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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Fede Alvarez
Cast:
Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty
Writing Credits:
Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues, Sam Raimi (based on the motion picture The Evil Dead, written by)

Tagline:
The most terrifying film you will ever experience.

Synopsis:
A secluded cabin. An ancient curse. An unrelenting evil. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell reunite to present a genuinely terrifying re-imagining of their original horror masterpiece. Five young friends have found the mysterious and fiercely powerful "Book of the Dead". Unable to resist its temptation, they release a violent demon on a blood-thirsty quest to possess them all. Who will be left to fight for their survival and defeat this unearthly force of murderous carnage?

Box Office:
Budget
$17 million.
Opening Weekend
$25.775 million on 3025 screens.
Domestic Gross
$54.239 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Chinese Traditional
French
Indonesian
Korean
Spanish
Portuguese
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Chinese
Korean
Portuguese
Spanish
Thai

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 7/16/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Fede Alvarez, Writer Rodo Sayagues and Actors Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas
• “Directing the Dead” Featurette
• “Evil Dead The Reboot” Featurette
• “Making Life Difficult” Featurette
• “Unleashing the Evil Force” Featurette
• “Being Mia” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Evil Dead [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 17, 2013)

Hollywood’s parade of horror remakes continues via 2013’s Evil Dead, a new take on the franchise Sam Raimi launched in 1982. At the start of the flick, we meet five 20-something friends who gather at a remote cabin. The group includes David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), his sister Mia (Jane Levy), and friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas). They’re all there to support Mia as she tries to quit her drug habit.

In the cabin’s cellar, they find something called the “Book of the Dead” and when Eric reads from it, it appears that evil forces emerge and assault Mia. The others believe she’s just going bonkers from withdrawal, but they eventually realize that something sinister and supernatural is at work.

As much as filmgoers bemoan Hollywood’s succession of remakes, I do think that they can act as more than just cash-ins. In particular, the horror genre remains ripe for reworking, as I think a few of those new versions top the originals.

I won’t make that claim for the 2013 Evil Dead; while it’s a much more professional endeavor than the low-budget, DIY 1982 original, I can’t say it’s truly superior. That said, it does boast some strengths and it comes across as a satisfying reinvention.

Unlike Raimi’s over the top comedic version, the 2013 Dead more fully embraces straight horror. Really, it often feels more like a mash-up of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Exorcist than anything else, and it almost entirely omits the humor of the original Dead.

Some fans may dislike this alteration, but I’m glad the 2013 flick went away from the humor of the first film and its sequels. Raimi’s brand of craziness works well for those flicks but attempts to recreate his style of comedy would feel tired and imitative. It makes more sense for the new Dead to take a different path and not just emulate its predecessors.

I like some of the film’s story changes as well. The choice to make Mia – the first victim of the supernatural forces – a drug addict going through withdrawal allows for us to understand why the others don’t immediately recognize her affliction. Her demonic possession looks a lot like the DTs and lets the story avoid the usual perplexing moments in which the characters look like morons because they don’t recognize what’s really happening. I won’t call this a believable tale, of course, but it brings a sense of realism often absent from the genre.

It also provides some pretty good scares. Sure, it occasionally throws out the “boo” moments that so many modern films confuse for actual horror, but it minimizes these and more often opts for elements that actually frighten – or at least unnerve. I don’t know how often Dead seems terrifying, but it involves us in its disturbing world to a solid degree and doesn’t let go.

On the negative side, none of the actors manage to create particularly interesting personalities – we certainly don’t find anyone as compelling as Bruce Campbell’s Ash – and the remake loses the inherent sense of filmmakers with nothing to lose that lent the Raimi series its anarchic tone. As inevitably occurs with a remake, originality goes out the window; even though the 2013 Dead avoids slavish devotion to the first flick, it still nods toward it enough that one would be hard-pressed to go this a really fresh experience.

Nonetheless, I think the remake succeeds a lot better than I believed it would. I’ve seen so many crummy horror movies in recent years that I’d begun to give up on the genre, but the 2013 Evil Dead inspires some hope. It delivers a relentless, bloody experience that manages to pack a pretty good punch.

Footnote: stick around through the credits for a little surprise at the end.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Evil Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a strong transfer.

Sharpness looked terrific. At no time did I discern any instances of softness or ill-defined shots. Instead, the movie consistently came across as nicely accurate and concise. I saw no issues connected to jagged edges or shimmering, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. The movie lacked any examples of print flaws, as I witnessed no specks, marks, or other defects during this clean and smooth presentation.

Dead gave us a pretty restricted palette, with an emphasis on a somewhat sepia look. The colors were appropriately vivid when necessary and seemed accurately depicted. Black levels also came across well, while low-light shots seemed clear and adequately visible. Shadow was clean and tight. Given the darkness seen in much of the film, those components became especially important, so their high quality was an important factor in the success of the transfer. Overall, the image of Dead appeared solid.

Dead didn’t present a tremendously ambitious DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield, but the audio seemed to accentuate the visuals well. It mixed creepy atmosphere with a mix of jolts and “assault moments” from the rear.

In the front, the track showed good stereo music and presented various elements in a logical and natural manner. The elements blended neatly and created a seamless sense of the environment. From the rear, thunder and aggressive violent components added kick to the proceedings and made the mix more immersive and involving.

Audio quality seemed positive. Dialogue consistently appeared natural and crisp, with no edginess or intelligibility issues on display. Music was clear and dynamic. The score seemed broadly reproduced and complemented the mix nicely.

Effects mostly stayed in the low-key realm, but they always were distinctive and concise, and the mix boasted fine clarity for the louder moments. Bass response always seemed rich and firm. The mix lacked the ambition to reach “A” level, but it earned a solid “B+” as a fine soundtrack.

Within the set’s extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Fede Alvarez, writer Rodo Sayagues and actors Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas. All five sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the original film and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, stunts and action, music, editing, and other topics.

All in all, the commentary covers the film fairly well. Yeah, it occasionally bogs down in praise – usually in the form of “I love this shot” remarks – but it still manages to give us a positive overview of the production. Don’t expect greatness from it, but it informs well enough,

Five featurettes follow. Directing the Dead goes for seven minutes, 25 seconds and provides notes from Alvarez, Levy and actor Elizabeth Blackmore. The show looks at “realism”, rehearsals and working with the actors, cast and performances, and the tone on the set. Nothing spectacular arises here, but we get some decent notes and a few nice glimpses of the shoot.

During the nine-minute, 50-second Evil Dead The Reboot, we hear from Alvarez, Sayagues, Levy, producers Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell, and executive producer JR Young. We hear about the adaptation of the original film and issues related to that topic. We don’t get much about this subject in the commentary, so “Reboot” helps flesh out the area well.

With Making Life Difficult, we find an eight-minute, 13-second piece with Alvarez and Levy. This one concentrates on the physical hardships the Mia role placed on Levy. We find more good footage from the set and receive a nice understanding of what she experienced.

Unleashing the Evil Force runs five minutes, seven seconds and features Tapert, Young, Campbell, and Pucci. They discuss the film’s “Book of the Dead” and supernatural elements in the film. It feels more like a primer than anything else, but it delivers a few good notes.

Finally, Being Mia lasts nine minutes, 13 seconds and delivers comments from Alvarez and Levy. She mostly delivers a video diary that shows us her makeup transformation into “evil Mia” and other aspects of her typical day. It’s a nice complement to “Difficult”.

The disc opens with ads for Olympus Has Fallen, Breakout and Magic Magic. Previews adds promos for Dead Man Down, The Call and The Last Exorcism Part II. No trailer for Evil Dead appears here.

Without Sam Raimi at the helm, I figured the 2013 Evil Dead remake would end up as a one-dimensional retread. However, it delivers its own tone and sensibility as it throws a dark, horrific tale our way. The 2013 film lacks the original’s crazed anarchy, but it does well in its own right. The Blu-ray presents excellent visuals, very good audio and a fairly useful set of bonus materials. This Dead helps reinvent the original and works well in its own right.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1666 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main