When Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker), Scotty (Hal
Delrich), Shelly (Sarah York) &
Sheryl (Ellan Sandweiss) rent a cabin deep in the woods to party , they do immediately have a
feeling of unease about the place ... but on the surface the cabin looks
peaceful enougnh - until the youngsters find the Sumeran Book of Death a former
tenant has left there in the cellar, and a tape recorder containing a
translation of some of the incantations in the book ... & unfortunately one
of the incantations awakes some demons.
At first that doesn't seem to
terribly affect our kids, until Sheryl takes a stroll through the woods ...
& is raped by a tree (!). Of course she panics, & of course noone
believes her, but nevertheless she persuades Ash to drive her to the next town
... but on thwe way back to civilisation the 2 have to realize the only
bridge linking the cabin to the next road has come down.
& when the kids
then try to make the best of it in the cabin, Sheryl transforms into an ugly
demon & injures Lin da's leg before she can be thrown into the cellar &
locked in there.
However, Shelly is soon to follow suit & transform as
well, forcing Scotty, her boyfriend, to kill & dismember her (the only way
to stop the possessed). After they have buried her, Scotty decides to try to
make an esscape, while Ash stays behind with Linda ... who of course soon turns
into a demon, too (she's not all that dangerous though because of her severed
But when Scotty comes back heavily injured (claiming he was attacked by
the woods), Ash has to reealize just how hopeless the situation is, & first
he has to get rid of demon Linda - which proves to be rather difficult since he
has reservations about dismembering his own girlfriend, & when he buries
her in one piece, she has no intentions of staying down.
& not only that,
demon Sheryl manages to break out of the cellar as well & comes after Ash,
who however manages to barricade himself inside the cabin with Scotty - who
since has died though ... & of course he comes back as a demon as well,
with demon Sheryl also gaining entrance to the cabin, & in the end it's
only thanks to Ash burning the Book of Dead that he can end the demons'
existence, as they cdisintegrate before his very eyes
But is the horror
really over ?
With every justification Evil Dead is now
considered as a genuine classic - despite the fact that its story is rather
poor (no more or less original than any other number of teen-horror flicks from
back then), & the comedy that would predominate in parts 2 (Evil Dead 2)
& 3 (Army of Darkness) of the series would take back seat here
(being largely reduced to a few ironic touches).
However, Sam Raimi would -
already in the first 10 minutes - create a creepier atmosphere & tenser
suspense than most slasher-movies of the time (or even from today) would during
all of their running time.
His inventive use of a steady cam pan to
create suspense would soon become horror staple, & is in wide use to this
very day ... but only rarely it works equally well as in this movie.
enough, Sam Raimi's career - built mainly on this fil, would go into about
every direction imaginable, as he
would direct the flawed celluloid comic strip Crimewave, the somewhat charming superhero-movie
Darkman that was completely destroyed by Danny Elfman's atrocious music,
an abysmal Western starring Sharon Stone (The Quick & the Dead), but
also rather restrained genre pictures (A Simple Plan, The Gift),
before finally climbing the Hollywood Olymp with the immensely successful Spider-Man-movies.
As a producer, he would - among others - be responsible for the cheesy, even campy but sometimes funny
series Hercules: Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess