The Reviewinator: The Evil Dead (1981)

evildeadAs you may have guessed by the very fact that this review exists, I am a hardcore Evil Dead fan. I’m even a fan of everything that has to do with it: books, comics, video games, you name it. Horror movies to this day are compared to it. And it’s true that cabin-in-the-woods movies are hardly original anymore, but there was a time when it was, and The Evil Dead used its woodsy setting to absolute perfection.

Five dear friends (Ash, Linda, Cheryl, Scottie, and Shelly) drive out in Ash’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 (<–director Sam Raimi’s actual car!) to a remote cabin in the woods. There they find an ancient book, an evil-looking dagger, and a tape recorder. By playing the tape recorder, passages from the book are spoken aloud, unleashing a long-dormant evil entity onto our unsuspecting heroes.

Scottie (credited as Hal Delrich) takes charge for most of the first half. He’s the alpha of the group, leaving his buddy Ash (Bruce Campbell) cowering in the corner whenever its time to fight. But after Scottie’s forced to kill the one he loves, he can’t take it anymore and abandons them, leaving Ash to rise up and become the man he was born to be, and thus creating probably the most memorable hero in a genre dominated by villains. Sure he still has both hands in this movie, but every great hero starts off as a normal guy, and it’s great to go back and see how young Ash handles himself against early Deadites.

This movie does everything right. From the creepy setting, to the relatable characters, to Sam Raimi’s crazy camera tricks, to the absolutely ridiculous amounts of blood; this is a horror movie meant not just to scare, but to keep your eyes glued to the screen no matter what. Every shot has something worth looking at, from the POV “force” pushing its way through the woods to the milk-spewing demon girlfriend to the liquid mirror; these are just some of the many things that makes this movie a frame of reference for almost every up-and-coming filmmaker of the last few decades.

The Evil Dead is a classic. And for so many reasons. The unsettling tone, the monsters, the image of Cheryl locked up in the cellar, and last but not least: the debut starring role of the man himself, Bruce Campbell. This movie has everything a horror fan could want. And the occasional funny bits just add to the experience. Every horror fan… No, everyone in the world should see this movie. So what are you waiting for? JOIN US!

5 out of 5

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