The Evil Dead ★★★★

(8/8 is "Great")
The great thing about this film is that it knows precisely what it is - an ultra cheap B movie horror. It knows that some of the things it does to make the horror work are silly, and then it points and says "Ha! Wasn't that great? Look at the blood!".

It's somewhat congruous to think of two-camera sitcoms - obviously fake, removed from reality - yet highly engrossing. It's because the formalist staging makes it cinematic. The controlled environments, lighting and cheapness of some of the effects are cinematic instead of irritating, and it's aided by the film being humble and sincere in its course.

However, there is nothing cheap about the cinematography. The film is largely a mix of medium, close up, and extreme close ups - often very cinematic and exhibition-ary. Angles and pans of varying speed are used all at the right times with a solid sense of the atmosphere from moment to moment. The film is engrossing because each shot proceeds so intricately with the preceding, and you can't wait to see what's next. There is an incredible sense of on-the-go creativity.

The action is also great, and it's largely because of the close attention to small details and objects - not just in establishing things like the positions of weapons and limb damage, but also in limiting the knowledge of the larger sphere of combat. We get a sense of intimacy, fear, and entrapment.

And boy, is Bruce Campbell made for this role - no one does dumbfounded action hero like he does.

It's just a pure classic. Scarily-humorously-gory-rip-roaring-fun.

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