It's time for head back to the woods with the cursed book, dilapidated cabin, and demonic possessions in Evil Dead, a remake of the cult classic horror series.  This remake, directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, offers paper-thin characters and good scares.
This time around, five young adults head to the family cabin to help Mia (Jane Levy) kick her drug addiction.  Mia's brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) is concerned for her -- and guilty he wasn't there with Mia when their mother passed away.  Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a high school teacher, Olivia (Jessica Lucas) is a nurse, Natalie (ELizabeth Blackmore) is David's girlfriend -- and that's about the sum total of their personalities.  While David is hopeful for his sister, the others know she stopped and relapsed before; they are prepared for her to say or do anything to get more drugs, and they're determined to keep her there.
Unfortunately, the cabin was the site of the pre-opening credits scene where some folks used a cursed book to kill a woman possessed by a demon.  And when Eric finds the book (wrapped in paper and barbed wire) and starts reading for it, he unleashed a demon -- who possesses Mia.  The others think she's just in withdrawl at first --but then the yellow eyes, moving objects, and gruesome murders start.
Evil Dead has many elements of the first two movies (the living woods, limbs getting cut off, lots of fluids, an evil being in the cellar) without redong the original plot scene-by-scene.  The remake is almost humor-free, which is both good and bad: While they don't try to re-create the hammy fun of Bruce Campbell, the movie is also almost uniformly grim.  Fotunately, director Alvarez keeps the movie going at a steady, tense pace.  And the combination of non-cgi special effects and R rating (no wimpy PG-13 sorta-scary stuff here) keeps this movie appropriately violent,gruesome -- and scary.  Evil Dead doesn't offer more than generic teens fighting for survival -- but it delivers it very well.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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