I struggle to get a full length review from most 90 minute movies, so how well I'll fair with a half hour student film, we shall see...
But of course, this isn't just any 30 minute student film... This is Sam Rami's, Bruce Campbell staring, student film, about 4 friends who head off to a cabin in the woods, where they disturb an ancient evil; in other words this is Evil Dead 0: The Prototype.
Sadly, no good quality copies of this exist (even Rami doesn't have one) so the grainy, poorly tracked, fuzzy copy that you'll find on YouTube is pretty much as good as it gets - and the image quality alone renders it almost unwatchable.
It's a relief then, that the short itself is no masterpiece; we have, thankfully, lost no more than a curiosity to the ravages of time and VHS dubbing.
The only real way to look at this film; indeed, the only reason it is ever watched, I'd to compare and contrast with Evil Dead.
The makeup effects here are even poorer and more low-budget than in Evil Dead; but that's to be expected. Bruce Campbell is surprisingly interchangeable here, and the story hasn't been refined yet; here it's an Indian burial ground that's to blame (cliche much?).
On the plus side though, the cinematography and sound design has Rami's thumb print all over it - we get manic edits, lots of close shots and low, sweeping POVs, all accompanied by creaking and whooshing. Every blow and stab is brought right to the front of the song mix and, even though we've seen (or heard) this done throughout the Evil Dead trilogy here, against the backdrop of an inferior movie, we can really appreciate how great that sound design is.
All in all I really can't recommend this on its own merits, but it's an amateur film, and you wouldn't expect great things; as a curiosity for Evil Dead fans, yes, it's worth a quick look on YouTube as a novelty; if you can put up with the poor picture quality.