3) The acting is better than in the original
Oh, stop it. No one ever became a fan of "The Evil Dead" because of its brilliant performances, they became a fan because it's a bloody fun ride with a wicked directorial eye behind the camera. With its more earnest drug-addiction setup, this "Evil Dead" is a different animal than Raimi's goofier original, and piss-poor acting could have sunk the entire endeavor. Thankfully, Levy's go-for-broke performance is supported by mostly strong work from her fellow cast members, including Shiloh Fernandez (as Mia's brother David), Lou Taylor Pucci (as the wise-cracking Eric) and Jessica Lucas (as Mia's fiercely-loyal best friend Olivia). Pucci in particular nails his could've-been-thankless role by bringing to it a tongue-in-cheek sensibility that never feels precious.
4) It's funny as Hell
Despite the remake's weightier backstory, Alvarez smartly never loses sight of the pitch-black comedy that made Raimi's original such a pleasure to watch. Treating the over-the-top subject matter too seriously would've felt like a betrayal of the "Evil Dead" brand, but luckily every grisly gag here boasts an undercurrent of Grand Guignol outrageousness that makes you laugh even as you remain fully entrenched in the horror.
5) The effects are almost entirely practical
Having been duped by talk of "minimal CGI" before (hello, "The Thing"), at this point I'm prone to writing off similar claims as public-relations nonsense. But "Evil Dead" is the real deal - a throwback to the era in which the original film was made that accomplishes almost every single effect "in-camera." While this no doubt proved a torturous ordeal for the actors during filming, on screen it works brilliantly in keeping us engaged and undistracted by a disheartening collection of lazy green-screen moments. That blood spewing out of Jane Levy's mouth directly into co-star Jessica Lucas's face? Well, it ain't made out of pixels.
Will you be seeing "Evil Dead" this weekend? Let us know in the comments.