Now, I went into Evil Dead with such high hopes, which is actually quite out of character for me especially since I really don’t regard a lot of recent horror as anything to write home about. Most films are trying to rely on gore and cheap scares to wow the audience, moving away from the 70s’ and 80s’ use of strong characters and plot. However, with Evil Dead being amped up as “the scariest film you’ll see,” and having pulled in quite the positive reception, I allowed myself to get excited. Damn it, I did it again. Hello, disappointment.
The movie bills itself as having the “female Ash” but that’s misleading. For those of you who have seen the original, The Evil Dead, you know that Ash is not only the main character but he is the big hero of the piece. Mia (Jane Levy), however, is not only NOT the main character but she is also the first character to become possessed by the evil entity from the woods. She has no time for any actual character development aside from going from junkie to possessed and then possessed to horrified. The main character instead is Mia’s brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) who up until the end of the film is the hero of this piece.
Like the original, this incarnation lacks female strength and focuses instead on how vulnerable and weak women are, while holding up its male characters, focusing on their strength, determination and selflessness (even though it’s one of the male character’s fault that all of the horror comes to pass. But that’s not important, obviously.)
And, for the record, just because you allow one of your female characters to “find strength” and be the lone survivor doesn’t make your film feminist or empowering to women, especially when it happens abruptly in the last five minutes of the film.
I’ll give the movie this much: it sure was pretty, visually. However, as a feminist critic I have to wonder: Is horror slowly becoming a straight white man’s genre?[subscribe2]