Evil Dead (and what came before/after) Movie review

Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness

Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness

Up until recently, Sam Raimi was that guy who made the 2 films about Spiderman that were fairly decent… … then sony decided they were going to do a Spider-man reboot so they cut him off for the fourth film. “But Eoin, what about the” THAT FILM NEVER HAPPENED NOW LETS MOVE SWIFTLY ON FROM THE TOPIC AND NEVER TALK OF IT AGAIN!!!

So yeah, I had only ever seen Sam Raimi superhero movies up until recently and was unfamiliar with his horror works for which, apparently, he is better known. So, yesterday, having absolutely nothing else better to do, (other than ya know, college work and what not but who wants to do that) so I took a gander on stumbleupon.com. Along the way, I came across various awesome little videos that I proceeded to post on my Tumblr, my Twitter and my facebook respectively. Eventually, I stumbled upon a website called free-horror-movies.com which, if you couldn’t guess from the name, has a SHIT LOAD of free horror films that you can watch, FOR FREE!!! The best thing about this site was that most of the films( I say most; I only watched three films and two of them were located on the site) didn’t require you to link off to different sites to watch them, they were all embedded right there. They were also all nicely divided into various categories so I decided to head towards the cult film section.

Here, amongst the top 5 was a small picture for the Evil Dead, a Sam Raimi film that I had been putting off watching for a while due to lack of time and lack of actual knowledge of what the film was about. All I knew was that it was from one of the three films in the Evil Dead series that the name of my radio show, Boomstick, came from. So I decided, why not. What harm can come from it.

Ok. First things first, I watched the Evil Dead with the expectation that it was going to be a full on horror film so I think I can be forgiven for not thinking it was all that great. The film follows a group of teens as they go for a trip in a house out in the middle of the woods and get attacked by an unknown evil force that they awoke when a recording they listened to recited an ancient curse from the Necronomicon (or book of the dead). One by one the group fall under the curse and the other members are left trying to get rid of the horrors while also finding difficulty when trying to kill the deadites due to the fact that they were once their friends. The film is graphically gory, contains extraordinarily cringe-worthy dialogue, and an un-necessary Dendrophilic rape scene (she gets raped by a tree. You heard me right, a mother fucking tree!!).

I think the thing about the sort of humour they used in the film is that, unless you know it’s intentional, the film just looks like an excessively gory horror flick with horribly cheesy acting. Quotes like ” Look at her eyes. LOOK AT HER EYES! FOR GODS SAKE, WHAT’S HAPPENED TO HER EYES?” and “YOU BASTARDS WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME LIKE THIS? WHY?” just scream B movie horror flick crap, but in the context of a horror comedy, it has the redeeming quality of taking the piss out of the horror genre as it should. However, Evil Dead also adding a great deal to the horror genre as well. The low to the ground fast moving camera shots of the hidden evil force rushing through the forest were extremely well executed, the basement scenes were fairly tense, the soundtrack was classically eerie adding greatly to the suspense, the acting was comically cheesy and all in all, it has the potential, once I go back and watch it again, of being a very good film in my eyes. However, the one thing that I will say against this film that I don’t think will change after a second viewing is that I felt Bruce Campbell didn’t have the same nutty madman persona that he had in the following two films where Ash was quite blatantly the primary character. In Evil Dead, he feels like a secondary lead for most of it until we see that he is the only one not affected by the daemon possessions. However, It was an entertaining film for the most part in the sense that I found it amusing at how bad it was but I’m sure a second look will channge that for me.

The Sequel (which kinda works as a stand alone because it starts off with a recap of everything that happened in the first film, condensed into a five minute re-imagining of the events) was in my opinion, the best of the three. starting off with a slightly diminished original cast ( only Ash and his girlfriend head up to the cabin this time instead of the 5 friends from the first film) we quickly recap on the story thus far which is pretty smart on Reimi’s part because it means you can watch it without having to watch the first film, something he does in the third film as well. Evil Dead 2 sees a man, Ash Williams, as he descends into madness as the hidden evil haunts him in the house. He is unable to escape because the bridge that lead him there in the first place has been destroyed. At one point the evil possesses his hand and uses his own limb to attack him. this results in Ash cutting his own hand off with a fucking CHAINSAW!!! Then 4 more people are brought into the story so that we have some people to kill off.

Evil Dead 2 really allows Bruce Campbell to shine as an actor. I mean, anyone who can convincingly pull of beating himself unconscious with plates and then dragging his body across a kitchen floor with his finger tips gets a great big thumbs up from me. He has also had a complete personality change. In the first film, Ash seemed to be the caring lover who just wanted to get home. This time round, he is the suave lady killer with a chainsaw for a hand. The reason, I think, that I enjoyed this one more than the first was that I actually read a short bit about the films on Wikipedia before going on to watch it so I knew it was a comedy. That aside, it was still much better executed in cinematography, more enjoyably silly, and a much better Ash.

Army of Darkness, is more comedy than horror. It has an air of Mel Brooks about it relying on slapstick comedy that is extremely enjoyable, but it lacks the mindless violence of the first and second film that I would have liked to see. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty in the way of violence and gore. Watching as an eye grew into a fully formed Siamese twin of Ash was quite gruesome but most of the violence relied on comedy to keep the audience entertained. Scenes such as Ash scraping his face off a burning stove with a spatula and getting his face violated by numerous plastic skeleton hands were extremely entertaining and had me laughing but there was a short supply of  gore scenes that we had in the first two such as the walls exploding with blood or faces melting after the Necronomicon gets burned.

In Army of Darkness, Ash, still the same badass nut job from the second film, is sent back to the 1300s and has to find the book of the dead to get home. However, he miss pronounces the spell needed to safely retrieve the book and thus brings an army of the dead ( or of ” Darkness”) upon the kingdom of King Arthur. Ash eventually, decides to stay to help fend off the army and teaches the primitive people of the Medieval era a thing or two about the future. the Army is defeated and Ash returns to his own time where he becomes the most badass S-Mart employee ever. Oh and it’s also in this film that he says this is my boomstick thus leading to my understanding of where my radio show got it’s name. Finally. Oh yeah, another thing about this film that I love is the car. What a car! A few tweaks here and there and all of a sudden you’ve got a motherfucking death cart with fully functional spinning blades of destruction at front! what more could you ask for. With that car, traffic on the M50 wouldn’t stand a chance! The one let down was that, once he manufactured a new mechanical hand out of a gauntlet ( He’s like a zombie killing MacGyver), his trusty chainsaw spent the best part of the rest of the film hanging of the side of his horse. One of the things I loved about Ash was that he had a chainsaw hand. MORE CHAINSAW HAND!

Anyway, I’m running out of time for this post to go up today so instead of reviewing the short film that started it all, Within the Woods, I thought I might as well just post the whole thing here. It has plenty of shots that Reimi kept in the Evil Dead which I love. So yeah, here’s the film about Indian burial grounds that lead to one of the most successful Cult film series ever! Enjoy

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Posted on 03/04/2011, in films, radio and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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