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Movie Review: 'Evil Dead' Brings Gore, High Tension

The remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic is being called "a geyser of gore."

Take a young woman with a heroin addiction. Add two friends. Place them in an isolated cabin in the woods. Add her older brother. Then throw in a book of evil spells, malevolent sprits, a basement and trees that could be happy working for Saruman. Put the camera close to the ground and start killing everyone, slathering everything in guts and gore. Voila! You've created Evil Dead, the 2013 remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic.

"Evil Dead" runs 91 minutes and is rated R. Check Moviefone.com for locations and times near you. 

Here's what the critics are saying: 

When it was first announced that a remake of Sam Raimi’s classic 80s horror film was being put into production, I was with the rest of you groaning at the idea of yet another Hollywood rehash, but I am now very happy to say that I was wrong. Backed by great performances by a young cast, and a seemingly unending number of high-tension, disturbingly gory horror sequences, the new movie is the definition of crowd-pleaser and one hell of a ride. Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

There are a lot of character details and behaviors in the first 45 minutes of the film that seem to be setting up things that will pay off in the second half of the film, but a surprising amount of it ends up going nowhere. It's like once the film actually starts cranking up the horror, they just sort of drop everything else that they're doing, which means that all the exposition of the first half's set-up is just spinning wheels, en excuse instead of actual character development. Drew McWeeny, Hit Fix

Little of what Raimi brought to "Evil Dead" remains. (Except the remains.) All is dark, sepia-toned, artful in its murk, and relentless and rather numbing in its geysers of bodily fluids. The original featured crummy writing and mostly (besides Campbell's) bad acting, but it was perverse and icky fun. The new one is better acted, more carefully composed. But it feels like a lot of other remakes of '70s and '80s horror titles. Competent craftsmanship, vacuous slickness. It's not bad. It's nowhere near the sub-basement level of "Saw" and "Hostel" sadism. But it's no "Evil Dead 2," even though we most certainly will be getting the remake "Evil Dead 2" in a year or two. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

There's also a new and oddly misogynist undertone. It's not just that it's only the women who quickly "turn" and have to be beaten into bloody submission by the men; even before the horror strikes, they're seen as impediments. Our heroes have a fine bromance going; if only these gals wouldn't be such nags and screw-ups. But this is too much thought to give a movie whose only aim is to scare the cheese and crackers out of you. Which director Fede Alvarez, another in the new wave of Latino horror auteurs, does consistently. Steve Whitty, the Oregonian 

Instead he and his crack effects team work to make our stomachs turn. From the initial attack on Mia -- the infamous "tree rape" scene -- to the literal rainstorm of blood that accompanies the climax, Evil Dead delivers satisfyingly disgusting effects that serve an ever-accelerating action pace. The only respite from the gore comes in those treacherous moments when one of the possessed stops spitting threats and blood to speak in the wounded, innocent voice of the human who used to inhabit its body. The flip-flopping between "why are you hurting me?" and "I will rape your soul in Hell!" is one of the original film's gags -- like Raimi's camera, dodging trees as it offers a breakneck POV shot of demons swooping in to inhabit unwitting mortal shells -- that Alvarez executes perfectly in this unasked-for but entirely welcome remake. John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

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