The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Renaissance Films -1981
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 85 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1 & 1.33:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsey Baker, Sarah York
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Music by: Joe Loduca
Written by: Sam Raimi
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 31, 2010
"The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror"
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, it is up to him to survive the night and battle The Evil Dead.
'The Evil Dead' was the holy grail of horror for this 13 year old boy. Being a horror buff I soaked in any 80's horror flick I could. Whether it was setting the VCR's timer to grab Scanners at 3 am on HBO or renting Silent Night, Deadly Night, I loved em all, for bad or worse. But I could never get my hands on the The Evil Dead. It was slim pickens at the few video stores near me and even a few trips to the big bad city of Boston proved to be a bust. I did have my hands on a copy once but a by-the-rule's stickler of a cashier wouldn't let this minor buy a copy. C'mon man, it's not like it was porn!
That iconic image on the cover of the girl reaching up as she is being pulled under ground was burned in my mind..I just needed to see this flick! Within a few weeks I saw an ad in the newspaper for a limited release of Evil Dead 2, again the image in the paper had me just drooling to see these flicks. As luck would have it, I was at a friends place and his older brother decided to give us a lesson on Pink Floyd. Sitting in his room I peeked at his video shelf and low and behold, there it was!!! Now is where I will apologize. David, I am sorry I stole your brothers Evil Dead VHS in 1988.
I watched it alone in my room on a school night. Man did this thing terrify and inspire me. I connected with Evil Dead because I was messing around with my camcorder making silly little films and it looked like something I knew I could create. It went beyond that, it was original, unforgiving, creepy and was really different than all the silly slasher flicks that I was seeing at that time. Mixing that with humor, gore and super horny tree roots, I had a new classic that I watched at least 25 times. I have not seen it an over 8 years now, the last version I owned was the "Book of the Dead" edition DVD. So how does Director Sam Raimi's...yes Sam Raimi, director of Spiderman 1,2 and 3 fame, first feature filmed 30 years ago hold up?
This cult classic holds up very well, and this Blu-ray is an amazing way to re-visit or take a first trip to see what lies within the woods.
Ash(ly) Williams, the iconic character played by the master of dry humor, Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, Bubba Ho-tep), his sister and 3 friends got a deal on a rundown cabin in the woods of Tennessee. Driving over a dilapidated wooden bridge, they should have taken the breaking and falling planks as a reason to turn back, but they didn't. After settling in they find an old book and a tape recorder in the basement; of course that just had to give it a play. It was translations from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Book of the Dead). This awakens the Evil Dead and one by one they are possessed and all hell breaks loose, leaving an unlikely new hero and cinematic icon, Ash, as the one to take on the forces of the evil dead.
The demons are the best part of the movie. How they float in the air and how there head rolls on their neck's like a bobble-head combined with a creepy voice over makes them scary as hell! The pacing is brooding and we get right into the terror. I think the ultra-low budget mixed with some unconventional camera techniques by Raimi really added to what makes this film work. It has amazingly spine chilling sound effects, great characters, a true feeling of claustrophobia as well as a mood unlike anything before and after it. 'The Evil Dead' is s brutal and unforgiving, mixing scares and cringe worthy gore and into a blend that was destined to become a cult classic. The tree branch rape scene is the most insane and off-the-wall thing I have ever seen. 'The Evil Dead' is a bit more serious horror flick and much less campy horror/comedy as its sequels (my favorite of the series is Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn). This is a rare and original horror film that has all the elements to gross-out, freak-out yet still intrigue the viewer. There is a reason why 'The Evil Dead' is heralded as game changing horror/independent film. Give it a shot if you haven't seen it!
NR for nudity, violence and language
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Evil Dead' possess a Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18.6 Mbps and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 1.8 Mbps.
Anchor Bay Entertainment's release of 'The Evil Dead' squeezes all it can out of its 16mm film source. By the nature of how it was filmed, colors are a bit muted and sub-par as are the flesh-tones. The disc comes with the original framed 1.33:1 aspect ratio as well as the Raimi preferred 1.85:1, which is what I watched (the 1.33:1 looks equally as impressive). The 16mm prints grain is palpable but isn't obtrusive, the resolution of Anchor Bay's transfer shows it all off and more. There are moments of fine detail that you just wouldn't expect to see in this release. Even the shadow details were impressive. This is without a doubt as clear and crisp as I have seen it and this "Sam Raimi supervised" Re-Mastering/Encoding is superb. I compared it against the "Book of the Dead" edition DVD I have and was impressed at how much more vibrant the colors look and how the resolution added detail. Hardly any blemishes or compression were seen which really blew me away! Bravo Anchor Bay.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound was sonically pleasing, dynamic and the best I have heard the 'The Evil Dead' sound. Surrounds were milked for all they could, to the point of sounding a bit over used. Thankfully that worked well in a horror film as the more creaks, wind and ambiance we can get just adds to the tension and frights. Dialogue was really spot-on, and compared to the DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 this just sounded more open and enveloping. The low end never shook me or my room but that was OK, I was so sucked into the finer details that stood out in this mix that I didn't notice. For all of the hurtles of this ultra low budget productions sources, this really couldn't look or sound any better.
- All New Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Sam Raimi, Producer Robert Tapert and Star Bruce Campbell
- (HD)Previews: Frozen, After.Life, The Crazies, Pandorum
- Bonus Features on included Bonus only DVD Disc:
- One By One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of THE EVIL DEAD
- THE EVIL DEAD: Treasures from the Cutting Room Floor
- The Ladies of THE EVIL DEAD Meet Bruce Campbell
- Book of the Dead: The Other Pages
- Discovering THE EVIL DEAD
- Reunion Panel
- Make-Up Test
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
'The Evil Dead' is a cult classic for a reason. It's a look into what a gorilla film crew with passion, raw talent and some cameras can do. It's an aspiring filmmakers dream, it's a horror buffs holy grail, it's fun, scary as hell and most of all, a true original. Anchor Bay hit it out of the park with this release and brings us horror and Blu-ray aficionados a best-as-can-be transfer. The only thing that could have made this collection better was having the special features on the Blu-ray in HD as opposed to on a separate (included) DVD disc. Also if it included the 1978 short film that started it all, Within The Woods, which was rumored to eventually be released. Give the newly recorded commentary with Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell a spin, it was educational as well as pretty hysterical. This baby comes highly recommended.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer