Paul Malikkal

Review

The Evil Dead (1981)

Paul Malikkal

Bruce Campbell plays Ash the protagonist of the first installment of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise. Although, he’s more of an accidental, protagonist as he only gains the distinction by luckily avoiding the fate of his girlfriend and three chums- possession by ancient demons. The Evil Dead is like a three-layer cake, each layer more delicious than the last. The first layer is the genuinely frightening and gruesome scare machine Raimi set out to make. Then there’s a layer of “so-bad-it’s-good”-ness that's a result of the horrendous acting (Campbell is fine, the rest are not). But, the true joy of this film lies in its lack of polish, which reminds us that we’re watching something that’s handmade. There’s a shot in which Ash reaches into a mirror only to find that he’s reaching into a pool of water. You can’t help but wonder how they achieved such a convincing effect on such a low budget. And even when you do figure out how they did it, you’re charmed by the notion that Sam Raimi must’ve dreamt that up and spent hours actualizing it onscreen. And I think The Evil Dead has the appeal that many of the films of the French New Wave have- the thrill of watching a filmmaker discovering what they can do with cinema.

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