The Evil Dead (Evil Dead) is a 2013 horror film; it serves as a 'reimagining' or remake of the The Evil Dead, and the first film in the series since 1992's Army of Darkness. It is a soft reboot of the first film in the Evil Dead franchise, acting loosely as a sequel to the original series, and therefore the fourth instalment in the series overall. It is directed by Fede Alvarez and was produced by Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert. Bruce Campbell appears in a very brief cameo after the credits. The cast includes Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore.
In April 2011, Bruce Campbell did an AskMeAnything interview on Reddit.com, saying "Newsflash: We are remaking Evil Dead. The script is awesome. I will be one of the producers and possibly play the milk man". He added "In all honesty, we would all love to make another Evil Dead movie. When that will happen? Who can say – we're all working on other jobs right now. We're not trying to dodge anybody's questions, there just isn't that much to talk about. The remake's gonna kick ass – you have my word". On July 13, 2011 it was officially announced, via a press release, that Ghost House Pictures would be producing the upcoming remake of The Evil Dead, with Diablo Cody in the process of revising the script and Fede Alvarez chosen as the director. Lily Collins was originally reported to be in the lead role as Mia, but on 24th January 2012, Collins dropped out of the role. On February 3, 2012 it was announced that actress Jane Levy, star of the television series Suburgatory would be replacing Collins in the lead role as Mia.
The film was released April 5th, 2013 to mostly positive reviews. The film has a more serious tone than in previous instalments, reflecting more of the deliberately gruesome and provocative nature of the 1981 original than the progressively lighter sequels. Of particular note is the production's emphasis on in-camera effects and physical props over computer generated effects that carry less visceral impact. Stylistic changes include makeup effects more sophisticated and visually comparable to Linda Blair's makeup in The Exorcist, as well as a more clearly established agenda of the possessive force, identified this time as a specific demonic entity. The original films are more ambiguous on this point, with the primary occupation of the evil presence seemingly being to simply torment, possess and ultimately kill and claim the souls of whichever victims it can find.
Five friends decide to convene at a remote cabin deep in the woods: David, a quiet and mild-mannered young man; Natalie, his girlfriend; Olivia, a registered nurse; Eric, a high school teacher; and Mia, David's younger sister. The five of them are all childhood friends, and have come to the cabin to help Mia overcome her overwhelming heroin addiction. The cabin is revealed to be a family retreat not visited in quite some time, and has fallen into disrepair. Upon entering the cabin it becomes apparent that someone had broken in at some point prior to their arrival. David gives Mia a wooden necklace which supposedly strengthens the willpower of whoever wears it. Mia, a superstitious soul, accepts it and forces David to promise her that he won't leave her until the deed is done and she is cured of her addiction.
Mia's withdrawal soon manifests as she becomes paranoid and hypersensitive, complaining of a foul smell in the cabin, and becomes progressively more agitated. After David's dog begins to scratch at the rug in the living room, they discover a trapdoor smeared with blood leading to the basement below. Upon investigating, they find a room littered with the hanging bodies of countless cats. One of the support posts displays heavy burn marks. A package wrapped in black plastic and barbed wire sits on a nearby desk, next to a shotgun. They bring these upstairs to investigate further. Mia is adamant that they "shouldn't have touched anything in that basement."
The next day, Mia's withdrawal grows more intense as she circles the space in front of the house, in torrential rain. Eric opens the bound package and discovers within the Naturom Demonto, an ancient book bound in human flesh and containing guidelines for the possession of humans by demonic entities. Footnotes scrawled into the book warn "DON'T SAY IT. DON'T WRITE IT. DON'T HEAR IT." A scratched out set of writing pique Eric's interest; he manages to recover the crossed out text - "Kunda. Astratta. Montosse. Canda." - and reads it aloud. An unseen force in the forest awakens and attacks Mia, causing her to hallucinate a woman standing in the woods beckoning to her. She rushes inside, eager to leave the cabin, and feeling betrayed by David's refusal to let her go, breaks the necklace he gave her, steals the car keys and hijacks the car, racing away from the cabin. The woman appears in the road, causing Mia to steer off into the forest where she crashes into a pond. Recovering, she flees into the forest as the force gives chase, and she becomes trapped in a bramble bush that comes alive and binds her in place. The woman - a demonic version of herself - appears before her and vomits a black, worm-like vine that slithers its way to Mia and up her dress, entering her body as she screams. Some time later, David and Olivia find her cowering near a large tree.
Back at the cabin, Mia pleads with David to take her back to town, but he assures her that her experiences in the forest were simply a delusion as a result of her heroin addiction, and that she will be fine in a couple days once the drugs in her system have cleared themselves out. As he cleans out the basement of the cat corpses, he finds a trail of blood leading under the work shed. There he finds the body of Grandpa, the family dog who had accompanied the five on their trip; a bloodied hammer lies nearby, and David concludes that Mia was the culprit. He storms inside and slams on the bathroom door for Mia to let him in; she is standing in the shower, and as he calls to her, she turns the hot water on full blast, coating herself in boiling water. David manages to break down the door, to find his sister collapsed in the shower stall, her skin blistering and peeling. He tries to rush her to the hospital, but finds that the road out of the forest has become flooded over.
That night, David and the others argue over Mia's worsening condition; Olivia has sedated her and laid her down to rest. Eric chastises David's optimism that things will eventually get better, before Mia staggers into the living room, wielding the shotgun. Which she aims and fires at David, wounding him, before the force in the woods bursts into the cabin, filling a screaming Mia. Voices within Mia warn them that "one by one, [the demons] will take them" before Mia concludes that "they are all going to die tonight" and falls to the floor. Olivia attempts to grab the gun from her, but Mia arises, fully possessed, and tackles Olivia, vomiting all over her before she is thrown through the open trapdoor and locked in the basement. Olivia rushes to the bathroom to grab a syringe and a sedative, but is possessed in the process. Eric goes to look for her and finds her in the bathroom, cutting off part of her face with a piece of broken mirror. She attacks Eric with the broken mirror, stabbing him in the chest, and then proceeds to assault him with a syringe. He is forced to bash her head in with a broken piece of porcelain from the sink.
David takes Eric into the shed to treat his wounds while Natalie rushes into the kitchen to find some water. Mia’s voice, confused and afraid, drifts up from the trapdoor, but when Natalie goes into the basement to investigate, she is knocked out. She awakens at the foot of the stairs, with Mia over her, smelling her like a feral animal. She attempts to fight her off with a box cutter, but Mia bites Natalie’s hand, forcing her to drop it. Mia slits her tongue with the box cutter and then French kisses Natalie until David appears and Natalie is able to fight her way up the stairs. David chains shut the trapdoor.
David and Eric convene once again in the bedroom with the book. Eric hypothesizes that he unwittingly unleashed something evil from the book when he read the incantations, and from information gleaned from the book’s pages, he concludes that Mia’s soul is invaded by the evil force. There are three specific ways described in the book that can release a possessed soul: a live burial, bodily dismemberment, or purification by fire. While this is happening, Natalie cleans the bite on her hand in the kitchen, which to her horror begins to grow infected and spread up her arm, slowly possessing her as Mia peeks through the trapdoor. She manages to fight off the infection through will alone, and grabbing an electric knife, begins to cut off her arm. A fuse blows as the knife hits bone, and David and Eric rush to her aid, only to find that she has completely cut through her arm and feels “much better now.”
While Natalie rests, Eric asserts that five souls are needed before the “abomination” spoken of in the book can arise in a rain of blood, and that if they don’t act by killing Mia, they will all be dead before they can escape the cabin. Natalie enters, possessed, wielding a nail gun which she first uses on her own face before turning on the boys with a crowbar; David finally manages to blow off her other arm with the shotgun, which relieves her of her possession, and she dies in David’s arms.
David leads Eric outside, then heads back inside, intending to burn down the cabin and kill Mia in the process. Before he can set the place ablaze, Mia’s voice echoes from the cellar, singing a lullaby that David and Mia’s mother used to sing to them; this disheartens David, and he resolves to sedate Mia and perform a live burial instead. He heads down to the basement with a syringe of sedative; Mia attacks and almost drowns David before being knocked out by Eric, who dies shortly afterwards because of his extensive injuries. David leaves Eric’s body in the basement and buries Mia, who continues to chide and torment him until David completely buries her.
As soon as David is sure she is dead (a tree nearby that had been struck by lightning extinguishes), he digs her up and attempts to defibrillate her with a car battery. It appears not to work, David starts to head back to the cabin when he hears her voice, turning, he finds her alive and well. David, elated, goes back to the cabin to get the keys to the other car, but is stabbed in the neck by a now possessed Eric. He locks Mia out of the cabin and uses the shotgun to set fire to the gasoline tank on the coffee table, setting the entire cabin ablaze. Mia grieves the loss of her brother, but finds the necklace lying in the dirt. It begins to rain blood, and the Abomination rises from the ground in front of the cabin, implying that the evil force was able to possess David before the fire consumed him. It chases Mia into the shed, where she finds a chainsaw and gasoline. Hiding under the Jeep, she starts the chainsaw and cuts through the Abomination’s legs before it overturns the Jeep on her left hand. She is forced to forcibly rip her arm from her hand in order to reach the chainsaw, and as the Abomination bears down on her, she shoves the blade into its mouth, killing it. The rain stops, dawn rises, and Mia, now hardened by the events of the night, wanders away into the sunlight.
The last shot of the film turns to the Naturon Demonto, left forgotten in the dirt outside the cabin. The pages begin to turn on their own before the cover slams shut.
The post credits scene shows a figure silhouetted in shadow, revealing himself to be none other than an older Ash Williams, the main protagonist of the first three Evil Dead films, as he says his signature catchphrase "Groovy" before turning to look at the audience. Though brief, with Ash's appearance it is heavily implied that the reboot is a part of the original Evil Dead series.
- Jane Levy - Mia Allen
- Shiloh Fernandez - David Allen
- Lou Taylor Pucci - Eric
- Jessica Lucas - Olivia
- Elizabeth Blackmore - Natalie
- Rupert Degas - Abomination Mia (voice)
- Ellen Sandweiss - Cheryl Williams (sampled from The Evil Dead)
- Bruce Campbell - Ash Williams