The Evil Dead Review

Movie: The Evil Dead
By: Kries Tyfus
Date: April 2, 2011

The ultimate experience in grueling terror

First of all, I believe the day Evil Dead came out, the world of independent horror filmmaking had changed.. a lot. Still today, there are a lot of tributes and references to Sam Raimi’s masterpiece. Not only in the world of filmmaking, but also in the music scene. Several parts and catchphrases from the movie(s) are still used in different types of songs by artists of any kind. Second, this movie is a true masterpiece. Oh, I already said that.

Into the woods..

Evil Dead follows the story of 5 friends going on a vacation together. One of them rented an old cabin, somewhere deep in the woods, far away from civilization. No one knows what to expect, cause none of them has seen the place before renting. When they finally arrive, they see that the cabin is nothing but an old dump and the area is not much of an amusing place as well. Once they get in.. the terror begins. Just when they’re ready to party, a noise coming from the other room grabs their attention. It seems it came out of the cellar. Two of the characters named Scotty and Ashley, or Ash, (played by the legendary Bruce Campbell) decide to take a look. Down in the cellar they find an old tape recorder and a weird looking book with demonic drawings on every page. In fact, the book is bound in human flesh and inked in human blood and is known as the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Naturon Demonto), or simply called ‘’the Book of the Dead”. They take the tape recorder upstairs to find out what’s on it. There’s an old man speaking about his study on “the ruins of Candar” as he lectures some sentences from the book in a strange language. While listening to the old man’s words, the ladies get really scared, while outside of the cabin an unknown force is about to get unleashed without their notice. Now, strange things are starting to happen.

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A closer look

This basically confirms the movie’s storyline. A storyline which you may not find quite original as this is some sort of concept used in various other movies before. But what is it that makes this movie so great and stands out amongst others? Well, thinking that this is Sam Raimi’s first feature film, (yes, I said Sam Raimi and yes, he’s that dude behind the success of the Spiderman movies.. *sigh*), he did a pretty awesome job. Raimi did some shorts before, but his very first feature film proves him to be a true genius. The movie was shot on a 16mm camera and had a budget of only 350.000 dollars, which is amazing when you think about it. Unlike most independent horror movies, the actors in Evil Dead can actually ‘act’. The characters are reliable and the conversations they’re having just feels ‘real’. Another thing is the make-up. Once Ash’s friends are possessed, they all turn into blood lusting demons that all look like Sally Jessy Raphael on her best day and it’s up to Ash to save them. The make-up is exactly what to expect from a low-budget horror movie. This also takes in the stunning amount of blood and gore that is used. The movie starts off very genial, but the longer you watch, the more blood and gore will crawl over your television screen. Thumbs up for nasty visuals, I say!

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In and around the cabin

Even though the entire movie is set to only one location, which is in and around the cabin, there’s not a single minute going by thinking “this is boring. I want my few bucks back, so I can buy the complete first season of Doogie Howser instead.” Evil Dead is filled with action-packed horror business with a slight sense of humour. Once you’re halfway the movie, you’ll notice that Raimi isn’t taking his story all too serious, just like most b-horror movies. Like that scene when one of the chicks is getting caught by the trees in the woods and gets a ‘special delivery’ from one of tree’s branches. It makes you go ‘’awww, come on..” but it’ll set a smile to your face while saying it, so it works. But it’s the anti-hero Ash in particular, having a few moments that will make you smile and you just feel so sorry for him. Then there’s the great camerawork. Between scenes, there are some moments like you’re looking through the eyes of a demon that is watching the kids from outside the cabin. Sometimes these moments are kinda slow with blurry visions, other times these visions are bright and the camera is fast-paced, as if it’s running. And you’ll get to see some nice close-ups as well.

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Anything bad?

Yes, I can read your mind. Cause now you’re thinking “so there’s nothing to complain about?”. Well, in fact.. there is. When the movie is coming to its end, I got the feeling that the budget was really running out. I’m not gonna spoil the ending cause you gotta see it for yourself, but I guess if they had a little more money to spend, they would’ve done it so much different. All the visuals and effects throughout the movie were really done well. Then there’s the ending that was kind of a let-down to me comparing to the rest. Also, when you don’t know much or don’t know anything at all about Evil Dead, there’s a slight chance you’ll skip this masterpiece cause of the storyline. It might give you a little ‘’been there, done that’’ kinda feeling. Maybe you’ll be thinking that way also when you’re watching the first few minutes, but I can assure you that feeling will quickly fade once you’re giving it a serious look. On the other hand, its kinda hard to avoid a movie like Evil Dead, since this movie can be considered a cult-classic.

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Just keep in mind that this is Raimi’s first ever feature film. Shot in 1980/1981 at the age of 21, which made him a talented director who was way ahead of his time. However, the storyline isn’t that much fascinating, its product overall is a true masterpiece. If you still haven’t seen it (shame on you!), go and watch it now!



The Evil Dead


The Evil Dead


Sam Raimi






Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Richard DeManincor