Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Evil Dead ★

    "The Evil Dead," structurally speaking, is a horrendous film. The production design is virtually nonexistent, as costuming, make-up, and setting were seemingly thrown together at a moment's notice with little physical effort or any exertion of imaginative thought. The lone cabin in the heart of the woods does convey some feeling of isolation and trepidation; however, it is lost once the "demons" first appear and one realizes that the setting is not so much fearful as much as what is going on inside the internal dwellings of the characters.

    This is surely not to mention the fact that a sizable amount of individuals live in a backwoods atmosphere of this manner (even I have spent time in a shack like this) and, for them, horror would simply be called home.

    Arguably, the blame should rest solely on the script, which, in many respects, is the backbone and soul of every picture. The visual design of a film will certainly be dictated by what is written on those organized pieces of paper. In this particular instance, however, it doesn't seem as if the screenplay bestowed any information to the production, except, of course, for the desolate hovel and the generalized grotesqueness of the demonized characters. (The latter of which was also poorly handled.)

    To use the film's budget as a means of explaining why this catastrophe was ever created would at least be somewhat noble. Yet, it would seem that the intention here was to dumb down the protagonists and "camp up" the ambiance in order to provide the first legitimate parody of the horror genre. Actions in the face of danger are assuredly illogical (to create a comical effect, mind you), and the creatures of the night are, in fact, more humorous and annoying than blood-curdling. This becomes evident as Ash, the central dummy, consistently tells his friends and girlfriend, who have taken a turn for the worst, to simply "shut up."

    Even a backing of such a low financial stature does not warrant a picture of this humble magnitude. The execution of lighting is unflattering, to say the least, most notably in the exterior night scenes, and the direction is routine at best. Additionally, I refuse to deem the exercising of the "shaky" camera movement, which seems to stomp through the woods, as anything other than amateur. (Anyone with a hand-held camera and some pace to their stride could achieve this same effect with little to no experience.) I mean, the best angle of the entire film is a rear shot of the college students' car as it drives up a leaf-littered ground on its way to the cabin.

    Unfortunately, "The Evil Dead" has spawned a cult following and has been the inspiration for numerous pictures with the same motivations. (The logic behind these decisions is completely lost on my conscious, along with the appeal to this type of humor.) Action and suspense are relatively absent in an effort to evoke more of an amusing reaction, and this is something that really irks me to the core. A parody of the horror genre is like a trip to the dentist: It's tedious, sometimes painful, and always costly, whether it might be time or money. At least, after the dentist appointment, you get a piece of candy for your troubles.

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