So let me start this out by saying that, no, I am not a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise.
...Get back here.
Yeah I know. Those are totally not the first words you want to hear someone say when they review a remake of a 'classic' horror movie. (I refuse to call anything filmed in 1980 and after a 'classic' horror movie. Classic Horror is Hammer, Vincent Price, and Universal monsters. This is contemporary.) It's one of my downfalls, I'm sure you'll think. How can I give a proper review when I'm not even a true fan of Raimi's vision?
Chill out. I'm the perfect person to review it. And I'll tell you why.
I'm not attached to the original in any way. Those of you that are up in arms, pitchforks at the ready, are probably the worst people to review this movie. You're going to go into it thinking it's not going to be as good as your beloved original. NOTHING CAN LIVE UP TO YOUR STANDARDS! OMG THEY USED SOME CGI TO POLISH THINGS OFF WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULDN'T AT ALL!
And I say, this is probably the horror movie that Sam Raimi would have made had he had the resources and the money. And you probably wouldn't look at it the same way.
The original Evil Dead is a landmark in the fact that it shows what you can do with a very small cast (reusing a few actors a number of times), a limited budget, and a camera on some 2 x 4s. Yes, it's groundbreaking in that respect. Bow down to Raimi and his big chinned companion, Bruce Campbell.
BUT. The remake does something very right: it doesn't give you the same characters. Sure, the cabin is probably the same one (and kind of looks like the one from Cabin in the Woods, no? Put those two movies together and that's one helluva mindfuck), and you'll see a very familiar car parked in front of it. And yes, there's an evil skin-bound book. But honestly, that's where the big similarities end.
There is no Ash. No Cheryl. No Candarian moose (though I think that's Evil Dead 2). And these are all good things. If you're so damned opposed to a remake, you can honestly think of it as an almost sequel. I mean, I did read somewhere that they're working on perhaps jamming the two together? (I heard this on wikipedia, so my source is tentative at best. Damn you wiki.) So it's not supposed to be frame by frame, and the special effects are not supposed to be oatmeal and stop motion.
I'm going to do my best not to spoil this, but HOLY GOD it was gory. Like, almost too unsettling gory. The posession makeup is as good as any I've seen before, but didn't make it so I couldn't watch (Exorcist I'm still looking at you for that title. Dammit.), and still creeped me the hell out later.
The blood. Was. Everywhere. It literally rained blood. And that's not a spoiler, you all know it happened. The tree scene that everyone is all up in arms about in different places for different reasons was there, and it was even more cringeworthy (though some girl getting stabbed in the ladyparts with a branch like she was in the original... ouch. I dunno. I think I'd rather be a victim of the second one. Less splinters.)
If I had to complain, it would be about the writing. The characters are not fleshed out enough, and sometimes you just don't.. really care. And the dialogue was not all that great. But honestly, the script was polished up by Diablo Cody, so is it really any wonder?
All in all, it's very much a movie I would watch again. I would add it to my collection, and take it out to watch with friends. I'm really very much considering a Cabin in the Woods double feature with it now, just thinking about the undertones. Wow. I blew my own mind.