A slightly different take this round, as I take on a trilogy in one go! Saw all three for the first time in the past two weeks.
A classic trilogy I’ve been told. Is it?
The Evil Dead
This is very much the sort of film I was expecting. But not the Ash! Overall it does come across as much more amateurish than what will follow. Pretty much a straight up horror film, we watch five kids travel up to a remote cabin for a holiday. They stumble across an old book and before you can say ‘don’t touch that’, they’ve awoken the evil that lurks in the surrounding woods. The evil works it way through the group until only Ash is left. By this point he has changed from being relatively cowardly to more the hero we expect. It’s pretty gory, and considering the age and budget holds up OK. Bar a couple of scenes I didn’t find it all the memorable though. Maybe it would have helped if I’d seen it when I was younger. Still, there is promise…
Evil Dead II
This is more like it. I’ll admit I spent the majority of this thoroughly confused. I wasn’t expecting the slapstick element. But the more I think about it the more I like it. Much like the first film I might have seen it too late to think of it as a classic, but it is oh so much better. Odd in that it effectively remakes the first film in it’s first 20 minutes, it then pretty much turns into a one man show as Bruce Campbell throws himself around, goes crazy, and gains his iconic chainsaw and boomstick. He steps up here and faces the deadites head on. The mix of horror and comedy was jarring but it works well on reflection.
Army of Darkness
Forgoing the cabin based setting of the previous two films, Army of Darkness follows on directly from Evil Dead II and finds our hero Ash battling the deadites in the 1300’s. Since the second film had tuned me into what Campbell and Raimi were going for, I settled into this quickly and enjoyed it. The production team clearly push their improved budget and make a film with a much larger scope. This film felt more like an adventure, giving each entry a unique feel. Ash knows what he has to do, and though he can be a bit of a plum at times, he goes about it with a confidence he didn’t show in the first film. It’s pretty cool to see the progression Ash makes looking back, and by this point he has become a wise cracking badass. Hail to the king baby!
It’s very tricky when you’ve been told again and again that something is awesome. You can’t help but have a huge level of expectation going in. I don’t have years of nostalgia to back up my feelings for these films. They are all decent, and at times quite entertaining. Maybe more viewings are needed, especially for the second film, but right now they don’t quite hit the heights I’ve been told they do. I’d recommend that everyone give them a go, especially if they profess to loving horror films. Though you could skip the first one really I wouldn’t as it means you miss out on the progression that Raimi and Campbell made as things progressed.