Evil Dead is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by Fede Álvarez, in his feature directorial debut, written by Rodo Sayagues and Álvarez and produced by Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi, and Bruce Campbell. The fourth installment in the Evil Dead franchise, it serves as a soft reboot/continuation of the original film series. The film stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore. The film follows a group of five people being possessed and killed by supernatural entities in a remote cabin in the woods.
Talks for a fourth Evil Dead film began in 2004, with original film actor Bruce Campbell the possibility for a next film in the franchise. The project was officially announced in July 2011, with Ghost House Pictures producing it, with Diablo Cody in the process of revising the script and Fede Álvarez chosen as the director. Much of the cast joined from January to February 2012. Filming took place in March 2012 and wrapped in May 2012 in New Zealand outside of Auckland, lasting about a month.
Evil Dead had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival on March 8, 2013 and was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2013, by Sony Pictures Releasing and TriStar Pictures. The film grossed $97 million worldwide against a production budget of $17 million.
The film opens with a teenage girl running through the woods, who is captured by her pursuers (two hillbillies) after tripping on some branches. Subdued with a sack over her head, she awakens to find herself tied up in the fruit cellar of an old cabin, where an old woman is reciting incantations from a strange book. The girl also sees her father (holding a shotgun) and pleas with him to let her go. After he refuses, the girl reveals that she has been possessed by a demonic spirit and threatens to kill him. Her distraught father raises the shotgun and fires.
Years later, David Allen and his girlfriend Natalie arrive at the cabin, where they meet his estranged younger sister Mia and his friends Eric, a high school teacher, and Olivia, a nurse. The group plans to stay in the cabin while Mia overcomes her heroin addiction. After several hours, Mia begins having serious withdrawal symptoms, and complains of an overwhelming scent of decay, which the others do not smell. While inspecting the cabin, David discovers that the cabin's cellar is littered with rotting animal corpses, a shotgun, and a book called the Naturom Demonto.
Eric, despite warnings, reads an incantation from the book, awakening a malevolent force. Mia begins seeing a bloody girl in the woods, and begs the group to leave. They refuse, believing she is experiencing withdrawal. Mia takes Eric's car and leaves, but while driving sees a naked girl and swerves, crashing into a tree. Mia exits the car and runs into the woods, where several vines from a demonic tree trap her. After Mia sees a demonic version of herself, a vine comes out of its mouth and enters her body, possessing her.
David finds his murdered dog Grandpa along with a bloodied hammer, and goes to confront Mia in the shower. He sees her scalding herself and tries to drive her to a hospital, but rain floods the road. That night, the possessed Mia shoots David. As Olivia moves to retrieve the gun, Mia overpowers her and pukes a large amount of vile substance onto her face before falling into the basement. As Natalie attends to David's wounds, Olivia goes to retrieve the medicine only to be possessed by unseen forces. When Eric discovers her in the shower cutting her cheek with a shard of a broken mirror, he stumbles backward and slips; she stabs Eric repeatedly with a hypodermic needle before he bludgeons her to death. Mia lures Natalie into the cellar, where she bites her hand, molests her and kisses her. David opens the trapdoor, allowing Natalie to escape.
Eric explains that according to the Naturom Demonto, the Taker of Souls must claim five souls to unleash the Abomination. Natalie, convinced that her arm is infected, amputates it. David patches up her arm while Eric explains that Mia must be "purified" either by live burial, bodily dismemberment, or burning. The now-possessed Natalie attacks the pair with a nail gun but David shoots her other arm off; Natalie returns to normal but bleeds to death in his arms.
David begins to douse the cabin in gasoline, in order to burn down the cabin with Mia in it. However, as Mia starts singing a song from their childhood, he decides to bury her instead. He digs a grave and heads into the cellar to try to subdue Mia, who attempts to drown him. Eric intervenes, but is fatally stabbed. David sedates and buries Mia before unearthing and defibrillating her, begging her to return to him. The demon is exorcized and Mia is healed. David enters the cabin to retrieve the car keys, but the now-possessed Eric appears and stabs him in the neck. David locks Mia out to protect her and shoots a gasoline can, destroying Eric's body and killing himself.
As Mia watches the cabin burn, she notices blood raining from the sky. The Taker of Souls rises in the form of how Mia was when possessed, going after Mia to claim her soul to complete itself. Mia attempts to flee in the car, but fails. She instead crawls into the shed and grabs a chainsaw to fight back. When the Abomination throws the car at Mia, it crushes her hand. She tears off her hand and slices the Abomination in half with the chainsaw. Its corpse sinks into the ground and the rain stops. Mia, hardened by the events of the night, stumbles into the woods. Unknown to her, the Naturom Demonto is still intact.
In a post-credits scene, an older Ash Williams (the protagonist of the original three Evil Dead films) is seen in shadowed profile. He remarks "Groovy" before turning suddenly to face the camera.