Jane Levy wants to make one thing clear: “I’m not a horror fan,” she says. Well, for a non-fan she’s picked a doozy of a horror film to be in: “Evil Dead,” Fede Alvarez’s remake of Sam Raimi’s cult classic debut. In this update, we still have five kids going to a cabin in the woods and inadvertently unleashing a demonic spirit after reading from an evil, enchanted book. Only this time, instead of being on Spring Break the coeds are out in the woods to help Levy’s Mia withdraw from heroin. Thanks to updates in both practical and digital effects, the new film reaches a gruesomeness level that’s truly attention-grabbing.
Have you been finding this movie easy to talk about in interviews?
What’s good is we’re all excited about it actually, and I think we’re all really proud of it. So it’s nice to talk about stuff that you’re proud of. It’s so painful when both [the actor and the interviewer] are like, “We know it sucks, so why are we here?”
It’s nice to see a horror movie handle the credibility questions of plot so well, like why these kids would go to this creepy remote cabin in the woods in the first place.
Yeah, I don’t know if I would… I was going to say if I was going to withdraw from heroin I don’t know if I’d go to the middle of the forest, but some people would! (laughs) I like that theme because it also becomes a metaphor for the whole story, and also because it makes for good drama. You sort of understand everyone’s point of view, and I think that’s the best kind of play or movie or television show or piece of literature, when every character’s argument is right. Mia’s right, there is something in the f–king woods! But they’re right to not trust her. The only person who isn’t much right is Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) for reading from the book. (laughs) It’s all his fault.
There are some differences between this one and the original. Did you watch it for research?
I watched the original, but only after I’d gotten the job. I’d never even heard of ” The Evil Dead” when I went out for this movie. I’d heard of Sam Raimi. I mean, “Spider-Man” was my generation. The first one came out when I was, like, 12 or something.
What did you think of some of the more horrific elements when you were reading the script?
When I was reading it I thought it would be so much fun! Little did I know that it’s torturous. But I remember reading it and being like, “Oh my God, this is the horror or all horrors. It’s just relentless, it never stops. And when you think it’s gotten to its peak it’s just going to keep going.” When I was reading it I thought it was almost funny. It just becomes so terrible that you have to laugh. But I wasn’t laughing when I was making it, that’s for sure.
What was the worst part? Wearing the contact lenses?
The contacts were OK. There were so many bad things that at a certain point you just get used to it, but I think being buried alive was probably the hardest. It takes a lot of power to get your mind to feel like you’re not going to die, you know? There’s a plastic bag tied around my head and I’m inhaling plastic — but I did have an oxygen tube behind my ear — and I was laying in a ditch until I was covered completely in dirt. It’s scary. It doesn’t make you feel good, either.