The Evil Dead

Tagline : The ultimate experience in gruelling terror.

Runtime : 85 mins

Genre : Horror

Vote Rating : 7.3/10

Budget : 350 thousand $ USD

Revenue : 29.6 million $ USD


Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : In 1979, a group of college students find a Sumerian Book of the Dead in an old wilderness cabin they've rented for a weekend getaway.

Cast Members

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Reviews

RELEASED IN 1981 (but not until April, 1983, in the USA) and written & directed by Sam Raimi, “The Evil Dead” chronicles events when five Michigan State students travel to a remote cabin in western Tennessee for spring break wherein they discover a copy of the Book of the Dead and an audiotape whose incantations resurrect demons in the woods. Havoc ensues. This is a cult classic movie and the famous director’s first full-length feature. It only cost $350,000 to make and was shot in 1979, as well as the first weeks of 1980. Bruce Campbell makes for a quality protagonist and there’s a good trio of girl-next-door types (Ellen Sandweiss, Theresa Tilly and Betsy Baker), but Raimi only really takes advantage of these feminine resources with Sandweiss as Cheryl. The first half of the movie is great, which involves the five students’ arrival to the cabin and the initial possession/attack sequences. It’s atmospheric, well executed and compelling. The second half, however, is redundant. While each new attack ups the ante it’s basically more of the same in the same setting (the cabin). Don’t get me wrong, the second half is effective chaotic & chilling horror with loads of cartoony gore, but it’s too one-dimensional with no meaty subtext to chew on. It’s just people being attacked by hideous creatures, one after the other. This simplistic approach CAN work, as witnessed by 1972's "Gargoyles," but in that movie the initial gargoyle attacks led to a captivating confrontation in their hellish cave complex in the last act. The latter half of "The Evil Dead," by contrast, is just one attack after another in the same general setting. But the latter half of “The Evil Dead” is just one attack after another in the same general setting. This might work for 11-14 year-olds who are wowed by cartoonish gore and constant diabolic thrills, but it doesn’t work for more mature people who require some element of mindfood or, at least, variation to keep interested. Another negative is the final gory sequence which is decidedly low-budget and cartoony, albeit creatively and expertly done on a film student level. THE FILM RUNS 1 hour & 25 minutes and was shot in Morristown, Tennessee, with additional work done in Michigan. GRADE: B-/C+

Decent watch at best, probably won't watch again, and can't recommend unless you just love classic gore practical effects. I'm honestly confused why this was such a bit hit at the time. Maybe it was just part of the trends, maybe the 1980s was just when people wanted to see horrific gore, and there was a lack of options. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad. I don't feel like we get a proper explanation of what the hell is happening, so no expectations is really built to be subverted, but I certainly wouldn't want this movie to explain anymore than it did. I'm honestly not sure exactly what to say about it: it's a "don't mess with dark forces you can't possibly understand" trope with a bunch of blood, gore, and weirdly designed possession. Part of what I enjoy about (even paranormal) survival situations like this is the idea that their is / was a way out of it, if the characters can figure it out. This is more of just someone blew up a dam, and now we're going to die from a flood. I just feel like this movie could have been a lot more, and I'm not going to remember this, but I had a good enough time watching it.

The last time I watched this film, I was about ten years old. So, this is essentially a new viewing. I though the first twenty or so minutes were quite slow. Poor acting and dialogue led me to believe this was going to be another run of the mill 80's horror movie. But, once that action is established, it does not let up, with the next hour filled with nonstop thrills, leaving very little room to breathe. It was exhilarating with some fantastic tension, camera work, and special effects that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up. It is incredible what Raimi was able to do with such a small budget. The story and dialogue leave some to be desired, but everything else is truly amazing. This is truly worth all of the praise it gets. Score: 86% 🏅 Verdict: Excellent

Right, so we all head off on a weekend trip to stay in a remote cottage. When we arrive, having crossed a distinctly dodgy bridge, we discover a ramshackle shack. Me, well I'm not getting out of the car, much less staying the night in the place. They are braver than me, though, so in they go for a night of Trivial Pursuits... In the basement, they discover a real-to-reel tape recorder with some tape that reveals that the previous occupants had discovered that the whole place was riddled with a Sumerian curse which the dozy pillocks proceed play aloud - I'm definitely back in the car; but by now it's too late and all hell breaks loose. What gets me is the choices they make under pressure - outside is the last place they want to go - without a Gattling gun anyway - but yet, off they go - in the middle of the misty, dark, night - and guess what...! This has suffered from the ravages of time; the effects are just silly now (think Ray Harryhausen with his first year chemistry set and some Fairy liquid) - but it is still quite scary; and that's largely down to Sam Raimi's style of storytelling: he uses close ups, light and sound to create tension and suspense and Bruce Campbell is actually quite decent as the hopelessly out of his depth "Ash". Still works well on a big screen - 40 years later.

**A case study on makeup and pre-CGI effects.** I saw this film recently, and I wasn't particularly pleased. I recognize Sam Raimi's talent and his special aptitude for horror films, but the films he made in the 80s, in my opinion, have aged poorly and today seem extremely dated. And that defines this film quite well. Even so, the film was important at the time, a huge box office success that made the fortunes of several of those involved and still has its loyal legion of fans, who will forgive me for not liking it very much, I'm sure. The film takes place in a cabin in the forest, with a group of friends, and the undead who appear to carry out the usual massacre. There are a lot of points of contact between this film and other living dead films with a similar script, it seems that they all drew from the same primordial source. Furthermore, the film's script was clearly not the most important issue in the conception of the overall work. The story is flawed and it is the most violent scenes that save the film from being worse than it is. The ending is particularly bloody and unsuitable for sensitive people or those with more irritable stomachs. I've seen other works by Bruce Campbell, and the truth is that this actor has never been able to convince me of his talent. He's a decent actor, but he's not a nationally or internationally talented actor. In this film, he simply does what a hero destined to survive would predictably do, under the same conditions, and jumps from cliché to cliché until the final outcome. The rest of the cast is so immeasurably weak that I won't waste time analyzing it. Suffice to say, they are there to die. Where this film truly excels is in the use of special effects to visually accentuate the various fight scenes between young people and the undead. From the blood, to the bizarrely colored goo, and several convincing makeup effects, this film is a case study in pre-CGI makeup and visual effects, done in very cheap but surprisingly convincing and pragmatic ways. It lacked the necessary budget for more competent work, and a better cast and story.

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