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Speaking of remakes…
Even though "Carrie" is considered a classic of the genre and was both a critical and commercial hit, there seems to me to be enough flexibility to allow for a new interpretation. That story can be retold in new ways to find new resonance. That's one sturdy central metaphor they're dealing with.
I'm not sure the same is true of "Evil Dead," which isn't particularly built on theme and subtext in the first place. "Evil Dead" was a purely visceral experience, terrifying because of how stark and ugly and isolated it was. Thanks to the much-larger success and visibility of "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn," many people define the "Evil Dead" series with a sense of humor. "Army Of Darkness," the third film in the series, pushed it even further, and for many fans, that was their first "Evil Dead" in a theater, meaning there are many different groups of fans who have many different ideas of what "Evil Dead" even means.
Personally, I'm all for the idea of pushing things back to the realm of pure horror if they're going to remake it, and that's what Diablo Cody's been hinting at whenever she speaks about the film, and that's what Fede Alvarez, the film's director, has also been talking about. Everything we've heard about the film suggests they're going dark, and that they're not trying to replace what already exists.
First way you know they're serious? No Ash.
This has been controversial with many fans, but I think it's the only thing you can do. Ash is so completely tied to Bruce Campbell as a character that I think it's a set-up for disappointment if you bring the character back at all. Instead, Cody and Alvarez are sending a whole new group of kids to that lonely cabin in the woods, with a number of new issues they're grappling with on a personal level that may resonate through what happens to them.
Lily Collins is poised to have a big year, and in addition to playing Snow White in Tarsem's "Mirror Mirror," she's now set to be Mia, the main character in "Evil Dead." Grappling with a drug addiction and her own new-found sobriety, Mia is already dealing with her own figurative demons. Then she ends up having to fight off some literal demons, even though none of the other kids in the cabin believe her at first.
Honestly, the biggest competition this film has is not the original "Evil Dead" or any of its sequels, but the Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard collaboration "Cabin In The Woods." I can't review the film yet, but I've seen it, and I think it's safe to say that any other movie that deals with the "spam in a cabin" tropes has now been served notice. "Cabin In The Woods" aims high, and it does some things I've never seen in a horror movie before. It is both commentary and genuine thriller. It works as both text and subtext. It is a big fat bucket of win, and there's no doubt that it was inspired, at least in some small part, by the original "Evil Dead" and its various imitators. Now we're going to see if a remake can still work after we see this sort of meta-textual breakdown of the conventions of the genre.
Ghost House, Mandate, and Film District plan to release "Evil Dead" on April 12, 2013.