Horror review: Evil Dead

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 5, 2013

At what point in life does the attraction of extreme gore–even to the lifelong horror fan–start to fade? It depends, I guess. All I know is, the sight of a possessed woman slicing her own tongue in half lengthwise just doesn’t do it for me any more.

If, however, the sight of a possessed woman slicing her own tongue in half lengthwise is precisely what turns your cinematic crank, have I got a film for you.

Sicko.

Evil Dead is a remake of writer-director Sam Raimi’s deliriously gruesome 1981 cult hit about five friends who travel to a rundown cabin in the woods and unwittingly unleash some particularly cranky demons. This time around the quintet isn’t just out in the boonies for kicks–they’re there to help heroin addict Mia (Jane Levy) go cold turkey before she has another overdose.

So you have to sit through some ho-hum human drama before any demonic tongue-slicing action kicks in.

It doesn’t take that long. Before you know it Mia is alone in the woods getting raped by tree roots and implanted with the demon that will soon possess her and turn the rest of the movie into an over-the-top bloodbath melding the supernatural vomit terror of The Exorcist with the sadistic nail-gun nastiness of Hostel/Saw.

The main goal of director-cowriter Fede Alvarez is clearly to take every violent scene in the original and ramp the gore level up to 11, and to his credit–and that of his makeup-FX team–he achieves that end.

It’s arguable whether Evil Dead lives up to all the hype, and it’s definitely–setting aside–no Cabin in the Woodsbut the sheer exhiliration of its final sequences could leave even the most gore-jaded critic feeling young again.

So, in memory of beloved horror-booster Roger Ebert, I’m gonna give it one hideously mangled tongues-up.

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