Friday, October 15, 2010

Movie Appraisal: The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead is one of the better horror movies of all time. Sure, I can argue that it looks like a very low-budget film, it acts like a really low-budget film, and besides Bruce Campbell the actors are mostly terrible, but this movie also has some great things going for it.

I love this movie. It shows me that Sam Raimi is an actual good director for the most part. I really couldn't have cared less about his Spider-Man movies because I hate Spider-Man that stupid suit-wearing, wise-cracking, Spider-Man... I don't know why my reaction to Spider-Man is so visceral, but I just hate everything about him. I kind of wish the character had never been born... but I'm getting off topic.

The Evil Dead series is one of the better known comedy-horror hybrids of movies. I mean, this franchise also put BRUCE CAMPBELL (AKA THE GREATEST MAN ALIVE) on the list of best actors to ever grace the screen. You may think I'm showing my sarcastic side here, but I actually really like Bruce Campbell as an actor. He does a great job in every movie I've ever seen him in and that's more than I can say about Viggo Mortensen or Kurt Russell... as examples.

Anyway, this whole franchise is mostly very good. The first movie, which is the one I'm reviewing here, is easily the least known and hardest to find. The third movie, Army of Darkness, is usually thought of as the best of the three... but I strongly disagree on that count. I mean, it's not as if I hate Army of Darkness, but it's a little too campy for my taste. I'd rather have horror with my horror movie and Army of Darkness is a campy horror-action film, which is perfectly watchable... just not the type of movie I really like.

The second movie, The Evil Dead II, is also very good. Hell, the whole franchise is... but it ups the campiness from the first movie up to eleven... which is fine for the movie it's trying to be, but a little upsetting because The Evil Dead is actually quite a wonderful horror movie.

Now, I'm sure you've seen, or at least heard of, movies that have plots like: Four college students go up to a cabin for a weekend of sex and fun and then something happens. In this case it's that they play a recording of the guy, a professor, who previously live there, and wake up an evil from the woods when the professor's voice says an incantation to wake it up. Yeah, it's kind of a weird way to get stuff started up, but it works really effectively.

You might think that this movie is campy and full of hilarious things all over the place... but it isn't and it doesn't. This is a purely horror film from beginning to end. And it works really well. You start liking the characters (especially Ashley Williams played by the inimitable Bruce Campbell) and fear for them as the trees and the dead come back to life to kill them all.

It works effectively because you know they're all screwed, but you hope that they make it until morning. I mean... at least one of them must make it out of the cabin alive, right? Right?

Well... sure... Ash makes it out of the cabin... but he doesn't get very far...

The filmography in this movie is fantastic. I have to admit that straightaway. In this movie you can easily see just what kind of filmmaker Sam Raimi was going to be, and what I mean by that is that he's a really good one. He started off a whole new way of shooting horror films with this movie... and even though most of his other "horror" films are just campy action flicks, this movie, as definite horror, really was a genre type of starter on many of the same brand of horror films and the way one directs horror films.

I'm going to state something else here too... this movie is scary and gory. It has scenes that are uncomfortable to watch and the fear is very real. You kind of feel like you don't want to go into the woods at night after watching this film. I like The Evil Dead as the horror movie it truly is... I only wish that its sequels had been more of the same despite their quality.

Well, those are my two cents. Check it out if you haven't.

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