The word is “fluids.”
As in: mucus, pus and blood. Blood by the tankerload.
It’s what sets “Evil Dead” movies apart from just about any other horror picture you can name. It’s the leakage, seepage and projectile spewage that churns the stomach and elicits shrieks of delighted shock from fright-film obsessives.
The original “Dead,” shot on a shoestring and released to a stunned world in 1981, is an exercise in full-bore guts and gore the like of which audiences had not seen before. It put filmmaker Sam Raimi on the map and on the road to eventually directing the original “Spider-Man” trilogy and “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
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Now he’s turned the franchise (there have been two sequels) over to Uruguayan writer-director Fede Alvarez and his writing partner Rodo Sayagues with, apparently, the instruction: “Go for it.”
They went for it. And how.
The question, of course, is: What could anyone possibly do to live up to, let alone top, the original? The element of surprise is long gone. The premise of young people meeting horrible fates in a remote cabin in the woods is such a cliché it’s spawned copycats, spoofs and at least one very clever reinterpretation called, naturally, “The Cabin in the Woods.”
Alvarez chose not to spoof, but instead tried to honor and outdo Raimi’s “Dead” with gruesome excess. After supplying a bit more back story than was found in the original, about a group of five friends holing up in the cabin in question to try to help a young addict named Mia (Jane Levy) go cold turkey, the gruesome goings-on begin. One idiot recites an incantation from an ancient barbed-wire-bound book of spells and lets loose a soul-stealing demon.
Mutilation, meet amputation. Put down the electric knife, woman. You might hurt someb … Aieeee! And what’s up with that chain saw?
Peeking through one’s fingers, one gasps, “Dear Lord, did I just see what I saw?”
And so the fluids flow, along with audience screams and laughs. For fans of hard-core horror, “Evil Dead” definitely delivers.
Soren Andersen: firstname.lastname@example.org