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Now I, as a reviewer, believe that if you can’t review something you truly love with the same eyes as you do everything else, you shouldn’t be reviewing things. So for your eyeball looking pleasure, I bring to you the first review of the trilogy of The Evil Dead.
What I truly love about this movie is that in 1981 the horror cliche of “Cabin in the Woods” was a fresh enough concept that scares could still be original, and the idea could be used in a different manner. You know, other than a big, dumb guy in a mask who kills teenagers for premarital….anything. Not that I hate that scenario, but….I hate that scenario. So let’s dive into one of my favorite movies. Please hold your pitchforks and torches until after the review, thank you.
The movie kicks off with five Michigan State students (insert collegiate joke here, I’m not trying to be lazy, folks, but I could go on for a long time). Our five victims…ahem…stars of the movie go up to the cabin in the woods for a little relaxation time, and because of the time this line fits: HOW ORIGINAL! Sorry. Been waiting a long time to use that. After some introductions and exposition, we meet the baddest S.O.B. in ALL of horror cinema history: Ashley J. Williams (Ash to his friends). I think we’re supposed to care about the rest of the cast, too. But we don’t.
The students stumble across an old tape recorder containing an old spell that awakens demons living in the woods. So they do the smartest thing they could: They play it. Because that’s what you do when you find evil relics and a translation of a demonic spell. You play it. Ash’s sister, Cheryl, gets possessed first, warning of death coming in the night. She freaks out and takes off into the woods, which is always a bad idea; I don’t care what genre of movie it is. When she’s in the woods, one of the most talked about, celebrated, and hated scenes in movie history takes place. I won’t mention it here, but it’s pretty dark and gruesome.
After Cheryl’s encounter, Ash decides to drive her back into town, in the middle of the night, in demon-infested woods. When in the history of ever has this worked out? Ash may be a badass by all rights after this movie, but he’s never been burdened with an overabundance of brains. After discovering the bridge has been turned into Jack Skellington’s hand, The Chin returns to the cabin with the news that they’re stranded for the night. Here’s where things get a bit freaky. The first demon makes itself known, attacking all in the cabin.
Some really disturbing violence later and the demon is cast down….to the basement. They threw this thing, that can toss people like a paper airplane with one hand and looks like she got hit by the world’s most awful coconut cream pie, in the basement. Michigan State, everyone. One by one, the other cabin members fall to the woods and the demons. Several of them get hacked up by an axe, and one manages to lose her head at the end of a shovel. I’d go into more detail, but this part of the movie is a whirlwind of gore and violence that doesn’t stop. An ankle gets stabbed, a woman chews off her own hand, and white blood flows easily.
This is another movie that I don’t want to give away the climax to, because if you haven’t seen it…..I….Turn in your B-Flick card, right now. For the tiny budget they had and the still fresh subject material, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made a formidable horror film that still holds up today. The effects are campy, the story cliche, and the actors amateur, but it’s still awesome. What’s even more incredible is that this movie set a few standards that still exist, including the horror hag, travel cam, and the beginning of two careers that are more than influential today. Go and check it out. Thank you for reading. Now you may proceed with the pitch forks and torches.
Watch the trailer to the Evil Dead