This is the first movie in the Evil Dead trilogy (The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness), and I can honestly say that I'm in no rush to see the others. Lovers of extreme gore might enjoy this movie much more than I did -- it's one of the goriest movies I've seen, even if the gore isn't particularly realistic. If you consider yourself a gore lover, this movie might be a three or four turkey movie on your scale. Personally, I've never been a big fan of gore for gore's sake, hence the lower rating.
Perhaps the worst part about this movie is that it was so bad, I'm told the sequel was made specifically to poke fun at it. If there is a greater insult than that, I don't know what it is.
We all know the setup by heart: a bunch of teenagers go to a secluded location for a weekend/summer of fun and games. Something happens to trap them in said secluded location (in this case, the only bridge across the river collapses), and then the evil killer(s) pick them off one by one.
The Evil Dead does not disappoint in this department. The teenagers get to the run down house they have rented, and immediately things start getting strange. One of the girls sits by herself, drawing a picture the first night they are in the cabin, when suddenly a strange force grips her and forces her to draw...what, a rhombus? Oh wait, it's a rhombus cube. (What do you call that, a rhombusoid?) No, hang on, it has a face. A rhombusoid with a face is what the strange force makes her draw. Huh? Am I supposed to be scared by this? Well, poor Cheryl is scared by it, but apparently she doesn't bother telling anyone about it.
Later, as the group is sitting down to dinner, the door to the cellar bangs open, causing everyone to jump (false scare number one). They all group around the open trap door, deciding who will go down. "Here, you go," Scott says to Shelly. "No way, you go," she says. "Ok, you coward," says Scott. Ok, sure, he's the one who tried to pawn the job off on her, and she's the coward?
Scott descends into the cellar and spends about twelve years down there while everyone else stands around looking pensive. The problem with this is that nobody in this cast is skilled enough to look pensive, so they just end up looking like dorks.
Finally, our eventual hero Ash decides to go looking for Scott. Ash goes down to the basement and looks around very slowly until Scott jumps out at him (false scare number two). It seems that Scott has found something -- a bunch of old stuff, which includes a shotgun, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and a screwy looking old book (supposedly bound in human flesh).
Once back upstairs, everyone gathers around the tape recorder and listens. The man on the tape talks about the old book he dug up somehwere, and how it is an ancient Sumerian work full of funery incantations and other burial rites. Thunder rolls ominously outside the cabin, and the guy on the tape dutifully pauses until the noise dissipates.
Eventually, the guy on the tape starts to read from the book, and his utterings cause The Evil Dead to be reawakened. It's at this point that the movie basically becomes a gore fest. I won't go into the messy details, but I will say that I saw some things used in this movie that I've never seen before in a horror movie. I saw milk come out of peoples mouths, I saw what I think was cottage cheese, and I saw what might have been scrambled eggs. It was all very gut-wrenching.
Cheryl is the first to go, as she hears a noise outside in the middle of the night. So of course she runs about half a mile into the woods looking for it. The trees assault her, and she barely makes it back to the cabin. But it's all in vain anyway, as she soon turns into a demon and tries to kill everyone. She gouges Linda in the leg before Scott and Ash lock her in the cellar, which is where she spends most of the rest of the movie. Soon Shelly wanders into another room, and the demons take her too. Ash and Scott hack her to bloody pieces with an axe, which seems to be the only way to stop anyone once the demons have hold of them. Scott tries to escape, but he too gets assaulted by the trees and comes back a bloody mess. Linda goes next, and she starts laughing manically, which is pretty much all she does until Ash does her in.
Anyway, to make a long, gory story short (and there really isn't much more to say except "people get killed in very messy ways"), Ash eventually discovers, quite by accident, that he can solve all his problems by throwing the human-flesh bound book into the fire. This somehow causes all the demons to fly away. Unfortunately, he doesn't discover this until everyone else has been killed. Besides this, the very end of the movie seems to point out the fact that the demons really didn't go very far away anyway.
Scene to watch for: Cheryl and the trees.
Best line: "Did you see her eyes?"
Things that make you go "Huh?": Why the cabin door suddenly becomes hard to close.