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Recreating Evil: On the Set of the Evil Dead

As soon as the Evil Dead remake was announced, the fan backlash ensued.

Message boards were filled with critical comments. Everyone wanted to know why it was necessary to remake the terrifying classic from 1981. Fortunately, the creative team behind Evil Dead 2013 has their wits about them and they aren’t trying to top or outdo the original. They are working to make a scary, dark and haunting film that will take some of its inspiration from the ideas explored in the original Evil Dead film, but do it in a way that retells the story for audiences 30 years later. The remake is going to pay homage to the original, but, it’s quite clear that no one is trying to do any disservice to it.

ShockTillYouDrop.com had the opportunity to visit the set of Evil Dead in Auckland, New Zealand.

We got the scoop on the production process and details on the plot and tone from director Fede Alvarez and producer Rob Tapert. We also chatted with the cast. 

First time feature film director Fede Alvarez is taking a much darker tone with the remake. There is no official “Ash” character, and Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell are making sure that the film doesn’t go off the rails in a way that the fans don’t want to see. Alvarez was very clear that he is not trying to make a frame-for-frame remake. He is making a dark, scary, violent and brutal-as-hell cabin in the woods film.

“We aren’t trying to recreate anything, per se. We are trying not to watch the movie and match it.” says Alvarez of the parallels between the original film and the remake. “The trap in making a movie like this is the short cuts. It’s easy to say that it worked in the original so it will work again.”

The film has been cast with up-and-coming actors rather than household names. The entire cast has experience, of course, but going that route is allowing the film to be about the story and the characters, rather than the actors. Of the talent made available to us, Lou Taylor Pucci (Carriers) – who co-stars with Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Shiloh Fernandez (Deadgirl), Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) and Elizabeth Blackmore - was the only one who had actually seen the original Evil Dead film prior to auditioning for the role. This gave Alvarez an advantage in making the movie without the talent trying to hold on to their idea of what Evil Dead should be. 

Lou Taylor Pucci weighed in on his thoughts about what fans of the original will think of the remake.  “I think, as far as fans of the original film, half of them are going to love it and half of them are going to hate it, so they are going to talk about it. It takes some of the best things from the old film and brings some totally new ideas. You don’t care anything about those original characters at all. Some people love that you don’t and some people would rather follow an actual story. That’s what this is. It’s got something for the original audience and something for a new audience.”

Sam Raimi hand-picked Alvarez to direct the Evil Dead reboot. Raimi sees the original as a huge opportunity in his career and he felt that selecting a newcomer and passing the torch to let him or her direct the remake was a great opportunity to give a young director the same type of opportunity he had all those years ago.

Rob Tapert offered some insight on the decision to bring Fede Alvarez on board “We were working with Fede on another project called Panic Attack, but it became very apparent that there were other movies that had similar storylines that were going to get to the theaters beforehand. We liked working with Fede and we really enjoyed the experience and Sam thought that we should hear what he had to say about Evil Dead. He brought us a pitch that was very different, but was scary. The beauty of that pitch and what got Bruce Campbell on board was that there was no Ash character. Fede actually dealt with that lynch pin of getting the project made by deciding not to deal with the Ash character. ”

The film is being shot almost completely in direct sequence. “It’s because of the blood bath. And for the actors, because it’s better if they know what the f**k is going on. That way, they are not jumping back and forth. It’s a crazy story. So, that and the blood continuity,” offered Alvarez on the decision to shoot the film sequentially.