The Evil Dead (1981)★★★☆☆
I have a secret. I’ve been worried about admitting it to all of you, but I think the time has come. I…am not a huge fan of The Evil Dead.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Bruce Campbell. I liked Evil Dead 2, and I really liked Army of Darkness, but somehow the original just doesn’t do anything for me.
I think it’s because I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel throughout most of it. It might be that I don’t feel that they knew what they were going for out of the first film – by the second and third films they’d figured it out, and perhaps the filmmakers’ confidence in the mood they’re trying to set gives me more confidence in the mood I feel as a viewer.
There are a few genuinely scary moments to the movie – Cheryl’s first encounter in the woods, and the scene where (spoiler alert, I guess?) Ash realizes he’s all alone out there fighting against, well, the evil dead, for example. The background music is incredibly well done, and I really liked the title screen.
And I like the story itself! I saw Evil Dead: The Musical in Las Vegas a couple years back, and I absolutely loved it. I know that’s partly because I got to watch the “splash zone” from a safe, dry spot, and partly because you can’t not love something with the line “I bitch slapped evil with my one good hand,” but I do think it’s also partly because the story itself is an interesting one.
And I know, I know, this was one of those films that took a lot to finally produce, so I should cut it some slack. And I do. And I still like Sam Raimi. I’m just…not the world’s #1 The Evil Dead fan.