body horror

[Movie Review] The Evil Dead (1981) ★★★★★

a possessed Linda in The Evil Dead 1981

The Evil Dead is a blood soaked occult slasher and an over the top fun gore fest.


The Evil Dead is a low budget project by college friends Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell, that resulted in a highly creative and inventive body horror with loads of blood and bodily fluids dripping from your screen. With great camerawork and original shots, a tense atmosphere is created aside from all the gory fun. 

It combines the occult, the supernatural, zombie-like possessed people and the total atmosphere of terror and dread which inevitably has led to the cult status it obtained. It’s a gore fest to the max, it’s over the top campy bloody fun that resulted in an outstanding franchise with remarkable remakes/reboots/sequels.


Plot

Ash Williams and his girlfriend Linda, his sister Cheryl, his best friend Scotty and friend Shelly spent a short holiday weekend in a remote cabin in the woods. When they find a strange book called the Naturom Demonto or the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the creepy basement and a taperecorder which they play, an incantation is spoken aloud that wakes up the evil spirits of the forest who want to possesses and kill them one by one.


Why you should watch it

This film is a perfect example of creative low budget film making. It proves that you don’t need a lot of money to make an excellent film. Just creativity, inventiveness and some determined people. Actually the best scenes originated from a lack of money and a very creative solution. Like the invisible spirits who run through the woods or are lurking in front of the cabin, camerashots from disorienting angles, and very committed actors willing to get absolutely filthy. It paid well off and resulted in a brilliant film. 

The practical effects are a joy to watch, many bodily mutilations are very explicitly filmed. The Deadites are very creepy and body parts and blood is everywhere. Due to knives, metal rods, axes, a chainsaw even, we get some exploding heads, chopped off limbs and limbs crawling across the floor. There’s an excruciating long death scene, a rape scene caused by forest vines, a lot of demonic giggling, and a hint of dark humor. All these visual, practical, and creative elements add to the originality of this film.


My favorite part

You may, due to the excessive amount of blood, and gore and graphic horror, forget how beautifully and artfully this film is shot. The point of views from the cameras, the different perspectives, from different heights and dutch angles, askew angles, the fast paced movements of the cameras and the strong editing, are almost lost through this excessive gore. 

The movements of the spirits through the woods, the way we see them invisibly lurking in front of the cabin looking through the window. Their portentous presence builds up a foreboding tense atmosphere of terror and dread, without even showing them. 

The special and practical effects used to fill up a light bulb with blood, the fun camera alternations between the perspective of the locked up Cheryl who peeps through the hatch and the others in the room is fun and brings even more dynamics to the film. 

And don’t forget the ominous book and tape recorder they find, which adds to the horror fun and plays an important role throughout the rest of the franchise. 

And last but not least, this ‘cabin in the woods’ movie could be (one of) the first horror movies that entirely takes place in a cabin. At least it started a whole new concept idea for future horror movies in a remote cabin cut off from everything and surrendered to whatever horror the ignorant young adults stumble upon. Like The Cabin in the Woods (2011).

The Evil Dead has to be liked not only for its graphic gore and blood soaked possessed characters but foremost for its excellent cinematography, art design and practical effects which make the story come to life. It’s more than just an occult slasher with possessed people who get gruesomely killed, it’s camp at its best.


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★


Read more about The Evil Dead:


Cast and crew

The Evil Dead is directed and written by Sam Raimi and produced by Robert Tapert. It stars Bruce Campbell (Ash), Ellen Sanweiss (Cheryl), Hal Delrich/Richard DeManincor (Scott), Betsy Baker (Linda) and Sarah York/Theresa Tilly (Shelly).

Duration: 85 minutes. Music: Joseph LoDuca. Cinematography: Tim Philo. Edited by: Edna Ruth Paul. Produced by: Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, Gary Holt, Irvin Shapiro.  Production company: Renaissance Pictures. Distributed by: New Line Cinema.


Check the trailer below


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