I’m talking about the one from 2013, entitled EVIL DEAD, rather than THE EVIL DEAD, the original, from 1981. When I first watched the former, in the theater, I enjoyed it. But all the while I was missing Bruce Campbell. Watching it again the other night, I think I was able to give it a benefit I couldn’t the first time, that of not constantly comparing it to the original the whole time. Seeing it as its own thing, then, I have to say, and I know I’m risking censure from the Horror faithful here, but EVIL DEAD is the superior movie. Yes, I said it. Hear me out.
The campy comedic aspect of the franchise that would make it so enjoyable hadn’t fully formed in the original film. That really didn’t develop until the second one, and was perfected in the third. Nothing can take the place of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, no, but the Ash we got in the original THE EVIL DEAD wasn’t the same Ash who would evolve as the series progressed. And removing Ash from the equation allowed the remake to be something that EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS couldn’t be: scary. When Ash is around, the viewer doesn’t worry, because he knows Ash is going to save the day. Without him, and without the humor, there’s nothing to restrain the Horror. EVIL DEAD is the movie, I believe, that Sam Raimi *wanted* to make when he first made THE EVIL DEAD. A balls-out, relentless, frenetic nightmare. I’ll always want to see Bruce in any movie with the words “evil” and “dead” in the title, but when he doesn’t show up to kick Deadite ass, the results can be pretty damn satisfying, too.