Evil Dead fans waited nearly twenty years in hopes of seeing Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell reteam to bring us Evil Dead IV. What we're getting instead pretty much sums up the state of the modern movie industry in a nutshell: a remake. There's been some good news along the way: Raimi, Campbell, and Rob Tapert are all involved as producers, and Diablo Cody is working on the screenplay, hopefully providing some snappy dialogue for our hapless cabin dwellers. Then there were the more puzzling decisions, such as removing the franchise's core hero, Ash, from the equation. While I certainly didn't envy any poor young actor tasked with filling Bruce Campbell's shoes, the concept of an Ash-free Evil Dead movie left us wondering what exactly this "re-telling" was going for. Well, Moviehole has some rumored new details...quite a few spoiler-heavy details, actually. We don't want to blow the shebang here, but there are some highlights worth mentioning. If you want to totally spoil yourself, head over to Moviehole's story.
First, two spoiler-free points. Anyone wondering if the remake would be returning to the same locations -- and cabin -- as the original film can wonder no more: apparently the Evil Dead remake will be shooting in New Zealand, in some of the same areas as the recent Yogi Bear movie. (We'll hope that association doesn't bode ill for the project.) Fans of Raimi and Tapert will remember that the pair are quite familiar with that part of the world, having shot the Hercules and Xena series down there.
Second, the remake is definitely going for a more straight-ahead horror feel, as opposed to the camp horror-comedy of the original Evil Dead films. Moviehole compares the tone of the new Evil Dead to The Shining, so we probably shouldn't expect any silliness or Three Stooges references out of this one. This certainly tracks with the decision not to include Ash. And, to be fair, the first Evil Dead was a lot less silly than the lunacy that followed in Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. While that will be a controversial decision, it's probably for the best. Any attempts to recreate the humor of the originals is almost certainly doomed to fail. Of course, without the iconic humor and the presence of Ash, all we're left with is a generic cabin-in-the-woods horror movie...and the name recognition of the title. Which is, I suppose, the point.
Warning: We're About to Get Spoiler-ish
As you'd expect, the set-up for this new Evil Dead has a group of friends, including siblings Mia and David, heading out to the infamous cabin in the woods. In this case, it's to stage an intervention for Mia, who is deep into substance abuse after the death of her mother. As in the original, one of the group discovers the Book of the Dead, and then shit starts getting weird. Unfortunately, the strange phenomena first begin affecting Mia, so David and her friends dismiss her claims as the result of her going cold turkey, or of her trying to find an excuse to leave. That's actually a rather clever premise, as it solves the age-old problem with any haunted-house story: why don't they just leave? With this set-up, the characters will assume Mia's making things up or hallucinating...until it's too late.
Several iconic elements sound like they're returning, including the tree attacks and somebody getting locked in the basement. It's got all the parts necessary to make an awesome horror movie. (After all, Sam Raimi already made one.) It's all going to be about execution. This Evil Dead will have to include enough nods to the original to honor its heritage, but also bring enough new to the table to establish it as more than just another generic horror movie. It's got a steep climb ahead of it.