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The Evil Dead

The Evil Dead (1981)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 1

This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0

This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 199,164

My Rating

Movie Info

This auspicious feature debut from Sam Raimi -- shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennesse for around $350,000 -- secured the young director's cult status as a creative force to be reckoned with. The nominal plot involves five vacationing college kids -- Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker), and their classmates Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), Scott (Hal Delrich) and Shelly (Sarah York) -- making an unplanned stopover in an abandoned mountain cabin surrounded by impenetrable woods.

R,

Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror

Sam Raimi

Jan 19, 1999

New Line Cinema

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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (1) | DVD (41)

Sam Raimi directed this 1983 horror feature fresh out of film school, and his anything-for-an-effect enthusiasm pays off in lots of formally inventive bits.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While injecting considerable black humor, neophyte Detroit-based writer-director Sam Raimi maintains suspense and a nightmarish mood in between the showy outbursts of special effects gore and graphic violence which are staples of modern horror pictures.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Short on characterisation and plot but strong on atmospheric horror and visual churns.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To say that the Evil Dead movies are not for everyone is an understatement. A strong stomach is required.

October 15, 1981 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comments (2)
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Sam Raimi burst onto the horror scene with this crude cult favourite that's short on story but long on excessive gore and innovative camerawork.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

One of the shining lights of the horror genre.

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Mania.com
Mania.com

A great, genuinely unnerving horror movie.

April 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

...certainly notable as the announcement of an eager talent, but I'd have a difficult time praising the picture as much more than that.

March 30, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

It's unpolished, primitive and a bit dragged-out at times, but The Evil Dead remains a seminal horror experience.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Flix Capacitor
Flix Capacitor

A cult classic of the highest order, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead is the rare 80′s movie that actually feels worthy of its lofty reputation; relatively, anyway.

January 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Sam Raimi's visceral debut remains a benchmark of modern horror.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

It's Raimi's keen eye (and ear) for audiovisual intoxication that makes this creeper a home run.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

Everyone tries to make a horror flick this way. Few succeed like Raimi did.

January 9, 2011 Full Review Source: FEARnet
FEARnet

The films strength lies within Raimi's innovative filming techniques, especially in regards to his now patented manic camera angles, POV shots, and ferocious tracking shots.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

In the league of "Night of the Living Dead" and "Jaws" where it continues to be immortal and outlive other horror classics in the face of changing movie going sentiment...

May 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

No serious subtext to be found here, just vigorous love and respect for the simultaneous horror and humor inherent to the genre.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

An inspired gross-out horror pic.

July 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No, they don't make 'em like this anymore, folks.

June 20, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter
ESplatter

Director Sam Raimi attacks the movie with a brutal kind of kinetic creativity, moving the camera in truly unique patterns.

December 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

If you can overlook the mostly lame-o acting, cheeseball effects and fumbling drama, there's enough fledgling genius here to fill another thousand horror movies.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Energetic, original and icky, Raimi's splat-stick debut is a tight little horror classic that deserves its cult reputation, despite the best efforts of the censors.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Not for the faint of heart or those uninitiated in the ways of modern horror, it's a hoot for fans of the genre.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Evil Dead

It has its moments, but it's largely unimpressive. It is too campy and too silly to be taken seriously or to be scary. The premise is interesting, but the plot feels too restricted. This movie had potential, but was executed poorly.
October 29, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Linda: We're going to get you. We're going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.

"Can they be stopped?"

The Evil Dead is truly a great example of how a small budget can make a horror film great. The success of The Evil Dead doesn't have everything to do with a low budget, but there's no denying that it doesn't help a lot. Also a very clever filmmaker like Sam Raimi just make things all the better. The way the film is shot is amazing and it adds a lot to the creepiness and atmosphere of the film. The angles are well thought out. Plus you have to love all the little horror details that Raimi through in. Blood dripping from every pore of the house, a bench that swings as if someone were in it, the decrepitness of the cabin. Every little detail is does basically to perfection. The film falls off slightly with the details of the characters, but it honestly doesn't even matter. 

Five friends venture into the woods for a trip to a cheap cabin that is secluded there. After narrowly missing a big car crash and barely making it over an old bride, they arrive at the cabin and believe they are safe. After finding a cellar, Ash comes across a tape and tape machine and decides to play it. The tape is of a doctor that lived there years before with his wife, and he he speaking about strange things. All of a sudden when he reads something in Latin, all hell breaks loose. Soon the friends find themselves slowly being picked off by a force that is beyond their comprehension.

Sam Raimi obviously turned the horror world on its head with this film and gave a whole new spin on the flesh eating zombie/demon possessing sub-genre. There's no denying the influence this film has become on the horror genre, especially the low-budget horror films. It's as close to a masterpiece as a film like this can come, and it's definitely one every horror buff and film fan needs to see. 
July 1, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Man, this is one intense film! This is an excellent example of how someone can take a small amount of money, and do so much with it. Basic story: a group of friends go to spend a weekend at a cabin in the woods, and accidentally unleash the fury of some dark forces. That's it. That's all you need really, as the simplicity allows for much creativity and variation. The brilliance of this film lies within the eerie atmosphere and mood, and the creepy cinematography. It's also cool to note that Joel Coen worked on this as an editor, and some of the camera moves here were later used by him and Ethan in Raising Arizona Some of the gore and blood (and there's lots of it) looks a little bit dated, but that does not hurt the film-imagination and creativity overshadow the fact that the effects were made on a tight budget. The acting, while not Oscar-worthy, is very good and believable. Bruce Campbell gets put through the wringer in this one, and he does magnificently. Sam Raimi's career is built on this film, and I shudder to think what it would be like had he not made this seminal and influential horror film. Simply put, this is a must see.
June 27, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Drop "Dead" funny meets plain awesome.

Full review at themoviefreakblog.com
May 16, 2013
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. Cheryl: Kill her if you can, loverboy!
    – Submitted by Nick S (13 months ago)
    1. Scott: Hit her. Hit her! Hit it!!
    – Submitted by Christopher G (17 months ago)
    1. Ashley "Ash" J. Williams: Aaaaaah!
    – Submitted by Alex K (18 months ago)
    1. Ashley "Ash" J. Williams: Now the sun will be up in an hour or so, and we can all get out of here together.
    – Submitted by Alex K (18 months ago)
    1. Linda: We're going to get you. We're going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.
    – Submitted by Andrew D (20 months ago)
    1. Shelly: [about Cheryl] Why does she keep making those horrible noises?
    2. Ashley "Ash" J. Williams: I don't know!
    3. Shelly: Look at her eyes. Look at her eyes! For God's sake, what happened to her eyes?
    – Submitted by Bria M (22 months ago)
View all quotes (26)

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Latest News on The Evil Dead

May 4, 2012:
Sam Raimi Sues Over Rights to Evil Dead Sequel
An interesting case study in film rights.
December 1, 2011:
Sony Picks Up The Evil Dead Remake
It'll begin production next year, with an eye toward a 2013 release.
November 19, 2011:
Diablo Cody Talks Evil Dead Remake
She says it's "unbelievably violent."

Foreign Titles

  • Evil Dead Trilogy (DE)
  • The Evil Dead Trilogy (UK)
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