Montreal Film Journal

THE EVIL DEAD

And I don't even like scary movies! Even "Psycho" and "Halloween" didn't do it for me. If you really want to see one hell of a horror movie, the film to see is definitively "The Evil Dead". What makes it so damn good is that A) It was made for 500 grands by a bunch of college kids, so it wasn't the least bit censored. B) One of these kids is none other than Sam Raimi, who'd go on to become one of the most exciting directors in Hollywood. This is his first film, and he's already better than any George A. Romero or Lucio Fulci when it comes to creating creepy atmosphere. And for once, it actually pays off! The film is as packed with gore as it gets, and the special FX are cheap but very effective.

It all starts when a group of young people arrive to a recluse cabin in the woods to spend the week-end. Not really original, but who wants plot in a film like this? Most of the characters are played by typical lame non-actors. Still, Raimi had the chance of having for a buddy the great Bruce Campbell to play Ash, the badass yet naive hero. So even though the actors who play his best friends aren't excellent, it doesn't really matter because before long, the gang digs up the Book of the Dead and they all turn into bloodthirsty monsters, leaving Campbell alone to destroy them. That's when Raimi shows how wicked a filmmaker he is. As Ash faces these three tireless zombie bitches and his dead-alive former ally, Raimi plays with unusual shots and inventive camera movements. The most memorable of them has got to be the evil-force-POV, with a wild camera rushing through the woods and crushing everything on its path. The effect is heightened by a great, moody score. And believe me, watching Campbell killing over and over his friends sure is exhilarating! What I like is that Raimi really goes over the top, to the point where it's so disgusting and violent that it gets hilarious. I think the best way to describe the film is that it's, as the LA Times wrote, "the goriest well-made movie ever made." It sure is.