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My Evil Dead experience at SXSW

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I cannot begin to explain how excited I was to see this movie during the Film portion of the South by Southwest festival. From the day that I watched the Red Band trailer for the film, I was hooked.

Let me begin by saying that this remake of Evil Dead, spearheaded by Fede Alvarez, is a far cry from the comic-horror franchise first introduced by Sam Raimi in 1981. This blood-drenched, torture-filled affair strips away the comedic elements and ramps up the gore and violence to a level that is sure to leave you writhing uncomfortably in your seat—at least that's what I was doing during the premier screening … But more on that later.

While not a shot-for-shot remake, the new Evil Dead holds onto most of the original series' premise—notable differences from the original include character name and relationship changes.

In the film, Mia (Jane Levy), in an attempt to kick her drug habit cold turkey, convinces two of her friends—Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas)—to join her at her family's cabin in a remote, wooded area. Mia's older brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) also join the troupe in a show of solidarity for his sister. 

After stumbling across a cellar built into the floor, they unwittingly come across a book bound in human flesh and barbed-wire—known to fans of the series as the Necronomicon or "book of the dead." Despite containing page after page of "do-not-read-these passages"-type warnings, Eric takes it upon himself to utter a few phrases from the tome, unleashing a hellish nightmare initially assumed to be Mia's withdrawal-fueled delusions.

The production value in this film is leaps and bounds over the originals. The amount of blood and gore in this film will make even the most diehard horror fan squirm in his or her seat. There were multiple times during the 91-minute film where I was unsure if I was going to be able to make it through to the end. At one particularly gruesome point, I found myself, almost unsuccessfully, suppressing the urge to gag. I felt so bad for the woman in the seat next to me.

And as unbelievable as this may sound, the acting in the film was actually quite good. Each of the young cast members gave convincing and believable performances, which helped bring the audience into the dreadful atmosphere surrounding them.

This remake certainly will not please everyone. Fans of Raimi's originals may not like seeing the humor removed from the new Evil Dead, leaving solely a demented, horror-filled romp through the mind of Alvaraz. Those who enjoy buckets and buckets of blood and extreme levels of gore will find much delight in this wicked remake.

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