Blood splattered cinema fest that - just like a good wine - gets better with time, thanks to its groundbreaking make-up effects and perfect balance between cheese storytelling, horrifying atmosphere and manic attention to details. It can be appreciated as a trash cinema intended for fun of group viewings, as well as horror classic for private screenings, thus being few levels above the most exploitation classics.
The story of a sensitive young man and his spiritual growth. Ashley needs to step outside to familiar boundaries of action when he is confronted with problem that can’t be solved by regular means. And he truly crosses all boundaries, especially considering the ways you treat bodies possessed by sumerian spirits. Still amazing after all these years, mostly because of the creative camera use and freaky point of views.
Well the first 30 minutes still look like a film : you have the Carpenter first person POV shots, the De Palma 360, lots of borrowed and déjà vu ideas but it's all fine for me (after all Lynch picked the pocket of everybody and nobody feels offended). But the rest reveal quickly Raimi's true intentions. Crapest crap i've seen in years.
'81 is good in a comic-book way, but it has many more problems than the remake. As '13 crafted its story better, with more emphasis placed on the characterization of its leads, a stronger emotional weight, and the drug addiction angle that worked as a useful plot device, giving all its characters dimension in how they react to it. '81 lacks all this. It's fun, but nothing more, and is more entertaining than scary.
The Ash we all know and love isn't in this film, it's the sequel! But in terms of Sam Raimi's first feature length film it's obvious that a lot of work and thought went into it. The atmosphere is unsettling with the lighting and camerawork really adding to the effect, the gore effects are brilliant and scares not overdone. The negative side is that the sequel improved on it in everyway. Still a great B movie though.