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The Evil Dead (1981) Review

Ah, one of the classic video nasty’s, a bullet through the head ride of guts, mayhem and demonic possession. A definite cult classic of the genre and inspiration for god knows how many wannabe followers. The Evil Dead follows a group of students visiting a remote cabin deep in the woods of rural USA, intending to get away for a good time. The students discover and playback a tape log of the previous occupant, unwittingly setting free a bunch of bloodthirsty demons intent on possessing and destroying them. Excellent! This is what horror movies are all about, damn horrible, nasty, vicious, bad killers, destroying the good and innocent and the Evil Dead does it brilliantly. What a fucking ride this movie is man, after watching this movie 29 years after it was first released it still packs a very strong wallop. Special effects have aged a bit, but hey, this movie was filmed on a budget of only $375,000 and looks damn good considering.

This is the movie that gave us Ash, without a doubt actor Bruce Campbell’s most famous character. Here Ash is shown to be a lot more ‘normal’ than in the later sequels, not so wacky and self-confident, just a normal teen guy. Also unlike its sequels, this Evil Dead is going for the jugular, there are no comedic elements here at all, this is a dead serious supernatural horror flick. The Evil Dead was so gruesome it was banned from many countries on its original release due to the extreme violence and gore it depicted, not too mention the scene where a young pretty lass gets raped by a tree! Fortunately for us horror fanatics the regulations on censorship in most countries have laxed over the years and we can now enjoy a nice uncut DVD master, sweet. Sidenote: soon to be released on Blu-ray also.

The demons in this flick are acted out well; in fact I’m hard pressed to think of a movie much better than it in this regard. The make-up and distorted voices are excellent and I’d say on par with the Exorcist. Cinematography is good and director Sam Raimi (same guy who the directed Spiderman movies) makes excellent use of the camera to depict the free roaming spirits seeking out their victims, very haunting.

Pacing wise this movie moves along nicely and the suspense is constantly on a build up until the final end. Decent enough acting from most of the cast, most do a good job at conveying the sense of mania for the situation in which there characters find themselves, this is especially true of Bruce Campbell.

The Evil Dead has been cited as a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of the most influential horror films of all time. It spawned a franchise that includes two sequels, Army of Darkness (1992) and Evil Dead (2013); a remake; video games; comic books; and merchandise.

I first saw The Evil Dead when I was a teenager, and it completely blew my mind. I had never seen anything like it before. The movie is so chock full of ideas and images that it’s impossible to take it all in in one sitting. It’s a non-stop onslaught of the weird, the gross, and the just plain wrong.

And yet, for all its over-the-top gore and nudity, The Evil Dead is also a surprisingly funny movie. It’s clear that Raimi and company are having a blast making this movie, and it’s infectious. The Evil Dead is a must-see for any fan of horror movies.

All in all, a great cult classic that should be enjoyed by all movie fans. Get it, watch it, love it.


The Evil Dead is a 1981 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and produced by Robert Tapert. The film follows five college students vacationing in a remote cabin in the woods, who are attacked by an ancient evil force. The Evil Dead grossed $2.4 million in North America on a budget of $375,000.

The film has been cited as a major influence on the horror genre and has spawned a franchise, which includes two sequels, a remake, video games, comic books, and merchandise. The Evil Dead was included in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2015.

The film opens with a young woman, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), driving with her boyfriend Scott (Richard DeManincor) and three other friends, Ash (Bruce Campbell), Linda (Betsy Baker), and Shelly (Theresa Tilly), to a remote cabin in the woods. After Cheryl becomes possessed by a demonic force, she stabs Linda in the ankle with a gardening tool. Scott tries to stop her, but Cheryl attacks him and he falls down the stairs, breaking his neck.

The remaining four friends find Scott’s body and Cheryl locked in the cellar. Ash attempts to read from the Necronomicon, a book of the dead, which Cheryl had been reading from earlier. This releases a Kandarian Demon, which possesses Cheryl and then Linda. Ash barricades himself in the bedroom with a shotgun, while the possessed Linda and Cheryl attack Shelly. Linda is killed when she is impaled through the back by a piece of wood.

Cheryl becomes increasingly violent, and attacks Ash with a chainsaw. He severing her hand with the chainsaw, and she retreats. Ash then takes the chainsaw and cuts off his own hand to prevent the demon from possessing him. He then uses a shotgun to blow up Cheryl.

The next morning, Ash wakes up to find that the demon has been destroyed and he is the only survivor. He then buries the bodies of his friends and drives back to the city.

Movie Details

Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Sam Raimi
Actors: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich
Release Year: 1981