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– by Daniel Tafoya

One of the highlights of this year’s Beyond Fest, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, was the screening of The Evil Dead: Reimagined, a version of Sam Raimi’s classic low budget horror movie with a new score by original composer Joe LoDuca and an updated sound mix, supervised by Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski. All of this, combined with a 4K restoration of the film’s visuals made for the best version imaginable of The Evil Dead and a memorable night at one of the country’s best genre film festivals.

Preceding the film was a live performance by a chamber orchestra conducted by LoDuca. They played cues from the original score, in addition to ones from the new score and even a short original composition written specifically for the night’s event. That all put the audience in the mood for what was to come.

The Evil Dead, despite its low budget and the somewhat dodgy makeup effects that come with it, has stood the test of time as a classic indie horror film. It’s entertaining as heck on its own, but for me, the true power it holds is in its ability to inspire filmmakers. So much of it is well done by the very young Raimi, who was joined by his childhood friend Bruce Campbell, and if they could pull it off, what’s to stop anyone else? To see where both have gone in their careers in the intervening years gives one hope for what it is possible to achieve in film if you have talent and are willing to work hard to achieve your dreams.

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The new score is more intense than the original, heightening the scare factor considerably. Moments that didn’t have a visceral impact with the earlier music, stand out more with the new accompaniment. Credit is also due to the new sound mix, as well, on that account.

Even minus the great live music element that night, seeing The Evil Dead: Reimagined on the big screen reminded this viewer of its place in the pantheon of indie horror classics. It stands with Night of the Living Dead as one of the greats, and Raimi is right there with Romero, Craven and their likes, as a legendary horror filmmaker, when he’s not too busy making blockbusters about web-slinging superheroes.

Recommended if you liked: The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Army of Darkness

FINAL GRADE: A

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