Last summer I spent two days in Auckland, New Zealand to check out the set of TriStar and FilmDistrict’s upcoming Evil Dead remake. I’m not going to mince words here, I have never walked away from a set this confident and hopeful that a movie will turn out well. With a lot of these visits you get the feeling that people are just fort of putting on their best face to meet you, and you’re not entirely convinced of their commitment to making a great movie.
Not here. Fede Alvarez is not f*cking around. Neither is producer Rob Tapert. Nor are Robert Gillies (the production designer) or Roger Murray (the prosthetics and props maker). The film’s DP, Aaron Morton, isn’t f*cking around either when it comes to getting those crazy roving tree shots we love so much. And the cast? Enduring all of the prosthetics, pain and hundreds of gallons of blood? Not f*cking around. I’m not talking about a bunch of disinterested dilettantes talking about “how much they love the project.” I’m talking about seeing the bloody proof of it firsthand. I’m not just talking about the scenes we witnessed, but the messy aftermath of everything they’d been shooting up until that point. You just can’t fake a production like this for two days while press is around.
Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Elizabeth Blackmore, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas star in the much anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film. It hits theaters on April 12th, 2013. Be sure to read PART ONE and PART TWO for a more in depth analysis on this visit.
1. THERE IS VERY LITTLE – IF ANY – CGI
Everything I saw onset backed up claims by Alvarez that there would be no CGI in the film. I didn’t see any green screens and I saw tons of evidence of well executed practical gags. Even if they wind up using a little bit of it in the film, it’s probably just for small stuff like wire removal etc…
2. THEY ARE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING AN NC-17
Per producer Rob Tapert, “I have always been exceedingly concerned about [getting an NC-17]. The woman who guided ‘The Grudge’ through to get a PG-13 assured us that ‘oh no, nothing in this is gonna get you an NC-17.’ I keep bumping up against that self-mutilation thing. And because they swing so much as to what they decide on a weekly basis is an NC-17 or an R or a PG-13, I just don’t know. But FilmDistrict, who bought this…they all said, ‘we want this the hardest R you guys can give us…’”
3. THAT VOMIT IN THE TRAILER IS REAL
Jane Levy recounts filming it, “At one point I vomit all over somebody. A lot of vomit. Like, a sh*t-ton of fluid. I had a tube practically down my throat, and I’m on top of this girl and vomiting all over her. When you actually do something like that – I don’t think I can actually describe the sensation – but I actually went to the corner and cried. I’m really sensitive. But I felt like I was really drowning my friend Jessica, it felt so bad. I was shaking.” Of course it’s not actual vomit, I just know that some of you were thinking it was a CG effect based on the trailer. It isn’t.
4. YES, IT WILL HAVE THOSE DEMONIC POV SHOTS
DP Aaron Morgan on working to create the effect, “In the original there’s a lot of stuff where things are careening in and careening out of control. And we wanted to get to that point. So I wanted to start to infer that with our camera movements so there’s a lot of rolling. And there’s a lot of really fast movement through trees.”
6. SAM’S CLASSIC MAKES AN APPEARANCE
A few feet away from the cabin in Woodhill Forest sits a dilapidated recreation of “The Classic” – Sam Raimi’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. It’s rusty, covered in pine needles and moss.
7. THE NECRONOMICON IS NO LONGER CALLED THE NECRONOMICON
It’s called the “Naturan Demanto” – which is how it is referred to in the recording they listen to in the original film. Three of the books have been made for the production. Due to copyright issues with the original artist, the book has been significantly redesigned. Instead of a dried face, the binding is now assembled with large chunks of stitched-together flesh.
9. THEY USED 50,000 GALLONS OF BLOOD IN ONE DAY
Alverez comments “I know we ordered a truck the other day that was… 50,000 gallons? Just for one scene! The violence is over the top. The showdown, that’s right there behind the wall [referring to the storyboards] you can see there is raining blood. So you can imagine that it’s gonna get to quite an outrageous, over the top, chainsaw action, raining blood…it just goes crazy, right.”
10. THE DEADITES LOOK DIFFERENT
And scarier in my opinion. This film is much darker than the original and it’s designed to scare people who have been watching horror movies for the past 30 years. The revamped approach to the makeup matches that aesthetic. The pronounced jaw and ocular cavities are gone, allowing for a more haunting visage for whomever is unlucky enough to be possessed.