The Evil Dead (1981)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition)
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Overall Rating 79%
Overall Rating
Ranked #740
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Connections: The Evil Dead

Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods, where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find a tome called the "Necronomicon", Book of the Dead, and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens are possessed. With only one remaining, it is up to him to survive the night and battle the evil dead. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 21, 2004
Our heroes are going on a vacation in a log cabin up in the woods. When they arrive, they find the place to be a bit rundown, but not too shabby overall, so they start to settle in for the night. As they're eating dinner, the basement door flies open, and they ponder what could have done this... an animal? Wind? Who knows, so Scotty goes down to investigate. He takes a bit long down there, so Ash yells down to see what's up, to no reply. Ash gets worried, so he goes down as well, only to find Scotty digging around in some junk he found down there. The findings include a single-barrel shotgun, an old book, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. All of this is brought up to be inspected in a more leisurely environment. When they huddle around the recorder and play the tape, it's some guy who used to live in this very cabin talking about what he's found in some ruins, that being the necronomicon. It's a book made out of human flesh and penned in human blood, and contains ancient tribal rites of some sort. The guy continues on to speak of some chants that will bring demons about, and he then chants them himself. Some demons out in the woods hear this recording, and are now brought out of their slumber to pick off our happy campers one by one. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

Excellent flick, which deserves the cult status it resides in. This movie was shot on a budget of $350,000, and some scenes definitely show it; however, the scare factor is definitely here, and that's something that money can't buy; only great directing and storyline work can do that. Instead of trying to get the chills on with ultra-graphic effects and makeup jobs, Raimi pulled them out by great tone-setting, background-scene-work, and sound effects. Indeed, this made for a very sweet experience, even on my fifth or sixth time watching this.

As far as gore and effects go, it was pretty much a tossup depending on the scene. In some parts, they were excellently done; in others, not. However, this did not hurt the movie at all, as the fast-pace and visuals more than made up for it. And surprisingly for an '80's horror flick, the acting from the cast is solid throughout. Bruce Campbell is great, as he is in the rest of the series; and thankfully, the jokes and one-liner's found in the sequels are four-oh-four in this series opener. Not that they don't fit in and work out with the horror-comedies that the sequels are, but they would definitely hurt this one as it was a straight-out horror. The ladies of the cast also did nicely in their roles, especially Ash's girlfriend (Betsy Baker) in her whole giggling mode. Excellently done.

Overall, if you're looking for a great horror movie and you're not spoiled to today's million-dollar budgets, pick this one up. Definitely worth it. 10/10.
Schillinger #1: Schillinger - added 08/25/2004, 09:22 AM
Really boring and overrated.
Andy #2: Andy - added 12/29/2004, 01:58 AM
No one, especially Schillinger, really understands the absolute greatness of this movie. It was so obvious, it was great. The visuals were great for that time and a true fan of comedy and horror would appreciate that.
KaOTiK #3: KaOTiK - added 02/08/2005, 08:54 AM
i wouldnt say its overrated, it's a pretty good movie, i mean, come on, a tree has sex with a woman
Hektik_2004 #4: Hektik_2004 - added 05/16/2005, 08:15 PM
This has got to be the funniest film ive seen in a long time if you havent already ssen this u should
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 05/26/2005, 06:55 PM
This movie is a classic. Bruce Cambell owns.
Ginose #6: Ginose - added 09/09/2005, 05:45 PM
I own all 3 Evil Dead movies. They're packed with horror, gore, and pure comedy! Everyone I know has loved these movies... oh the memories...
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 11/02/2005, 07:36 PM
I have never considered the first film to be horror/comedy...it always came off as straight horror to me. The sequel and third film in the series are more comedy than horror, and they are amazing, but I will always be a purist and say that the first is my favorite. 9/10.
grain of sand #8: grain of sand - added 01/05/2007, 07:30 AM
I really can't see how anyone could call this boring unless you went into it with that thought and just didn't give it up..

any fan of horror should be able to appreciate this classic, and the fun and comedic gore and violence that entails.
Stephen K #9: Stephen K - added 01/18/2008, 03:54 AM
I really thought of this as the typical teen horror flick, and I LOVED IT! the series degenerated (not in a bad way) as it went into the 2nd and 3rd into a more "Over the top" horror / comedy. I still use these as prety much the benchmark of good old popcorn eating entertainment. As a first film though, 3 thumbs way up.
Shakes #10: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 01:16 PM
Lucid Dreams #11: Lucid Dreams - added 04/26/2009, 02:14 PM
This movie was wonderful, even though it dragged on in some certain scenes, but a classic still. 10/10
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