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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2010

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"The Evil Dead" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-september-2010-evil-dead

Synopsis

The Evil Dead, director Sam Raimi's (Darkman, Army Of Darkness) first feature film, is a true cult classic in every sense of the word. Originally released in 1982, The Evil Dead tells the tale of a group of friends who go to a cabin in the woods, where they find an unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find the Necronomicon, the Book Of The Dead, and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens become deadly zombies. With only one remaining (Bruce Campbell), it is up to him to survive the night and battle The Evil Dead.

Specifications

  • Anchor Bay
  • 1981, Color, Not Rate, 1 Hr 25 min
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC-MPEG 4
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Bruce Campbell
  • Directed by Sam Raimi
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: No

Commentary

After almost 20 years, 1982's Evil Dead is still a great example of low-budget filmmaking. It‘s not without flaws, but this first feature-length film by Raimi, produced on a slim budget of around $350,000, offers clever special FX, grotesque make-up, continuous shocks, and brilliant direction and camera work. Also of  note to genre fans, it illustrates Raimi's penchant for pushing the envelope of violence and gore to such an extreme that it becomes almost farcical, a trait that is enhanced by the slapstick talents of actor and cult hero, Bruce Campbell. This is the precursor to Evil Dead II and the hilarious Army of Darkness. Later, Raimi brings us Spiderman. Go figure! The disc offers two choices of aspect ratios which is wonderful. Both ratios are equal in PQ, but Raimi said he preferred the WS version. I agree. This is a “must own” for cult horror fans and will not disappoint the first time viewer. What macabre fun!

Technical

The film has never looked better than on this BD version. Yes, film grain and occasional soft images appear, but the colors and contrasts are very good. The low budget stock looks very good for its age and quality. Great shadow delineation abounds. The film has been cleaned up, but not digitally scrubbed to death. The sound is greatly improved with good use of surrounds, clear dialog and screams. The music sounds like it was recorded yesterday…very clear and open…and “creepy”. Trust me, you will be looking over your shoulder during the show.

Extras

Hours of interviews, a plethora of deleted scenes, commentaries, reunions, trailers, photo gallery and more on a second DVD.