Notable films: Evil Dead (2013)
This year's Evil Dead remake should have been a disaster. Consider the components: It's yet another unnecessary Hollywood-backed reboot of a classic horror movie, starring a bunch of attractive twenty-somethings who'd look right at home on a CW show. Visions of 2009's Friday the 13th and 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street surely clouded genre lovers' minds before Evil Dead's release, preparing them for the worst.
God bless producers Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert (the original Evil Dead brain trust), then, for letting Uruguayan first-timer Fede Alvarez run wild with their cabin-in-the-woods-overrun-by-demonic-forces source material. Though it's not perfect, Alvarez's Evil Dead succeeds by going all out with its mostly practical gore. He embraced the chance to make a studio film that feels reminiscent of Peter Jackson's gleefully over-the-top Dead Alive, without totally abandoning the story's characters or letting it diverge into one-note sadism.
And for that, horror fans who've suffered through shitty remake after shitty remake owe Alvarez a huge debt of gratitude. —MB