The Evil Dead (1981)
This is one of those Video Nasties then, is it? Banned in the early 80’s for being so horrific it could warp the mind…
The Evil Dead is the first film of Sam Raimi, and it was fairly infamous many years ago. So much so that I was very wary when watching it the first time.
Five friends visit a remote cabin in the woods. There, they discover an ancient Book of the Dead and taped recordings of readings from it. The recordings are played, awakening evil demons that trap the group and pick them off one by one. There’s no escape – even the forest itself seems alive…
This film is somewhat dated now, the low budget not helping disguise the fairly unconvincing effects. The story too is fairly basic, performances are basic too – except for Bruce Campbell who actually does a good job as Ash. No surprises that The Evil Dead was a first time picture, then.
Raimi manages to create a great atmosphere, though. Even after all these years, there are some extremely creepy moments, and some genuine shocks that will make you shit your shoes off. Whereas the gore deflates the picture, the isolation and hopelessness are convincing. Not my favourite ever film, but certainly a movie that demands to be seen.