The Evil Dead (1981)

Horror
Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.
This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
  • New Line Cinema Company:
  • Not Rated Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 24 Apr 1983 Released:
  • 19 Jan 1999 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Sam Raimi Writer:
  • Sam Raimi Director:
  • N/A Website:

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Trailer:

A movie everyone should respect !10/10

A few nights ago, a couple of friends and myself watched The Evil Dead again. It was like the 68th viewing for me ( I think...lost count somewhere around 50) but it still only means one thing to me: PARTY !! Many feeling can occur when watching this delicious masterpiece by Sam Raimi. You can either adore it, be frightened by it or be disgusted by it. But it always leaves a big impression on you and I can't imagine anyone would hate it.

And there is ONE feeling that everyone should have towards this movie...RESPECT ! Mostly respect regarding the achievement of Sam Raimi. This guy was 21 years old when he made this film and that's impressive to say the least. I'm around that age at the moment and I sure as hell haven't pulled it off yet...I strongly doubt I ever will, actually. No, when you're able to come up with such an original and dared idea for a horror film, you belong to the greatest minds in the film industry. Sam Raimi did it and his further career only confirmed his status of being a genius with every single movie he directed afterwards. Tons of respect towards Bruce Campbell as well. Sure his performance in this movie is far from great, but at the time, he did it because of his friendship with Sam Raimi. And because The Evil Dead became a big hit, his career was launched too and he certainly grew as an actor. Bruce Campbell is now in the favorite actor-list of many B-movie fans...And I'm one of them.

Then there's Tom Sullivan...responsible for the make-up. What a fine job he did. The Evil Dead gave a whole new meaning to the word "gore" and we have this man to thank for that. Most nowadays horror films still can't live up to the standard of Evil Dead...not even close.

The plot of this film is as simple as can be...but it works. Five friends drive to a small cabin in the woods to spend a small vacation. They find a tape recorder with a message...Out of curiosity, they play it and pure evil is rised in the woods. One by one, they become possessed and turn into horrible demons who try to kill those who're still alive...That's it !!! And that's all there is needed to create a fun and very original horror movie. The same story already came out in 1978 as a short film called "Within the Woods". It was meant to fund money for this film and it's great B-movie fun as well. If you're a big fan of The Evil Dead trilogy, it's certainly worth searching for.

Anno 2003, Sam Raimi has grown out to one of Hollywood's favorite directors. He became immortal in the eyes of the big budget audience with his movie Spiderman. The sequel of that one is in production while I write this. I'm sure it will be as decent as the first Spiderman was, but I'd still prefer to see Evil Dead 4 coming from the brain of Sam Raimi.

A fun trivia element to finish this review with : If you're watching the end credits of the Evil Dead, you'll see Joel Coen is credited as Assistent Editor. Coen now is a famous director as well and may be considered as the best director alive. Back in 1981, he and Sam Raimi were close friends and even shared a studio when they were in collage. Joel Coen made his debut in 1984 with Blood Simple. One of the best cult movies ever made...

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The ultimate in terror9/10

It's the early 80's, what do you expect? This is a scary scary film. And I
think I know why films now a days can't hold a candle to films like Halloween and Evil Dead. And that is because a photo copy is never as good as the original. That is the bottom line. Directors don't care about a lot of the material that they are filming today, especially when it comes to horror films and that is because they don't write their own stories. They do someone elses work. But not Evil Dead. This was Raimi's baby from the outset. When films like the two mentioned were filmed they were filmed by two directors that were complete unknowns. They had no pressure to make a great film and they did it on an incredibly low budget. Halloween was made for $150,000 and Evil Dead for $50 000. So what that meant is that the directors could stick to their visions but they had to find innovative ways to do so. Their budgets didn't allow a heap of special effects so they had to rely on what they knew. And that was, how to create atmosphere using the camera. And Evil Dead is one of the best at doing that. There is one scene in this film that I will never forget and that is one of the early scenes where the cast arrives at the cabin. Here we see a long shot of the cabin and it has very eerie music playing. This shows the cabin as being menacing. It lets you know that there is evil in that cabin. And that we are in for a hell of a ride.

Sam Raimi made a masterpiece here that I believe stands the test of time. You can put this film up against any of today's so called horror films and I
guarantee you this scares you more. Raimi cares about his movie and he does everything to make you feel the terror that the cabin people feel. We are scared and disgusted at what happens when one of the women goes outside alone at night and meets a tree that does unspeakable things. And when the book is first introduced.... that is horror movie history there. What a brilliant concept. A book that is evil. I have often wondered about such books. We hear about them all the time in movies about ancient Egypt and ancient times. But here we have a book that has weird incantations from another world and another language, and you just know that as soon as some idiot utters the words that they are not supposed to say, well they won't be around much longer.

The Evil Dead is a miracle. It was made on a rock bottom budget yet it is scarier than any Hollywood movie that is made for 20 million could ever hope to be. If you want to truly experience a frightening experience, rent this film, it knows what it wants to say. And it knows how to make you afraid. So be afraid. Be very afraid. You may never look at the forest the same again.
Interestingly good...5/10

For a film that was made on a budget that would make Steven Spielberg die laughing, "Evil Dead" was one for the most interesting pieces of horror cinema I've ever seen. I watched the series backwards, so "Army of Darkness" was the film I saw first, then "Evil Dead II." While "Evil Dead II" is probably still my favorite, it was interesting to see where it all started.


The camera work is incredibly good, and the fast motion sequences showing the demon's approach was pretty well done, if not completely original. Though also interesting, and kinda funny to note is that we see the characters running away, but when the camera switches away from the demon's view, we don't see the demon, and that seems like a touch of genius...we know it's there, but we can't see it, and while it probably was a limitation of the budget, it actually proved to be a great method of suspense.


The special effects are as laughable as they were in the rest of the series, but there's something to be said for a film that takes its chances and goes to the extreme in lieu of lacking resources. People complain about this a lot, but I have to say to them "get a sense of humor." The whole point of the "Evil Dead" series was to mock horror films and show how campy they were and that they could get even worse. It's humor is in that the film tries to take itself seriously, but the lack of a big budget makes this not only impossible, but even funny in spite of the fact that it could conceivable be a serious film.

The acting is also terrible, but again in that way that it's so obviously bad that it's hard to tell were the actors just plain bad or were they doing that deliberately to serve the purpose of mocking the genre. Bruce Campbell's introduction into the world of abused heroes is interesting since his character is actually less of a chauvinist in this one than he ultimately became famous for. But it works, and the horror on his face when his friend has no reservations about chopping up his possessed girlfriend is actually believable.

Overall, this movie is a great piece of cinema. It's humorous, but serious as well, and its greatest strength is its ability to draw the line between being part of the genre and mocking it. There are plenty of moments of original horror (I don't think anybody could keep their composure during the "Tree Rape" scene, which they repeated to lesser effect in "Evil Dead II," but let's face it that movie was supposed to be a rehash and extension). Give the film a chance and don't take it too seriously. Otherwise you're missing the point.
An indisputable horror classic, still as fresh and frightening as the day it was made.5/10

Sam Raimi is currently getting a lot of attention and acclaim for directing the over-hyped blockbuster 'Spider-Man'. That movie has introduced him to mainstream filmgoers, no bad thing in itself, but to many of us Raimi is already a legend, because he created 'The Evil Dead', without a doubt one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Made on a shoe string budget as a labour of love, it still remains Raimi's best movie. He has subsequently worked on bigger projects with bigger names but it is arguable whether he has ever surpassed the invention, thrills, energy and sheer fun of this. And why Bruce Campbell never became a genuine movie star after his debut here, and not just a much loved cult figure, is a complete mystery to me. 'The Evil Dead' is a modern horror classic and absolutely ESSENTIAL viewing for any self-respecting movie buff! It doesn't get much better than this!
Marvelously putrid.10/10

What more can be said of Raimi's legendary cult-classic that hasn't already been beaten to death like a puss-oozing zombie that crosses paths with Ash? Possibly nothing, but I'll try.

Before Spiderman and before the countless spin-offs of this movie were made or even conceived, Raimi and friends decided to make a low budget zombie flick mainly for fun, and surprisingly it has become a masterpiece of shock and horror. Possibly a perfect example of how to make an entertaining film on a shoe-string budget, The Evil Dead delivers what it promises, the ultimate in grueling horror. Even with it's mild budget and sometimes shaky acting, TED shocks and spooks the audience through chilling atmosphere and some of the most violent effects ever put on film. Those who are squeamish need not apply. As a matter of fact, just run for your girly life.

There are several reasons this film succeeds. First, Raimi's camera work is truly masterful. By using fast camera work and aggressive shots, Raimi has created an eerie world that is sometimes hard to look at but too entertaining to turn away from. His style from behind the camera is absolutely unmistakable. This is perfectly exemplified in the beginning of the film, where the camera alone creates enough atmosphere to leave you biting your nails in suspense of what's to come. You feel at any moment someone is going to get their neck chomped on by some zombie hiding just out of view. One of the most impressive openings I can think of, perfection in pacing and atmosphere. It gets even better once the action starts. Some shots hold for a seeming eternity, and part of you wishes for it to stop for it's unrestrained gore and violence...but the other part of you is getting a sick kick out of it. One of the most impressive shots is where the darkness from the trees begins to chase people, knocking any tree or obstacle down that happens to be in it's way. Truly magnificent technique, however they did it.

TED also succeeds because it's self-aware of the fact that it's a simple zombie movie and never takes itself too seriously, and doesn't expect the audience to do so either. It's meant to be campy, cheesy, revolting and chilling at the same time. There are moments in the film where it seems to be making fun of itself and the genre in general. For this fact alone, one cannot hold certain things against it such as sometimes questionable acting from the supporting cast and sometimes the downright implausibility of certain situations. If you can accept this and you're not put off by mannequin ultra-violence, then you should find yourself on the supporter's side of the fence. I think some don't like it because it can be ridiculous and cheesy in parts, although it was meant to be. Even with the fact that it's sometimes cheesy, there are some downright chilling moments in this film that most horror films nowadays cannot begin to muster. Case in point, the zombie screaming from the cellar door. The zombie growls and howls themselves are enough to send shivers up one's spine. And let's not forget the unforgettable tree love scene, ridiculous and hilarious simultaneously.

Last but certainly not least: Bruce Campbell as Ash, the badass of all zombie films. Campbell is Ash, period, and always will be.

In my opinion, this is by far the best of the trilogy, and although there could have been more of the chainsaw, this is the definitive zombie film and probably always will be. I feel it succeeds over it's sequels due to it's increased violence and lack of humor in comparison. It's blood, gore, camera work, and shock factor are still formidable even today and are what make this such a cult classic. If you've ever liked any horror film, this is an absolute must-see.

Love or hate it, there it is.