Always with the cabin, these kids. The woods. The evil book. The geysers of blood. , which continued Army Of Darkness’ comic legacy for three seasons and brought back Bruce Campbell into the fold. In a few weeks, the new feature Evil Dead Rise will bring the series back to theaters for the first time in a decade, transplanting the action from a cabin to a city-bound apartment complex. Trailers for the movie seem both yucky and rude, and they ominously spotlight a cheese grater.
Still, the 2013 remake, for all its gore, never feels like the punishing “torture porn” that was also popular during the oughts. It’s differentiated in part by those early seeds of humor, the ongoing glee with which the film’s possessed characters scorn its still-living ones, and that exclamatory blood rain, so over-the-top as to almost feel like a punchline.
But I think what really makes Evil Dead’s intensity invigorating rather than depressing is the setup itself. Teens had been entering cabins in the woods well before Raimi sent them there; he has said he was intentionally playing off of the cliche. Two years before the remake’s release, Cabin in the Woods parodied the entire idea, treating the setup as a sort of stand-in for horror premises themselves.
But the sheer lunatic intensity of Evil Dead’s staging makes it feel like the definitive version of a cliche. Everything in the film feels inevitable. This is why its most iconic image is a demon smiling from a locked trapdoor. It is the rare reboot that gains power through its rebooted nature: We know where we’re going, but when we get there, it’s still disgusting.