The Evil Dead - Blu-ray Review

'still a scarier and more effective horror film than most 'new' productions'

Sam Raimi's first film of note and an instant cult classic thanks to its inclusion on the UK's 'video nasties' list, The Evil Dead is testament to what can be achieved in the horror genre with a meagre budget, big ambition and oodles of technical know-how. The film endures today not because of its infamous beginnings but because, at nearly thirty-years old, it is still a scarier and more effective horror film than most 'new' productions.

The first half in particular is a tour-de-force, a starter's guide to placing slightly annoying twenty-somethings in a threatening place and picking them off one by one. Everything from Scream to Saw owes something to Raimi's film; from the slow building tension of unsettling events (things like the clock stopping are established tropes but none-the-less extremely effective) to the literally torturous encounters with 'the trees' and the evil dead themselves.

Although Raimi piles in the hokum to explain exactly what's going on in this cabin - which, in true horror fashion, doesn't seem a very idyllic place for a holiday in the first place - the excuses don't ultimately matter: once you're there with them, sucked in by the early shots of 'the evil' moving over the lake towards the Oldsmobile, you're there for the duration.

As the film moves on, some things Raimi tries don't work. The desire to shock is tangible and the time spent on some gore shots unnecessary. Likewise some of his more film-school like ideas - such as the blood running down the projector, or through the bulb - are explained in the IMDb trivia or the Blu-ray extras, but don't really add anything to the piece. The dichotomy between the stripped-down horror piece it was at the start and the blood bath it becomes by the end has had gore aficionados smiling for decades but the real power of The Evil Dead is its lasting ability to unsettle, over and above its lasting ability to induce vomiting.

The Evil Dead is out on Blu-ray in the UK on Monday 11th October.

Look further...

'continues to scare even after dozens of viewings' - Bloody Disgusting, 4.5/5


  1. This is my movie, guy. I could watched it twice in a row, it's so unbelievably low-fi awesome.

  2. It is great. The first half in particular I really love but yeah you're right, we'll probably never see anything quite as 'low-fi awesome' as this again.

  3. The Excorsist and The Evil Dead are the horrors that all horrors are measured against. Sure Dead did become a gore-fest but compared to the over the top rubbish produced today in imitation it is still by far the best horror of its type. What gets me though is how Sam Raimi followed it up with the two crap sequels. Is it just me or am I the only one who thinks that way??