendon-stretching dismemberment of recent years.”
Scott Weinberg of FEARnet also gave props to the film’s bloodletting, albeit in a more optimistic tone, calling Evil Dead “a fast-paced, gut-punch, splatter-fest of a remake that will almost certainly please the old fans… entice a bunch of new ones, and thoroughly disgust anyone who happens to think that Evil Dead is some sort of low-key supernatural thriller.”
Weinberg also liked the fact Alvarez went with latex and fake blood over “digital silliness,” a point to which Hillis and Film.com‘s William Goss agree.
Goss nixed the idea the Evil Dead remake is “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience,” as the marketing indicated, but his “B” rating (“A to F scale”) called the film “the gnarliest mainstream horror release in recent memory,” adding that the film has a “generally proud sense of punishment.”
Fans have been waiting for Evil Dead reviews to make sure the new team hasn’t screwed anything up from the series they know and love.
Following a red band trailer release and the news the remake narrowly avoided an NC-17 rating, anticipation has gone from “better not screw this up” to one of genuine excitement. There is even a sequel in the works to this and the original series, though it is hard to imagine Raimi and company pulling that off.
With remake Evil Dead reviews now coming in, are you still excited to take another trip to the bloodiest little cabin in the woods?