Fall is fast approaching. The weather is getting cooler and it’s getting the perfect time to go out to the woods and snuggle up next to your honey near a fire. When your friends invite you and your lady friend out to an isolated cabin in the wilderness for some good times and libations, it sounds like a good idea. When they tell you they got it for cheap you assume that it has to be a pit, and when you get there it is. Everything seems to be in order, but when the cellar door starts flapping in the house like there’s someone down there, you should just leave it alone. If you do happen to go down there and find a book that looks like it’s got a cover made of skin, a tape recorder and some kind of ceremonial dagger – for the love of all that is holy, don’t bring them upstairs and play the recording. You might just unleash The Evil Dead…
Unfortunately, as you can probably tell that’s what Ash (Bruce Campbell), Scott, Cheryl, Linda and Shelly do and it unleashes hell upon them. After playing the recording they found, it recants a passage from the book, which in turn releases the evil dead demons of Kandar. At first this just freaks Cheryl out, but while she’s in her room it does much more. She’s drawn to the window, and then shortly out into the woods. When she’s far enough into the woods, the demons take possession of the trees and take a hold of her, pin her down and rape her. That’s right folks, tree rape. While not as graphic as the maggot rape in Galaxy of Terror, it’s still pretty unsettling. Cheryl escapes and runs back to the house while being chased by the tree demons, and when she gets in she quickly transforms into a demon herself.
Cheryl is locked in the cellar, and taunts Ash and the others from the darkness. The demon spreads to the other members of the party, and leaves just Ash and Scott untouched. That is, until Scott tries to leave. While Ash deals with Linda who is transforming quickly herself, Scott stumbles back into the cabin half dead saying how the demons won’t let them leave, and they’ll have to survive until the sun rises – easier said than done.
The Evil Dead is one of the best gory movies on the lowest of budgets. While the first half of the movie is more of your normal horror fare with jump scares and building suspense, the second half is a gore fest with full on buckets of blood being splashed on people, pipes bursting with blood and stop motion demon disintegration. It reminds me a lot of the ending of Dead Alive, but on a much lower scale. I’m sure if there were as many people in the final scenes of Evil Dead as there were in Dead Alive, it would probably be just as gory though. I’m not usually one for over the top gore just to be gory but in this case it really works.
At parts, the movie feels like it’s a lot deeper than just the blood, guts and demon possession. When Linda is possessed, you can feel the tension and apprehension that Ash feels when he has to take her out of her misery. With Scott in the background egging him on, you can tell it’s not an easy decision for him, and the demon realizes it too. Ash gets a little bit of a mindfuck trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fake. He knows what he has to do, but until he comes to grips with it he won’t allow himself to do it.
The Evil Dead is a great movie that does something a lot of horror movies can’t seem to get right now a days – build suspense. You don’t even see what the actual demons look like until about a third of the way in, but when you do it’s a blitz of blood and bile. To put it in perspective, I usually like to take about 12-18 screenshots to include in these reviews, and without pairing them down (but taking out duplicates) I have 42. 42 screenshots of gory goodness – and it was difficult to figure out what to include and what to toss… that says a lot right there. If you’re a gore hound that actually enjoys the story behind the horror, this movie is right up your alley. The Evil Dead gets 4 Kandarian demons out of 5.
The Evil Dead [usr=4]