Brian's Burn Notice: Gory Evil Dead dares moviegoers to keep their eyes open; The horror remake pushes the boundaries of carnage on film, leaving audiences disgusted

by Brian Burns
The blood-drenched horror film is a time-honored tradition, continued by films such as Saw  in the 21st century.  However, the new horror film Evil Dead, released April 5, pushes the boundaries of gore in film.
The website Buzzfeed recently ranked Evil Dead as the bloodiest film of all time, with a staggering 50,000 gallons of red goo used for effect during production.
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The film is a remake of the 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead.  The original premise remains intact: five college students go to a cabin in the woods and release an ancient demon through the pages of a book. Mia, played by Suburgatory’s Jane Levy, is forced by her friends to spend time in the cabin to detox from heroin addiction.
Even the original film, which features a scene of the protagonist cutting off his arm with a chainsaw, is nowhere near the gory spectacle of the 2013 version.
The movie poster declares Evil Dead “the most terrifying film you will ever experience.”   However, for some viewers the gore actually limits the film’s impact and suspense.
“I thought it would be scarier than it was,” said senior Josh Eisen.  “It was almost predictable. You knew as soon as someone was alone it would be an insanely bloody scene with some heavy violence and a lot of gore.”
Eisen preferred last year’s horror film Sinister, which also featured a possession but was less bloody.
“The way the possessed girl would pop out randomly and all the little demented and demonic kids were really freaky,” said Eisen of the film Sinister.
Movies such as Sinister  frighten the audience with images that merely suggest grisly violence rather than depicting it with special effects.
Other students found the violence in Evil Dead to be more than a distraction—it was hard to sit through.
“Throughout the movie there was just excessive bleeding and bone fragmentation showing,” said senior Alonso Zamora. “There was a scene where the possessed girl split her tongue in half with a blade then proceeded to make out with another girl. That was just plain disturbing.”
The film originally received an NC-17 rating (no admittance of children under 17) by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but was edited to an  R (children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian) for “strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language.”
Despite the rating that allows children 17 and under to attend the film with an adult, even seasoned critics are surprised at the level of gore on screen.
“The film builds to an image so insane that I’m surprised the MPAA let it get past them,” said critic Drew McWeeny of
“Evil Dead delivers on the bloody mayhem that needs far more than an MPAA rating. It needs a warning label,” said Matt Goldberg of
Evil Dead exceeds even the over-the-top gore of the Saw films and is all the more realistic because the effects were filmed on the set rather than added later through computer-generated (CG) technology.
The most memorable images—such as that of a girl cutting off the bottom half of her face—were  achieved using prosthetics.  Such practical effects increase the feeling of authenticity that director Fede Alvarez intended.
“The practical effects make me want to see the film more, because I feel CG is a little like cheating,” said junior Kelvin Ayora, who saw the R-rated trailer for the film online.  “CG has made some movies look unrealistic as opposed to older, traditional movies where it was more practical.  People who made the movie are experts if they can replicate something practically rather than in a computer.”
Evil Dead was a success at the box office, with a $26 million opening weekend that exceeded its small $17 million budget, despite warnings about the bloodshed from critics.
“I think it is going to be a continuing trend just because people have lost sight of what it truly is to be scared,” said Zamora. “I think that people have associated disturbing images with fright.”