In 1981, independent horror film The Evil Dead was released – going on to launch a now iconic franchise of five movies and a TV show.
While the original was beloved by horror fans and became a huge box office hit, the Sam Raimi-directed flick did spark controversy due to its extreme levels of gore and graphic violence – leading it to be banned in several countries including Ireland.
By the time it’s remake – 2013’s Evil Dead – landed in theatres, censorship standards had loosened significantly, with the re-imagining earning a wide cinema release.
That’s not to say, however, that the remake – directed by Fede Álvarez (Don’t Breathe, the upcoming Alien: Romulus) – didn’t earn its 18 rating in Ireland and the UK and then some.
The 2013 horror film centres on Mia (Jane Levy), a drug addict determined to kick the habit.
To help with this, she asks her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) and their friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) to accompany her to their family’s remote forest cabin to help her through withdrawal.
“Eric finds a mysterious Book of the Dead at the cabin and reads aloud from it, awakening an ancient demon. All hell breaks loose when the malevolent entity possesses Mia,” the plot synopsis reads.
Boasting an incredible poster with the bold tagline: “The most terrifying film you will ever experience,” Evil Dead went on to be a big box office hit and one of the better received horror remakes of its era.
In fact, its blend of dark human drama with relentlessly-paced, brutally violent horror has led it to earn a bit of a cult following.
Here’s a sample of some positive reviews the movie earned:
Arizona Republic: “Whether you think it’s a good movie will depend largely upon your stomach for gruesome violence. Then again, if you are going to see a movie called Evil Dead, you’re probably going to be OK.”
Daily Telegraph: “I was left clamping my hand to my open jaw, not so much in terror, more in shocked hilarity at how grand the guignol was willing to go.”
Entertainment Weekly: “The new Evil Dead is not only made with an affectionate nod and a wink to the 1981 version, it’s also the bloodiest, goriest, slapstickiest horror movie since, well, The Evil Dead.”
New York Daily News: “Alvarez is primarily interested in upping his corpse count, in the most gruesome ways imaginable. In this, he is undeniably successful. He also establishes an effectively breathless pace, and weaves in a steady stream of fan-friendly references.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “This blood-soaked remake improves on its cheeky source material, paying homage while establishing its own identity for younger horror fans who never knew there was an earlier Evil Dead.”
The 2013 version of Evil Dead is streaming on Netflix in Ireland and the UK right now, alongside 2023’s also very good Evil Dead Rise.