The Evil Dead – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

The Evil Dead Theatrical Poster

Although most people associate The Evil Dead as a horror comedy now, a majority of people don’t realize that the original is actually a terrifying film. Much of that has to do with the imagery since the imagery is still frightening to look at to this very day. Sure, it looks incredibly dated but the look is still effective. After all, the effects in The Exorcist look similar but it still scares the crap out of you. That’s the magic of practical makeup and effects. Seeing the most violent parts of the film look and feel incredibly real too. So when the characters get stabbed, you cringe because of how up close and personal it gets on screen.

That’s not the only thing that’s scary about The Evil Dead though. The idea of surviving the night as demons are killing and possessing your close friends is such a scary thought. When it comes to horror films, there are rules to the functionality of the creatures and monsters. However, with The Evil Dead, there are seemingly no rules as to how the Kandarians possess these college kids. So the fear of the unknown only adds to the scares in the film. However, the film’s storyline is a bit thin. There’s a tiny bit of backstory but the story doesn’t really evolve from there. It basically becomes Ash vs. The Evil Dead.

But the film isn’t just about scares. There are times where the film is actually pretty funny. Now, it’s not as funny as it is now but The Evil Dead has some black comedy that adds a small number of laughs in the film. However, the film does look like its age and budget. In other words, there are a lot of rough edges to this film. So don’t expect to see a lot of elegance to this film like a Halloween or a Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

This includes the acting from all the actors involved. Bruce Campbell has greatly improved since then but his acting has a very B-movie essence to it here. Campbell delivers such a wooden performance and practically doesn’t give much of a personality to his character either. The same can be said about the rest of the cast as well. Yet their performance feels fresh when they go into their demonic state.

Overall, The Evil Dead is the epitome of the cult classic film. In other words, a low budget B-movie that has endured the test of time and still entertains to this very day. Its production value and acting leave much to be desired, but the film is still entertaining and scary enough to frighten you 37 years later.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

The Evil Dead - Betsy Baker, Bruce Campbell, & Ellen Sandweiss

The Evil Dead hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR transfer and the film’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Because of the nature of the source material, the video transfer looks like its date and budget. First of all, there is a lot of noticeable grain in this transfer. There is a softness to the detail clarity as well. Not to mention, there is a flicker that comes in at random points during the film. Unfortunately, the HDR doesn’t fix the crushing in the shadow details. This is a problem due to the film taking place primarily at night.

However, the HDR does improve the brightness and contrast of the video. There is a good amount of depth in the picture plus the brightness is vibrant in its limited usage. There is a nice saturation in the colors but they don’t necessarily pop from the screen. At the same time, there is a warmness to the overall color tint. As a result, the skin tones look a tad bit warmer than normal. Overall, the video transfer isn’t very good but this is mostly due to the low-budget look of the source material.

Video Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

The Evil Dead - Necronomicon

The Evil Dead hits 4K Ultra HD with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track. Similarly to the video transfer, the film shows its age with instances of low fidelity audio. However, the audio mix does fare better than the video transfer though. It’s incredibly immersive with the way that the music and sound effects fill up the stage. The music is playful with the layering of the instruments in the mix. Not to mention, the sound effects pan through the soundstage—especially in the way that the Kandarians go through the forest. But it’s not just the dynamic pans, there is a lot of atmospheric effects that fill up the soundstage to a terrifying effect too. Thankfully, the dialogue comes through crystal clear despite the craziness of the film. Overall, this is a good mix even though there are some issues with its age.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

The Evil Dead - Ellen Sandweiss

The Evil Dead‘s 4K Ultra Hd Blu-ray has the following special features on it:

  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Sam Raimi, Producer Robert Tapert, and Star Bruce Campbell

Although there have been previous releases with a lot of special features on it, this iteration only has the audio commentary with Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Bruce Campbell. The commentary from 2009 has Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell looking back and reminiscing about the film’s production. Easily the most interesting part of the track involves the technical details about how the film was made. Also, it’s interesting to hear them give stories as to the many difficulties in making the film.

Special Features Rating: 1/5 atoms

Overall, The Evil Dead isn’t a perfect film but it’s a film that’s entertaining enough to overcome its low budget B-movie status to become a beloved cult classic. The video transfer looks bad thanks to the original source material, but the audio mix makes up for it with its immersion. Unfortunately, a lot of special features from the DVD release is gone in this release. Although the audio commentary is fun to listen to, it still would’ve been nice to see the legacy features on this release.

Overall Rating: 3/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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