'The Evil Dead' Review: A Masterpiece Soaked in Blood
Friday, February 1, 2008
Due to its minuscule budgetary requirements, the horror genre remains a great place for young filmmakers to hone their craft. Much like Peter Jackson helmed gory cult classics before moving on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Spider-Man director Sam Raimi also started with nothing but buckets of blood and a few friends. His first film, The Evil Dead, was only a minor hit when it was initially released, but it would eventually become known as the movie that kick-started one of the most beloved horror trilogies of all time.
The plot of The Evil Dead sounds deceptively similar to any number of different horror movies. Five college-age friends travel out to a cabin in the middle of the woods, which is where they find a strange object bound in human flesh known as the Book of the Dead. After some passages from the evil tome are spoken aloud, a demonic evil rises in the forest and starts picking off the kids one by one.
The plot may sound familiar, but there's absolutely nothing routine about Raimi's direction. The Evil Dead contains so many clever camera tricks and ingenious special effects that it's hard to believe the film was made for a mere $375,000. As a fan of Raimi's work, it's a treat to go back and see what he could do with such limited resources. The Evil Dead trilogy couldn't be further away from the Spider-Man films, but both sets of movies share the same impeccable craftsmanship.
One thing that makes this movie an anomaly in the horror genre is that its sequels are probably even more well-known and beloved. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness brought tons of comedy to the franchise, and also made a pop culture icon out of Bruce Campbell's Ash character. However, fans who are looking for lots of laughs and quotable Bruce Campbell quips won't find them in The Evil Dead. The film is a blast to watch, but it's also incredibly dark, creepy and disturbing. Not only does Raimi go for pure horror, but he keeps Ash in the background for much of the film. There are no signs here of the heroic bad-ass the character would become.
In its own disgusting and gory way, The Evil Dead is truly an inspiration to behold. It's proof that a throwaway concept and a small amount of cash can be made into something absolutely brilliant. All it takes is buckets of blood, a few friends and a unique creative vision.
- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of New Line Cinema)