EVIL DEAD directed by Fede Alvarez, written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues based on The Evil Dead by Sam Raimi, with Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore. A Sony Pictures release. 90 minutes. Opens Friday (April 5). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
Don't expect any wisecracks or Three Stooges-style comedy from the new Evil Dead. With the blessing (and oversight) of series creators Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell, Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez delivers a remake that honours the gruesome original's mission statement: it's the ultimate experience in gruelling horror.
As before, the movie chronicles the awful things that befall a quintet of young people who make the mistake of opening the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (roughly translated, "Book Of The Dead") at a remote cottage.
This time, our victims have a bit more baggage, having assembled to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick a heroin habit - which cleverly allows them to dismiss her freaked-out warnings of something awful lurking in the woods.
You'd think it'd be difficult to make an effective cabin-in-the-woods splatter movie just a year after The Cabin In The Woods supposedly buried that whole genre. But Alvarez establishes a tone of uncomfortable intensity and twists the sickening tension through one bravura effects sequence after another.
And the ending is, well, splatteriffic.