Evil Dead (2013) Review: Assessing the Remake of a Horror Icon

Movie Bunker Score:

Evil Dead (2013): A Remake that Breathes New Life into the Horror Genre


Evil Dead (2013) brings a fresh take on the beloved cult classic, proving that a remake can be innovative while paying homage to its source material. As the genre continues to captivate audiences, it’s intriguing to explore why horror films consistently thrive at the box office, especially in comparison to superhero franchises. Despite the financial disappointments of superheroes in recent years, movies like M3GAN, Knock at the Cabin, Cocaine Bear, and Scream VI continue to find success, promising an exciting future for horror enthusiasts. However, it is important to note that box office success does not always equate to quality. During the 2000s, the horror genre witnessed a flood of remakes, with mixed results. While gems like Dawn of the Dead, Let Me In, and The Ring emerged, remakes such as Psycho (1998), Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Wicker Man, as well as produced Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street left a negative impact on these iconic franchises for years to come. Yet, in the early 2010s, Evil Dead (2013) broke the mold by offering a unique spin on the beloved original with a captivating storyline and memorable characters.

A New Twist on the Classic Mythos

Evil Dead (2013) follows a group of friends – David, Eric, Olivia, and Natalie – as they embark on a weekend getaway to an isolated cabin. Their primary objective is to help David’s drug-addicted sister, Mia, overcome her addiction. However, their plans take a sinister turn when Eric discovers the Book of the Dead in the cabin’s basement and unknowingly awakens a demonic evil that possesses Mia. Unlike the original film, which relied on a simple premise of dumb teenagers falling victim to evil forces, director Fede Álvarez and co-writer Rodo Sayagues explore a more complex narrative. By exploring Mia’s struggle with drug addiction and the psychological toll it takes on her amidst a terrifying demonic presence, Evil Dead (2013) adds layers of depth and emotional resonance to the story. Jane Levy’s portrayal of Mia is particularly noteworthy, as she deftly navigates the challenges of being a protagonist grappling with addiction, victimhood, and ultimately emerging as the “final girl” in the film’s suspenseful climax.

A Focus on Mia

While Evil Dead (2013) heavily centers around Mia’s character, the supporting cast also brings their best performances to the table. Although the film may not give them as much development as Mia, their presence contributes to the overall enjoyment of the film. Shiloh Fernandez deserves recognition for his portrayal of David, Mia’s brother, who faces a tremendous emotional struggle as he witnesses his sister’s descent into possession. Despite the limited character development, the chemistry between the cast members adds authenticity to the story. Additionally, the practical effects used in the film, from eerie prosthetics to intricate makeup, enhance the realism and provide a refreshing departure from overabundant CGI typically seen in contemporary horror films.

Creating a Visual Experience

Director of photography Aaron Morton deserves praise for his work in bringing the visuals of Evil Dead (2013) to life. While the original film embraced a colorful and playful tone, Álvarez and Morton opt for a darker aesthetic to match the film’s tone. The high contrast and dark hues effectively convey the impending horrors lurking within the cursed cabin, albeit at times sacrificing visibility in certain scenes. Nonetheless, the cinematography complements Mia’s internal struggles, mirroring her battle against inner demons through atmospheric visuals. The decision to prioritize practical effects over excessive CGI makes the reactions and performances more believable, reinforcing the film’s authenticity and contributing to its appeal.

A Missed Opportunity with the Demonic Antagonists

While Evil Dead (2013) succeeds in its portrayal of Mia and the human characters, the film falls short when it comes to the demonic entities, known as Deadites. Unlike the original franchise, where the Deadites exude a peculiar charm while tormenting their victims, the Deadites in this remake lack the same charismatic presence. The frequent possession of characters results in them becoming stereotypical demons, devoid of the idiosyncrasies that made the original villains so memorable. This missed opportunity to fully explore the charismatic and mischievous nature of the Deadites is a notable drawback of the film.

Comparisons and Appreciating the Remake

Naturally, comparisons between the original Evil Dead and its remake are inevitable. However, the fact that these conversations exist at all speaks to the remake’s success in becoming a worthy contender to the beloved original. Determining which version is superior ultimately relies on personal taste and the desire for either a straightforward possession story or a campier experience. With the impending release of Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise, fans of the franchise are encouraged to revisit Sam Raimi’s original masterpiece, explore the television series, and, of course, appreciate the innovative and groovy ride that Evil Dead (2013) offers.


Evil Dead (2013) stands as a testament to the potential of remakes to breathe new life into established franchises. By offering a fresh take on the beloved cult classic, the film captivates audiences with its compelling narrative and memorable characters. While it may not please everyone, Evil Dead (2013) successfully navigates the fine line between paying homage to the original and establishing its own identity. With its innovative approach, exceptional performances, and commitment to practical effects, Evil Dead (2013) secures its place on the list of great modern horror films.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the significance of Evil Dead (2013) in the horror genre?

A: Evil Dead (2013) revitalized the franchise by offering a unique spin on the original while tackling relevant themes such as addiction and psychological turmoil. Its success demonstrated the potential of remakes to captivate audiences and prove their worth in the horror genre.

Q: How does Jane Levy’s performance in Evil Dead (2013) contribute to its success?

A: Jane Levy delivers a remarkable performance as Mia, the film’s central character. Her portrayal of a woman struggling with drug addiction makes her journey relatable and emotionally engaging. Levy’s multifaceted performance adds depth and authenticity to the film, solidifying her as one of the standout actresses in modern horror.