Friday, December 4, 2015

The Evil Dead (1981) Film Review


Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Bruce Campbell
Series: Evil Dead Film One
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 85 Minutes

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The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror

The Evil Dead is a classic of independent horror. With unrelenting gore, and constant creepiness, this film truly stands out from most other films in the genre. The acting is not so great, but the thrills, chills, and special effects wizardry make this the most unforgettable horror film of all time.

Take your standard horror film formula, a bunch of college students in a secluded area for spring break, and forget everything else. As The Evil Dead begins, it seems very much like your typical, independent horror fare. At any moment you feel like a crazed, sack wearing slasher is going to jump out the bushes. Yet, nothing happens. Soon, you find yourself wondering where the hell this movie is going, and suddenly, WHAM.

The Evil Dead follows five college students as they cut loose in a small cabin they rented. Things quickly turn sour when one of the students finds a tape recorder and a disgusting looking book in the basement of the cabin. While everyone is gathered round, they play the tape of what seems to be an old archaeologist recording his findings. On the tape, the archaeologist begins to recite passages from the book. The passages awaken something truly evil within the woods, and the five students soon find themselves at the mercy of a host of ancient demons.

As soon as the tape is read, the film builds a horrifying momentum that it maintains throughout. Yes, the beginning is a little slow, but soon the film will have you by the throat and refuse to let go. I’ve rarely seen a horror film that effectively keeps an atmosphere of unease like this one does. Sure, The Exorcist was a haunting tale of demonic possession, but it did have moments that at least allowed it’s viewers a chance to breathe and let their minds catch up with their eyes. The Evil Dead however, is a freight train of gore spattered terror with broken brakes. The film is as relentless as it’s antagonist(s), which serves to keep you immersed in the world no matter what happens.

This is hands down, one of the goriest films I’ve ever seen (and yes, I’ve seen Cannibal Holocaust… that doesn’t count though as much of the gore was real…). The special effects are fantastic and stomach churning. Never before has the silver screen beheld such monstrous creatures. When the college students begin to defend themselves things take an even gorier turn. The amount of blood and viscera on screen is totally unrealistic, but in a film like this, totally appropriate. With such a huge pair of shoes to step into in terms of the feelings the overall plot evokes, the special effects have no problem with standing out.

It’s hard to put into words just how The Evil Dead will make you cringe and scream. The experience is totally unique to any horror film I’ve ever seen. If this movie was before your time, then you might find some things that seem cliche to you, but that’s because this movie is the original gorefest and it probably is being referenced by whatever film you might compare it to. The acting is a little shaky, and sometimes things seem a little cheesy, but remember that this is an independent film made by a group of friends on a shoestring budget. This is an absolute must see for horror fans.

Score: 9

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