The lights are on
Every horror movie fan remembers the first film that sparked their obsession with the genre. For David Chateauneuf, co-founder of Red Barrels and developer of the terrifying indie horror game Outlast, that movie is Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. A remake of the 1981 cult classic recently hit theaters, so I asked Chateauneuf to share his thoughts on the film as a connoisseur and creator of horror.
Spoilers are ahead for those still waiting to see the 2013 Evil Dead remake.
Chateauneuf explains that he loves the unpredictable, creepy, and unnatural actions of the demonically possessed characters. Chateauneuf compares Evil Dead’s unique take on demons to the revolution that zombies underwent in horror films with 28 Days Later and Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake.
“In the past, zombies were slow and stupid,” says Chateauneuf. “Now, they are fast and furious. They made that change because people weren't scared of them anymore. But with Evil Dead where all the action happens in a small place, they had to find a new way of making them scary and dangerous without transforming them into some fast and furious demons.”
Red Barrels and Chateauneuf's game, Outlast
While Chateauneuf loved the surreal, spontaneous violence of Evil Dead’s demons, he was disappointed by the lack of homage to Raimi’s zany camerawork.
“I am such a fan of the first Evil Dead because I loved their filming techniques,” says Chateauneuf. “They had a camera linked on the shotgun and a camera as the eyes of the creatures. Sam [Raimi] created something different at that time, and that was something that made the movie awesome. I was hoping the same for the remake, but apparently they didn’t decide to go for that direction or to find new ways of filming.”
Another departure from the original film in Chateauneuf’s eyes is the remake’s tendency to over-explain things. The original The Evil Dead tends to throw random mayhem at its viewer, leaving interpretation up for debate. Chateauneuf misses that sense of mysterious horror.
“It feels that they tried to justify everything and create a story that fits perfectly,” says Chateauneuf. “Actually, the movie starts with a past event of a girl being burned on a post. The original movie starts and we are already into the story following the group of kids in the car. Sometime later, we understand that something is watching the car from the woods. Then later on, we see that the bench is bouncing off the cabin’s wall and stops after a few seconds for no reason. Why? There’s no need to explain. Is it weird? Yes.”
Warning: The trailer below is super gross.
“In my opinion, it is good sometimes to just let the audience create their owns answers and explanations,” says Chateauneuf. “We don’t have that anymore. Many more people don’t want to use their brain when they watch a movie. They want an easy solution so they can turn off their brains and watch. But I say it’s a mistake.”
Finally, Chateauneuf sounds off on his favorite moments from the movie.
“There are many sequences in the movie that I liked a lot,” says Chateauneuf. “The blood rain was completely insane. The part where the girl cuts off her arm is good. The attack of the needle in the cheek is really disgusting. Actually, I was hoping for more of that stuff. In the original version, Sam [Raimi] wasn't scared to show us some dismemberment of a full demon on the ground and other unpleasant moments.”
“I could talk a lot more on the remake and on the original Evil Dead, but I would have to write a book,” says Chateauneuf. “I had a really good time watching the movie and I’ll go watch it again.”