The remake of the immortal Evil Dead might not have set the world alight, even if it at its climax it did most of its cast. In addition to the ending we saw in theaters and an alternate version though, a third was also partially shot but never used, and had been planned to be taken even further.
The finale of Evil Dead sees heroine Mia escape from the demon-haunted cabin that claimed the lives of her brother and friends, then destroy the Abomination summoned by a dark ritual, losing an arm in the process, before limping away into the woods. An alternate ending sees her collapsing on a country road and picked up by a kindly trucker who drives her to the hospital, only for her eyes to ominously flick open as she lies on the back seat, presumably to have been superimposed with demonic CGI that was never added.
Speaking with Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew podcast, director Fede Álvarez discussed another, far more brutal direction that had been planned, saying:
“The original ending – we shot some of it – ended like the original movie. “[Mia] was going to walk out of the house, she’s limping away from the house and suddenly the force – you know, the crazy camera running through the woods – would come out of the house, she would turn around, scream, and that would be it, that would be the end of it.”
“In the script, we went a little bit further and we say, well, that’s what we saw in the original movie, so I think we should see more this time. It was written as she levitates for the first time – because you never see levitation in the movie. It was kind of the rules of [our] Evil Dead, to never see anything that tells you right away that you’re in a supernatural world. So no one floats [in] Evil Dead. But in the last moment, she will float. Suddenly her body was all tensed up like Exorcist-style, and then we were going to rip her apart like every limb or something like that. She was going to explode into this bomb of blood.”
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He went on to explain that it was Sam Raimi himself who convinced them to take it in a different direction, reasoning that after everything Mia had endured, the audience would want her to survive and that spontaneously killing her would make them feel cheated.
Overall, the ending that Evil Dead was eventually granted was probably the best overall of the mooted options. Mia’s ordeal is over, but it’s also tacitly suggesting the evil could eventually return, leaving the door open for a potential sequel.