If you watch The Cabin in the Woods (CW) and then the remake of The Evil Dead (ED), you will hate the generic story-telling of the latter. CW deliberately adheres to every slasher movie cliché because the film intends to be a parody, not of the Scary Movie variety, but as a pun for the greater good, depicting a necessary pars pro toto ritual. As it turns out, ED hit on every possible slasher movie cliché depicted by CW.
There’s the similarity in archetypes: whore, athlete, scholar, fool, and virgin. Characters don’t need to fit the literal definition of the words entirely. The point is that the first person to die falls under the moniker of whore, while the last remaining survivor, ED’s Mia, is the virgin who may or may not die, as long as she suffers. An interesting side note is how Mia, aggressive drug addict, paradoxically fits the virgin mold.
Throughout ED, bad things happen when the group is separated. This is one of the slasher clichés mentioned in CW; in that movie, the athlete, also the group leader, remarks that they should stick together, to the chagrin of the technicians manipulating the circumstances. There’s a faint hypnotic smoke from the ventilator, which possesses the athlete to suggest a deliberate group separation. Of course, slasher films don’t progress unless a group of people disband, and in ED, the only method for killing off characters.
Another comparison is how the characters in ED and CW get into trouble in the first place. In both films, they visit old cabins that nobody in their right mind would enter. There’s a hidden basement, and they are supposed to investigate. Not only do they need to enter an obviously private area, but the characters are supposed to touch random things for no other reason than screen writing manipulation. Afterward, a character reads peculiar phrases in Latin, instigating unnatural phenomenon.
To its credit ED is spectacularly gory. There’s a lot of blood, dismemberment, and a beautiful scene in which the virgin character throws up a liter of blood onto her friend’s face. But the overused form of story-telling ruins the film. The original ED became a hit because the slasher genre hadn’t formulated into its current form. Plus, that film wanted to be satirical and funny. It takes a movie like CW to prove that slasher films aren’t good anymore less they poke fun at the genre.