Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981) Review

Horror films have come a long way. From actual terror to...jump scares (a long way is apparently a long way down in terms of quality). Yeah, horror isn't what it used to be as it has since become an over saturated, jump scare filled attempt to be edgy. Jump scares aren't scary by definition. Shocking, yes but not scary. They don't haunt you, they just make your natural instincts kick in. Where am I going with this? No idea. Here's The Evil Dead...that was one of my worst introductions I've done.

Five friends take a trip out to an abandoned cabin in the woods where they find themselves caught up in the evil that lurks in the forest. They discover an ancient book known as the Necronomicon as well as a tape translating what the book says. As the tape plays, evil beings are released as the group are slowly attacked and/or possessed. The only survivor, Ash (Bruce Campbell), has to take on the evil dead alone and survive the night.

I'm sure this may be considered blasphemous but The Evil Dead is very, very dated. I could agree with those that claim the effects are still decent as I always favour practical effects for horror films over CGI anyday and the plot was fresh at the time (its basically a cliche now) however there are things that just don't hold up. This is a minor point but young Bruce Campbell does amuse me. Maybe it's because of what he ended becoming (see Army of Darkness for the answer), It is no wonder that Ash was the character they kept around seeing how forgettable and dull the rest of the cast are. Sam Raimi had to pick one to keep around and thank god it was Ash. Who knows where we would be without him. The Spider-Man trilogy would be nothing without Bruce Campbell. 

Looking at this film in terms of originality, it does very well actually. The horrors that befall the group are unique and imaginative and leave an impression. The first possessed being locked in the cellar is one of the most iconic bits of the franchise and that goes for the remake too (don't expect that this week. I haven't seen it yet). At the time, I'm sure this was a fresh horror film with great effects and I would agree. Really, the biggest problem is that they made sequels. Evil Dead II is basically a semi-remake that surpasses this one in every way. It's become a redundant film now.

The Evil Dead WAS horror classic but really hasn't aged well. This is partially down to very tiny budget and indie feel however this gives the film its charm. Its silly and cheesy...probably accidentally but that's for the sequel to decide. Did I enjoy it? Yes but I recognise that there are better films now and the sequels just did too well in surpassing it. So with all my bragging about the sequels, I reckon we should take a look and see what they did so well that made them stand the test of time much better than the original.

At the time it was a horror classic but now it's starting to show its age and was superseded by the sequels anyway.

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