Evil Dead, The (1980)


Comedic Horror? Yes!

Main Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Hal Delrich

Director: Sam Raimi

This campy romp has indie written all over it, which is definitely a good thing. It can be sprawling and ambitious, taking on the clich├ęs of the genre and skewering them. Although horrific and bloody things happen, we can’t quite take them seriously because we sense the filmmakers are winking at us from behind the camera.

Evil_dead_ver1The story begins with a group of young people spending some time at a remote cabin in the woods. As they drive up the camera pans slowly back, offering a slightly dark and moody look at the cabin and surroundings. Are we being told something? Ha!

Anyway, something does indeed happen at the cabin. Before long an unlikely hero named Ash (Campbell) takes over. He isn’t heroic by any stretch of the imagination: just ordinary, a bit of a bumbler, but is he the only hope against the terrible evil? Apparently so, and this farce is taking to extremes as he bumbles and stumbles through various encounters with the evil force and its minions. Sight and physical gags abound, keeping the plot firmly in the realm of black comedy. Campbell is energetic and does a good job, while the others hold their own and add to the feel of the movie.

The original Evil Dead is a good, solid number that shows off an imaginative mind and a profusion of creative skill, both acting and directing with the camera. A worthy addition to the genre.

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