Friday, March 22, 2013

The Evil Dead (1981) Review:

Every famous moviemaker has a start somewhere. Some have greater beginnings (Steven Spielberg), while others are not truly recognized and are left with a strong cult following (Clive Barker). For Sam Raimi, he has the luxury of both. Not only did his first theatrical film gain popular momentum, but it also has such a large fan base that it spawned two sequels and a remake, not to mention it made the name Bruce Campbell a family name. Sam Raimi is a lucky man, but I was actually surprised to see that his first film was not what so many viewers have praised it to be. For me, it was scraping the surface of entertainment.

If you come across a cabin like this........AVOID
The Evil Dead (1981) story, written and directed by Sam Raimi himself is about five friends who decide to spend some time in a cabin secluded in the woods. Little do they realize that not only does the cabin contain a deadly secret but the entire area surrounding it is in need of some serious pest control. They should've called the Ghostbusters (1984),...oh right, that company was established three years later. Anyway, this dark secret has the power to unleash deadly spirits that can inhabit any host when read from a mystical book.

The thing I found the most troublesome about this movie was the fact that for everything I wanted to give full credit for, ended up only being partial credit. For example, I found the makeup effects noteworthy because it made the victims of the demons look really supernatural. However, what I could not take were the voices of the possessed victims. Either screechy and raspy, or deep and gurgley, I would prefer to hear one kind of demonic voice. At one point, one of the voices sounded like an upset stomach. I'll admit that it did make the possessed victim seem more unnatural but it still was hard on the ears.

But for a film with such a low budget, it does get creative with its practical effects. At some parts of the film, it even uses stop motion animation. One of those scenes is the vine-raping scene. Unfortunately, this is a particular part of the film I really wish Raimi did not include. It's one thing if the character gave consent for this kind of thing but watching a rape scene is a tad bit too far on the "entertainment" description. I just felt uncomfortable watching it. Why would anyone consider it fun to watch?

The five friends of this movie......Bruce Campbell is far left
As for blood goes, audiences will get their fill of grossness. It's not a bloodfest but it is nasty. Just nasty. Bruce Campbell's character can't escape having buckets of blood thrown into his face every ten minutes. But here's where I get frustrated again. What is Raimi's icon? Is it Ash (Bruce Campbell)? Or is it the demon spirits that inhabit his friends? For most horror films, the antagonist is the icon that represents the franchise but in this film, I can't figure it out since the audience will never get to see the demon that inhabits Ash's friends.

Lastly, the score produced by composer Joseph LoDuca, (his first theatrical score to be exact) was half hearted too. I know LoDuca can produce good work because he did it for the Xena and Hercules TV show. Did he just not have enough equipment in 1981? The only two times I hear an actual tune is in beginning and ending. This proves he knows how to make themes in music. But besides that, LoDuca relies way too much on the strings to make any kind of music. And majority of the time, I enjoy the strings. The problem is that LoDuca arranged their music to create either scratchy or plucking noises. That doesn't create tension. Besides of the fact that they were only used for mainly transition scenes. The score was barely there to begin with.

This was a project I was really looking forward to enjoying but instead for every good part, there was a counter. It’s by no means awful but for all the praise that it's been given, I was expecting more.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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