I can't fault this movie on much. Maybe the editing was too much "Action" and not enough "Suspense". Maybe the excellent sound design became cartoony at times. Maybe the staging was a bit stage-y. But overall this 2013 remake lives up to its classic source material.
They tossed out some of the more fantastic things and went for something more grounded in accepted realism. You won't find Lovecraftian religions, raping trees, demons melting into multicolor goo or books with faces. And all of that stuff is missed. But its all replaced with things that keep it unique and strong. The ludicrously stupid characters of the original are replaced by much brighter, more mature, thinking, motivated (and more attractive) versions of themselves. The charming amateurish look of the original is made glossy, brooding and very atmospheric (thanks to that Hollywood budget). It wisely copies the originals slow methodical pace into anarchy, making its hard to find a modern horror film that moves this fast and slick for so long. Its whiz-bang filmmaking geared for the teen audience, and it makes no bones about it.
It never achieves the terror or creativity of the first, but it is still tense and it will offend the squeamish. Overall, I wouldn't call this an Evil Dead film. Its not really based on the original as much as framed around it. Stylistically, its closer to an entry in the Exorcist series and feels like the 2003 Texas Chainsaw reboot. While that may turn off old school Evil Dead fans, I think it helps set this remake apart as its own entity with its own rules and influences. I may start reaching for this film over the honored classic. Even though it doesn't achieve half of what that 1981 film did, its a great monument to where horror is now. By being newer and hipper, its less timeless. But it comes close.