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Movie Review: The Evil Dead (1981)

Charles Rector's Weblog; Nov. 2, 2015; By Charles Rector
Type: Review

The 1981 flick The Evil Dead is quite possibly the single most overrated horror movie of the last third of a century. This was the feature that jump started the lucrative careers of the likes of director/producer Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell.

     The Evil Dead concerns five stupid college student friends who decide to spend the weekend at a remote, rat-infested cabin in the forest. Little do they know that there is an unspeakable evil lurking in the forest.  Already, evil spirits are dancing their evil dance in the forest in gleeful anticipation of the evil they are going to perpetrate. The cabin is owned by a professor who has conveniently left behind his copy of the sinister, legendary book the Necronomicon aka The Book of the Dead.

     Also left behind by the professor is a tape recorder with a tape of passages from the evil book that have been translated into English. When played, these Candarian resurrection passages or whatever unleashes the powerful evil force in the woods that is determined to destroy the five friends. People start turning into evil deadites who can be destroyed only through total body dismemberment.

     The friends split up and flee through the evil forest. One of them, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), winds up getting raped by demonic trees. Soon, only Ashley “Ash” J. Williams (Bruce Campbell) remains to fight the sinister forces of forest evil.

     The Evil Dead is a movie with a forumla plot in which it is up to one man and man only to fight the multitudinous forces of evil. As with so many other movies of this type, the hero never gives up hope, never gets tired and never really sweats a lot. In other words, he really is not facing a serious challenge. Yet, we the audience are asked to believe that these same evil hosts were capable of killing his friends without much trouble.

     Essentially, The Evil Dead is an unscary attempt at making a horror film. When you just get right down to it, it is an unintentional comedy. It is lame all the way through. The flying monkey scenes in "The Wizard of Oz" evokes more feelings of fear and dread in audiences than does any individual scene in The Evil Dead. Actually, this movie is so poorly made, it would not be surprising if it turned out one day that it was made by a monkey.

     Basically, The Evil Dead is an incredibly lame movie. It was accursed with a bad script and even worse acting. The demons in this film seem more interested in annoying their victims than in ripping their innards out. Avoid this motion picture like the plague.

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