I have heard good reviews about the Evil Dead, most of my friends enjoyed it and that they think the monster in the movie is very persistent and determined. At the start of the movie, I can’t help but think back to the comparison of white people and black people in horror movies. Black people would stay away from sketchy places and when they are told to not do something, they absolutely won’t do it whereas white people are described as “dumb” because they are stubborn and tend to go to places they are not supposed to and do things they were prohibited to do.
Evil Dead is a slasher film and slasher films are usually involved with a serial killer killing of the characters one by one. For Evil Dead, there are five characters in which the lead characters come from a dysfunctional family and obviously one of them would be the victim or become the killer in the story. Pertaining to the setting of the movie, it is located in a cabin isolated deep in the woods. I kept thinking why they thought that it would be a great idea to stay there for the weekend considering that the cabin appears to be worn down and not fit for living. The circumstances were stated in the movie and I guess it was really the last resort for them.
Furthermore, in slasher films, it is rare for the death of the characters to be caused by a gun. They usually die of something very gruesome and brutal as seen in the deaths in the movie. They died from either dismemberment, being shot by a crossbow, glass shards, or fire.
The movie also plays with the concept of the Cross-gender identification and the Final Girl. In Her body, himself: Gender in the Slasher Film, Carol J. Clover discusses cross-gender identification in horror films which occurs when the usual female protagonist transforms from a feminine aspect to a masculine aspect, from victim to a hero. This happens in the movie when the brother attempts with all his might to save her sister and eventually succeeds but then ends up dying with the others. I thought that this was the ending of the movie but then the persistent monster progresses to the “final step” to rising from the dead and reveals herself to Mia. The mission to defeat the monster is then passed onto Mia who has to “man up” and act against the monster.
Clover also discusses the gender narrative and shows how females and males are portrayed in slasher films. The main focus of slasher films is mostly on the females because the females transition from victims to heros. The usual pattern would be, the other females dying first and then the last female to live will be the one forced to take on the monster while the males are portrayed as either the monster or the side-characters. They are seen as somewhat weak and useless like in Evil Dead, their friend was the one who was curious about the book they found in the basement wrapped in plastic and barbed wires and technically screams out danger, someone obviously didn’t want them to open it. But stubborn or dumb as he is, he still goes ahead and opens. After opening the book, there were warnings about not reading the inscriptions out loud, but he just goes ahead and does it, which lead to their demise.
I thought throughout the movie that since Mia is the monster, the “Final Girl” would have to be her brother but as seen in the movie, she still became the final girl having been saved by her brother. I found similarities with this movie and Triangle because she was basically fighting with herself with the monster taking on her form. In Evil Dead, Mia is depicted as the abject because she was the most vulnerable out of all of them having been addicted to drugs and is susceptible to relapse which makes her an easy target and becomes the monster. In order to purify or save the abject, as said by Clover, there should be a confrontation and in both movies, since the female protagonists were both the monster and the Final Girl, they had to have a confrontation with themselves and eventually be freed of the “misery” as what happened in Evil Dead when Mia had to face the monster head on.
In total, I enjoyed Evil Dead the most out of all the films we watched in class because I found it the most terrifying because the monster was the most creepy and had an extremely horrifying appearance. I find myself being fascinated by slasher films even though most times the deaths are gruesome and disgusting. The whole movie was very satisfying to watch because it didn’t leave me that much puzzled as the other movies.
Carol J. Clover, “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)