And while the original had a conventional slasher-flick setup — a co-ed spring break trip to the woods — this one offers more justification for the remote setting and the characters' reluctance to leave when things start to go south: Mia is a drug addict, and her brother and their friends have come to the family cabin to nurse her through a cold-turkey withdrawal. Having already steeled themselves to ignore her pleas to go home, Mia's friends at first mistake the evidence of her possession for drug-sick desperation.
Not that this misinterpretation can last for long — what with Mia's flesh bubbling up into a scarier version of Linda Blair's “Exorcist” visage, and her new habit of trying to kill her pals and spouting demon-voiced promises that none will live until dawn, it's pretty clear heroin isn't her only problem. Lou Taylor Pucci's Eric, having discovered a mysterious book full of supernatural lore — fans recognize it as the Necronomicon, bound in human skin and full of “never repeat these magic words”-type warnings, destined to be ignored — diagnoses Mia's condition after having set demons loose in the first place. But he's too late to keep her from biting some of their friends, allowing spirits to overtake them as well.
Pucci is this “Evil Dead's” most charismatic cast member, but Alvarez and his co-writer Rodo Sayagues give him only one wisecrack in the whole film. Instead Alvarez and his crack effects team work to make our stomachs turn. From the initial attack on Mia — the infamous “tree rape” scene — to the literal rainstorm of blood that accompanies the climax, “Evil Dead” delivers satisfyingly disgusting effects that serve an ever-accelerating action pace.
Film review'Evil Dead'
What: This bloody, gory remake retains the five-youths-in-a-cabin premise but renames the characters and changes some relationships so it's not exactly like the original.
Where playing: Carmike-Dupont Road, Carmike-Jefferson Pointe, Coldwater, Huntington 7
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Rating: R for strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language.