Watch It

Enter your location to get local movie times + tickets:
On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

The Evil Dead Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Unquestionalby it's an instant classic, probably the grisliest well-made movie ever. [26 May 1983]

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The extreme nature of the gore isn't beside the point - it is the point. Raimi goes so far over the top in presenting these displays that they take on a campy, almost humorous appearance. It's impossible to take all this blood seriously. So, instead of being sickened, we're strangely amused - and this is all intentional.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100


    While injecting considerable black humor, neophyte Detroit-based writer-director Sam Raimi maintains suspense and a nightmarish mood in between the showy outbursts of special effects gore and graphic violence which are staples of modern horror pictures.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Evil Dead reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 17 & under

Horror masterpiece is gory but silly. For older teens only.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Evil Dead is a horror masterpiece that upped the ante on gore for the 1980s but also introduced a kind of deadpan silliness to the genre. In 1994, the MPAA gave it its official rating, an NC-17, for "substantial graphic horror violence and gore." The effects are imaginative but dated, and it's unlikely that they will inspire much more than laughter today. The most notable sequence, however, is the one in which a girl is raped by an animated, possessed tree; that one still disturbs. Aside from the extreme gore and violence, there is some drinking, profanity, and brief nudity. The movie is definitely off limits for kids. (Please note: This is not the 2013 remake.)

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme gore and violence. How did it affect you? Were you upset? Laughing? Squirming?
  • Were these characters punished for their bad behavior, or were they just the victims of bad luck?
  • Ash manages to survive throughout the story. Something seems to have awakened within him to help him, even though he had to destroy his "friends." Can he be classified as a hero or a role model?
  • This is classified as a horror movie, but is it scary?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The characters here seem like badly-behaved college students, going away for a weekend of drinking, sex, and partying. They blunder into the wrong place at the wrong time and pay dearly. There are no warnings or moral decisions involved; what happens is just pure bad luck.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Not anyone you would want your teens to emulate. Ash is a bit of a buffoon, and at first he's just one of the college students looking for a good time. But he tries to begin a serious relationship with his girlfriend (before she's possessed by a demon). He has a difficult time dealing with his former friends after they become possessed and try to kill him; he has a conscience. Later, he faces his fears and fights his way to survival (sort of).

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: In 1983, this movie set a new standard for blood and gore, although movies since then have gone much further. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is the one in which the animated branches of a tree "rape" a woman. There are scary demons (with scary, screeching voices), as well as screaming, stabbing, scratching, fighting, bashing, biting, burning, severed limbs, spraying and/or gushing blood, and the spewing of some unknown white stuff. The hero, Ash, slaps his possessed girlfriend, straps her down to a workbench, and attempts to cut her up with a chainsaw (he can't go through with it). Ash uses a shotgun on the demons and also gouges out some eyes. In the end, the demons' faces melt. All of this stuff is presented in a very goofy, deadpan, tongue-in-cheek manner.

  • sex false3

    Sex: There are two college-age couples in a cabin, and so there's kissing, and characters thinking about sex. There is some partial, brief nudity (breasts). There's also the aforementioned "rape" by a possessed tree. (A tree branch thrusts itself under a girl's dress, between her legs.)

  • language false2

    Language: We hear "hell" twice, several uses of "God" and "Jesus Christ," plus "bastard" and "turd."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The college students drink something from a jar while driving, and then some wine at dinner before all the trouble starts.