Monday, 22 February 2016
The Evil Dead (1981)
"The trees! They're alive!"
This film is magnificently gory, far gorier than I expected for 1981, even given the film's reputation. It isn't just the gore, buttressed at the end by some excellent stop motion animation, that makes this a superb example of its genre, though: it's both a splendid example of using supernatural horror in what is, structurally speaking, a slasher film, and exceedingly well directed to bring out the suspense.
All the tropes are out in force: five teenagers visit a mysterious cabin in the woods which is in the middle of nowhere, in the American South, and accessed by a dangerous bridge. One by one they are picked off and killed.
But Sam Raimi has fun with this, using suspense to tease us for the first part of the film about whether characters are going to die or not. Then he has real fun with loads of blood and demons straight out of The Exorcist.
The film is fun, yes, but for once it's genuinely creepy. This is sooo far above the likes of Friday the 13th and one of the best of its kind.