The cast may be comelier, the edits may be sharper, the gory effects may be nastier, but this remake has nothing like the impact of Sam Raimi's 1981 The Evil Dead.
There's plenty that money can buy in Hollywood, but ingenuity on a shoestring ain't one of them. The set-up has since become a formula: a group of unsuspecting youths trip off to a backwoods cabin and regret it for the remainder of their short lives.
The sort-of comic twist here is that Mia (Jane Levy) is in withdrawal from a drug habit, so that when she's in full devil-possessed mode her friends can't tell the difference. Misgivings arise once they discover a basement hung with feline corpses (eew) and one of them stupidly recites an incantation from a book so evil it's bound in human hide and barbed wire – could it be the original Satanic Verses?
The director, Fede Alvarez, puts his cast through make-up hell at any rate, with nail-guns, shotguns and buzz-saws regularly to hand for all the lopping, skewering and peppering which the Evil One seems to prefer. The reality is, of course, that anyone who did turn up at such an unprepossessing, not to say uncomfortable, retreat would immediately turn around and find somewhere (anywhere) else to stay. And that's even before you smell the dead cats.
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