Evil Dead: Demon possession is absolutely terrifying

Posted: April 5, 2013 by John C. Kwasny, Ph.D. in Horror
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Evil Dead“The most terrifying film you will ever experience.”  What an over-confident tagline!  Obviously, the marketers of this film are trying to draw you into the theater so you can be absolutely sure if this is really the most terrifying film ever.  Is it really scarier than the original Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, or A Nightmare on Elm Street?  Okay, maybe I’m dating myself here; I was never a huge horror movie fan.  Until researching for this post, I didn’t even know that Evil Dead is a remake of the “cult classic” The Evil Dead released in 1981!  I was just 15 at the time, so I was probably more into the original Star Wars trilogy than young people possessed by demons.

Here’s the plot synopsis, according to IMDB: “Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.”  Yes, there are several immediate issues here that raise the flag that says: HORROR MOVIE COMING!  Friends stuck in a remote cabin in the woods.  A Book of the Dead just so happens to find itself in this cabin.  Demons sleeping in the woods.  No wonder I never go camping!

Now if I’m holed up with friends in a cabin in the woods, I would hope we would break out a game of Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary before we choose to read from the Book of the Dead.  What is a Book of the Dead, anyway?  Well, a Book of the Dead was often placed in coffins in ancient kingdoms, like Egypt.  This book, or scroll, was filled with magical spells that were intended to help the dead person in his or her journey to the afterlife.  So it makes sense that when a Book of the Dead is opened today, and its spells are read, that demons living in woods would possess youngsters, right?

TheEvilDeadAs ludicrous as Evil Dead’s premise is, we would be in grave error if we simply dismiss the reality of demon possession.  Scripture gives us several examples of people who are demon possessed, and the descriptions are not very pretty.  Satan and his minions are real, and they have the power to radically transform someone’s life.  For example, the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5) had severe personality change, antisocial behavior, super-human strength, and a tendency to self-destruction.  He was so tormented and dangerous that he lived among the dead in the “tombs.”  No one could bind or control him.  I would bet that if he were locked in a remote cabin with a bunch of his buddies, he would kill some (or all) of them!

So the reality of demon possession should be one of the most terrifying things in this life.  If demons were in total control of things, we would end up hopelessly destroying one another.  Even friends would turn on one another.  And it would be totally normal to do whatever it takes to get away from someone possessed by demons.  The truth is that we should want people to believe that demons are real and powerful!  We need them to embrace a “super-naturalistic” view of the world, rather than simply dismissing demons as the stuff of myths or fairytales.  A movie like Evil Dead should be a sobering drama rather than some just some sort of unrealistic horror story where we are rooting for people to live or die.

If a person comes to truly believe that demons are real, then it is just one more step to believe that there is only one real solution to demonic activity in this world.  In Mark 5, we read that the townspeople were totally incapable of dealing with the demoniac.  Counseling or medication would not do the trick.  He could not just be locked away in an institution.  The demoniac could not even control himself.  Then, Jesus showed up on the scene!  The demons were cast into pigs and destroyed.  The once-possessed individual was restored to sanity.  And what did this man want to do then?  He longed to follow Jesus!  Instead, His Lord and Savior made this delivered man into a missionary to his own people.  He was to tell others what Jesus did for Him, and that Jesus is the ONLY deliverer from the EVIL DEAD!

Now just imagine if Evil Dead ended with one of the “twenty-somethings” realizing that the only way to stop the demons was to put his faith in Jesus!  Now, that would be a totally ridiculous plot twist, wouldn’t it?  Most moviegoers would rather just see one “hero” survive a demonic attack all on his own. instead of needing a Savior to come to the cabin and cast the demons into a herd of swine.  Then they can comfortably go home after experiencing the “most terrifying film ever” still believing that demons (and Jesus) don’t really exist.  Instead of reading the Book of the Dead, they need to read the only Book that gives LIFE!

  1. northneckva says:

    I saw the original movie. Was cheesy and very non terrifying. There are demons and spiritual warfare, but way more subtle than the horror movie genre would have us believe. Weapons against spiritual warfare? love…faith in Jesus….read your Bible!

  2. Henderson says:

    Hi, I saw this movie yesterday. I didn’t like so much, there are much blood. SPOILER WARNING : there a part of this film that when a woman had to cut her arm and demon said: “don’t cut, don’t cut”. This part remembered me Matthew 18:9…
    Actually, the spiritual warfare aren’t fought by weapons and chainsaw…
    In ‘Ephesians 6:12’ says:
    “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities and powers, against the world-rulers of this dark night, against the spirits of evil in the heavens.”

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