Considering Evil Dead has been out for nearly a week, there are more than plenty of reviews of the film floating around the internet. For inquiring minds, I found the film to be really fun but not without its problems. While the film gave me plenty of moments of squirming in my seat and uproarious laughter, there was a major issue that clouded my entire view of the film. Where the hell was this strong female character I had been promised? For weeks leading up to the film's premiere, I had been flooded with media outlets claiming their was a strong female lead guaranteeing that I would love this new storyline. I'll admit, one of the major reasons I was okay with the remake news was that if I couldn't get Ashley J. Williams, I'd at least get a strong heroine. After Jane Levy was announced as the primary character for the film, I was absolutely ecstatic. Jane Levy plays a strong-willed character on Suburgatory and I was definitely pumped to see her portray a similar character within the world of Tennessee demon cabins. As the film progressed, it became obvious very quickly that I had been lied to. This powerful female lead, this "Lady-Ash" everyone kept spouting on about simply didn't exist. I am not sure if I saw the same film as my colleagues, but there is no empowering female character within the confines of this film at all.
Jane Levy delivered an incredibly strong performance and I will not deny her of that. This major criticism comes from Fede Alvarez's story and the false advertising attached to the film's marketing campaign. Ridding an Evil Dead film of Ash was risky enough, but to add in a female protagonist was revolutionary. After hearing the praises of her performance from those who saw Evil Dead during its festival run and ensuring me "she's got a pretty awesome one-liner and some badass kill sequences," I was almost immediately set on Jane Levy's "Mia" becoming my new favorite horror idol. Sadly, I was very much mislead and mistaken. Are Mia's kill sequences bad-ass? Yes. Is Mia a final girl? Sort of. Is Mia's one-liner awesome? Yes. Is Mia an empowering female character? No. Not even close. Even from the trailers and publicity photos, it's very clear that Jane Levy is not only the same character we are told is to be the "Lady Ash," but also the character with the "Cheryl-like" deadite transformation from the original film, down to the cellar door isolation and tree rape. This bad-ass girl protagonist was the first to become a deadite and spent 90% of the film being a troubled girl. Pre-deadite Mia is a recovering drug addict going through withdrawal and being a major pain in the dick, deadite Mia is a manipulative slimeball, and this leads us to the final ten minutes of the film. For nearly an hour and a half, this supposed bad-ass shows no sign of being a strong female character in a horror film.
But wait, doesn't she come back as 'cured' and then saves the world from the evil superdeadite? Yes, hypothetical naysayer, she does come back! Lest we forget, the only reason it's possible for her to come back was because A MAN SAVED HER. Oh boy! The female bad-ass is only capable of being a bad-ass because her strong, protective big brother buried her deadite ass alive and then brought her back with a hastily made defibrillator! Had it not been for this man, Mia would still be a deadite and the entire world would have been consumed by evil, demonic forces from the other world. Once, just once, can we please get a female protagonist that doesn't need constant saving or the assistance of a man to be great? Even characters like Alice from Resident Evil are only powerful because a man installed some weird computer programming DNA enhancements to make her powerful. The closest thing women have is Ripley in Alien but one truly strong female character in a genre that cranks out hundreds of films of year is an absolute disgrace. Fede Alvarez had the potential to do something completely out of this world and revolutionary with the Mia character, and completely dropped the ball. The film has gone on to take top box-office placements and has been a huge success, and that's with advertisements still making it seem as if audiences are getting a bad-ass female lead, proving that audiences really don't give a shit what the hero has between their legs. Even if they continue on with these films as a series and show Mia to be the "Lady-Ash" we've been promised, it won't change the fact that the only reason Mia is around to be a "Lady-Ash" in the first place, is because a man took the time to save her from evil...because of course, how could a woman do anything without the aide of a man?