A couple of friends visit a remotely located cabin in the middle of the woods. There they find an old tape recorder which belongs to a professor. He recants some verses from the book of the dead on the tape and awakens an evil presence in the woods which starts to attack the people in the cabin. That is the plot for The Evil Dead, the first of three movies written and directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell in what would be his most legendary role.
The Evil Dead is a cult movie; it’s one of the “video nasties” of these 80’s when home video started gaining ground and was banned in several countries, the main reason being the scene in which a young woman gets raped by a tree. Over the years it gained a cult following, made Bruce Campbell a horror movie star and even spawned two superior sequels. The fact that they are superior should come as a surprise as most trilogies tend to have inferior sequels. The Evil Dead might be a classic in it’s own right, that’s not to say it’s without its problems.
The trend of remakes is something people will tend to frown upon, but watching this movie just recently I came to the conclusion that new and young viewers look at this movie differently than I did around 20 years ago. This is a first time low budget movie by an inexperienced, though talented, director starring a cast of unknowns. Even Bruce Campbell isn’t a household name nowadays. The special effects are mediocre, the puppetry obvious and the stop-motion as fake as stop-motion always has been.
But if you look past that this is quite an enjoyable movie. It has a nasty tone, reminiscent of various other late 70’s horror movies in which evil sometimes prevailed, there are some ingenious direction choices like the floating camera and buckets of gore. It’s a decent horror movie, but topped by it’s two sequels which had bigger budgets and more humor injected into the script.