Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
Every decade or so, there tends to be a film that comes out that, at least in the short-term, heavily affects the entire genre. With horror movies, you have Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, and more recently, Saw and The Grudge. The Evil Dead is definitely one of those very influential horror films, and I’d say it had a huge impact on the cheap, homemade gore-fests that we still get in abundance to this day. Also, it’s just a great movie.
A group of friends have rented a cabin in the deep woods for a weekend party (does that sound familiar?), and when they get there they discover a recording made by the owner of the place, where he talks about an ancient book he found, the Book of the Dead. The recording reads an excerpt from the book, which awakens an ancient evil in the woods. People get possessed, trees come to life and attack them, and they chop up each other in an effort to stay alive.
Now, Evil Dead is pretty heavily based off of a movie from 1970 called Equinox, which was also a cheap, student film that featured some very impressive special effects. The plot is the simple part, which is why you can adapt it into basically every single horror movie. What makes Evil Dead really spectacular are the effects, and especially the innovative camerawork. Obviously now we remember this series for Bruce Campbell’s heroic zombie-slayer Ash, but he’s nothing like the pompous badass we’d see even in the second film. Here he’s much more realistic, really not knowing what to do in this horrible situation he’s found himself in, and he’s very, very scared. All around, this is a classic horror film, and everybody who enjoys horror/slasher flicks should consider it required viewing.