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  • Gareth Crook

The Evil Dead (1981) - 6/10

I have never watched The Evil Dead. I know I know. I’ve just never got round to it until now.  How does it look then to some fresh eyes in 2023? Well it’s grimy, the sort of reassuring lo-fi grime though that lets you know that one you’re in a horror film and two that it’s made with love. That might seem like an odd thing to say about a film like this. Five college kids are headed up to a remote cabin in the woods. You know the scene, it’s been parodied a million times. Off the beaten track, no contact with civilisation, fresh faced Americans (it’s always America isn’t it). They’re canon fodder. It’s all a bit eerie, but the supernatural kind. You see the cabin is an old hideout for a long departed bloke studying ancient burial grounds, where it’s thought possible that demons lay dormant, waiting to possess the living. This the group find out by listening to an old reel to reel tape handily discovered in the basement. It’s blunt exposition but it works. Much like the wooden acting. The camera work though is fun and the set and props work well. So despite its dated feel, there’s plenty to enjoy. Plus at a thrifty 90 minutes it’s lean and pacy. The best thing though is the score. A mix of subtle electronics, creepy orchestration and some visceral foley. I can’t really say too much else without spoiling it because to be honest, there’s really not much to it. If you like some retro (fake low budget plastic) gore and plenty of jump scares… that do get less scary as we go on. Then The Evil Dead has you covered. I can see why in 1981 it would’ve had an impact and I can also see why it’s considered a classic, but if I’m being harsh, it doesn’t really stand up. It’s a good gorefest that’s not at demanding of its audience, but it’s very much of its time.


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