Eric does this by opening a book of occult incantations — clearly marked, in red ballpoint pen, with the all-caps warning "LEAVE THIS BOOK ALONE." He then proceeds to read, aloud, the words that awaken Beelzebub.
What follows is a rapid descent into madness, homicide and self-mutilation, first by one, then another of the cohorts, until it is literally raining blood.
"Evil Dead" has its moments, but many come courtesy of familiar horror-movie camera tricks: the face in the medicine-cabinet mirror; the 360-degree shot (a.k.a. the spin-around scare); and the dreaded shadow that flits past so quickly you can't see it (a.k.a. the what-the-heck-was-that?).
Other touches seem cadged from the canon of horror-movie cliches: from the hand reaching up from the grave, a la "Carrie," to the zombie neck twitch manifested by the actors as they are, one by one, possessed by evil. Wasn't that move already a bit stale by the time Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video came out?
For Alvarez, presumably, it's homage, not theft.
Even so, the whole thing's kind of fun, if your taste runs to gallows humor. Laughs leaven the often grisly proceedings. "You're hurting me," whines Natalie, after she has amputated one of her own arms and the second one has been blasted off with buckshot.
Those won't be the last severed limbs you'll see in "Evil Dead," a gore fest that's just effective enough to whet fans' appetite for a sequel, even as it kills everyone else's appetite for dinner.
Two stars. R. Contains obscenity and prolific, grisly violence and gore. 91 minutes. Currently showing at Carmike 10 in Cullman.
Ratings Guide: Four stars masterpiece, three stars very good, two stars okay, one star poor, no stars waste of time.