8:00 PM, 13th May, 2000
It's hard not to have been aware of all the hype surrounding what is now the most profitable film in history. The premise is good. Three college students set out into the woods for footage for their documentary about the local legend, the Blair Witch. They are never seen again. The movie is made from film from the students' cameras, which was mysteriously found one year after their disappearance. When I first saw the movie, I was under the impression that it was a true story, and it alternately scared and horrified me. After I was told that it was in fact all a hoax, the film lost a lot of its impact. I was not the only one fooled: many Americans had rung up people in Wilmington (where the film is set), asking them whether they needed anymore volunteers to help search for the three students.
The quality of the footage is a little raw, due to the fact that the three actors did manage their own cameras, and it tends to move around quite a bit, which is why many audiences have been complaining of motion sickness. The actors are very good, giving realistic performances that help add authenticity to the film. The Blair Witch Project is a novel idea, and it's done well, yet the actual film is a disappointment compared with the publicity surrounding it.
9:21 PM, 13th May, 2000
Five friends, blissfully unaware of their impending doom, take a vacation out in the woods in an abandoned cabin. This turns out to be a really bad decision. Somehow, they awaken an evil force that has lain asleep in the forest for centuries, apparently awaiting the arrival of some naive college kids. After a somewhat creepy, suspenseful start, the film explodes into a gorefest, in which blood gushes by the gallons, zombies in various states of decay are hacked apart, severed limbs move about of their own volition, and even the local plant life acquires a particularly malevolent nature. A chainsaw is involved, and it would be unwise to get attached to any of the characters, as zombification and gruesome deaths seem to be the order of the day.
Let's get one thing straight - this is, in many ways, a really bad film. The story is contrived, and the dialogue is really nothing provocative. Continuity is abysmal, at least partially because the shots were sometimes filmed weeks or months apart. When a principal actor couldn't make it, stand-ins in wigs were often employed. This was made as a college project, and it shows. Despite all this, Evil Dead is a fun movie. Scary, gross, but fun. Think 'Tales from the Crypt', with more blood and some decent stop- motion animation thrown in at the end.