First of all, what I like about the film is that it knows that it’s a horror film and uses it immediately to its advantage. There was no acting as if everything is normal, “nothing bad is going to happen” moments unlike some horror movies out there. Immediately, we are thrown into a heart pumping scene where we witness a woman running away from mysterious creatures only to find out that the woman was actually the monster to be feared. It wasn’t at all what we expected it to be and you couldn’t deny that it was an amazing way to start of the movie. As if it was telling us, “sit back, relax and enjoy the show” as the words “Evil Dead” flashed on screen.
The main story begins when a group of friends arrive in a cabin as a way of rehabilitating one of their drug addicted friends, Mia. Everything seemed innocent enough until Mia started hearing creepy voices and the group managed to stumble upon a secret basement where they found an ancient looking book. Mia already foreshadowing the evil that was about to happen wanted to leave the cabin but was constantly shot down by her peers. And to add even more frustration to the audience, of course some curious dumbass guy would disregard the warnings of the book and read the incantations out loud summoning the evil spirit that possessed it. It was really interesting seeing so many different horror elements used in the film and it really worked well for the most part. The movie had just the right amount of jump scares, gruesome deaths, possessed demons, and copious amounts of blood spilled one would expect from the slasher genre. The movie should really be commended however for always keeping us on our toes despite it following the already establish structure of slasher films. I also really liked how the film stuck to using practical effects rather than CGI. Although it may have been time consuming to create some of the scenes, all of it was amazingly done to great effect convincing us that it was real. How ever could you remove the image of Mia licking a knife splitting her tongue in the process from your head?
In Carol J. Clover’s “her Body, Himself Gender in the Slasher Film”, she explains the roles of gender in a slasher film. Here she coins the term final girl. The “final girl” being the last character left alive to finally confront and defeat the killer. Most of the time in the beginning of slasher films, women are portrayed as weak and the victims of the movie. In this case, it was Mia who ended up being possessed by the demonic spirit released from the book. But slasher films according to the final girl concept, deals with a cross-gender identification that leads to the transformation of the female protagonist from victim to hero. Males for the most part are identified as the heroic figures in these films. I say for the most part because Clover also discusses the role of male-side characters in slasher films. Side characters are always portrayed as clumsy/useless/weak as to give more emphasis to the heroic nature of the main protagonists and here we see Eric being true to form by being that dumbass that releases the demon from the book. Easily, we identified the main protagonist hero to be David, Mia’s brother. He was the perfect candidate since he was the handsome, masculine, well-built man you would expect to save the damsel-in-distress and conquer evil. The film truly made us believe that until the very end where he sacrificed himself in order to save Mia. However despite his sacrifice, Mia would prove to be the true hero that saves the day in epic bloody fashion. She finally “mans-up” , confronts the evil, and cuts it in half with a chainsaw.
If I were to recommend a single movie from all the horror movies I’ve watched throughout the course, it would most probably be Evil Dead. What more praise could I give it other than it’s pretty much perfect as a slasher film in my opinion. It had all the elements you would expect perfectly executed while adding new ones to constantly catch you off guard. In terms of scariness, I wouldn’t say that it was the scariest thing I watched but in terms of enjoyment and excitement, it was the clear-chainsaw-cut winner.
Carol J. Clover, “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)