The show opens with five college students driving in their Delta 88 Oldsmobile: Ash, a Housewares Employee at S-Mart; Linda, his girlfriend; Cheryl, his lonely sister; Scott, his horny best friend; and Shelly, the girl Scott picked up drunk at a bar three days ago. In what can only be described as the world's worst planned vacation, the kids are heading into the wilderness to break into an empty Cabin in the Woods.
In the cabin the kids are all set for some drunken debauchery, when the cellar door in the middle of the room mysteriously flies open by itself. The boys head down to investigate and discover an ancient book: the Necronomicon, Book of the Dead. They also find and play a tape recorder, which phonetically recites the passages from this Necronomicon (and yes, thisis bound to lead to bad things later).
When Ash and Linda find some alone time, they ponder how lucky they are that this perfect girl ended up with a Housewares Employee.
As the couples are off fornicating, Cheryl hears a mysterious voice coming from the woods. When she goes outside to check it out ... the trees come to life and attack her! As would be expected after a tree attack, Cheryl runs back to the cabin and demands that Ash take her to a hotel. But when she discovers that the bridge they have to cross has been destroyed, Cheryl tells Ash "lt Won't Let Us Leave."
At a nearby airport Annie and her fiancé, Ed (whom she cuts off every time he tries to speak), discuss (one-sidedly) how they have found the missing pages of the Necronomicon and how they must bring them to her father, Professor Knowby (who owns the cabin the kids have broken into).
Back at the cabin everything is fine until out of nowhere Cheryl turns into a demon. Scared to death, the kids wrestle her into the cellar and chain her in. But just when they think they are safe, Shelly turns into a demon too! Instead of locking her in the cellar, Scott just shoots her. Scott then decides to leave the cabin to find safety.
Once Ash is alone, Cheryl, a Moose Head and all of the contents of the cabin come to life and say, "Join Us". Ash refuses to join, but his hand has other ideas. It turns evil and attacks him. And of course there's only one thing to do when your hand attacks you ... cut it off with a chainsaw!
Over in the woods Annie and Ed are lost, and in order to find their way to the cabin they enlist the help of an untrustworthy redneck ironically named Good Old Reliable Jake.
Back at the cabin all hell is breaking loose. The hand that Ash cut off has come to life. Scott has returned to the cabin, only to die from a tree attack. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Linda has turned into a demon as well. At first Ash can't decide whether Linda is really evil, mainly because she keeps turning from bad to good to bad. But in the end Ash knows that this is not the same girl he fell in love with, and so he ends the relationship the only way he knows how: by chopping off her head with an axe and taking a chainsaw to her severed skull.
Of course, this is the moment that Annie, Ed and Jake all walk in the door—to see Ash chainsawing into a girl's head, drenching himself with blood, and officially making the worst first impression of all time!
As Ash tries to explain himself, Cheryl pops out of the cellar, delivers a bunch of horrific puns and attacks Ed, turning him into a demon as well. Jake and Annie try to run for it, but when Ash isn't scared, Ed realises he's nothing more than a Bit Part Demon. Of course, before Ed can even finish pontificating, Ash shoots him dead. This is followed by a visit from the ghost of Annie's father, who explains that the only way to dispel this evil is to read from the pages of the Necronomicon that she found. Seeing the ghost of her father hits Annie hard.
And just when you're thinking it can't get any worse, Ash turns into a demon as well and drags Jake outside. Annie grabs an ancient dagger and stabs through the door hoping to hit the demon Ash, but instead stabs Jake. In trying to help Jake, Annie lays him down to rest .. But sloppily lays him down beside the cellar door, where Cheryl drags him into the cellar with her. Ash then returns and, in a touch of inconsistency that never gets adequately explained, turns good again.
Realising it's time finally to put an end to all this, Annie reads aloud from the pages she found. After she reads the first passage, the demons all come back to life and do a ceremonial ritual to honour the book.
Once that is completed, Annie is all set to read the second passage to send the evil back through a rift in time and space ... But before she can finish, Ash's evil hand stabs her with the dagger.
Seeing Annie dead, Ash realises it's time to fight these demons on his own, and one by one he kills them all in the most bloody and hilarious methods he can think of. But there's a problem with fighting the dead: they keep coming back to life! And since everyone in Evil Dead comes back to life sometime, Annie too pops up from the dead just in time to finish reading the passage to send the demons back to hell. Unfortunately, after she reads the passage she dies too (this time for good).
A couple of days later, Ash, the sole survivor, is at his beloved S-Mart telling his customers the tales of his heroics. But nobody believes that this lowly Housewares Employee could possibly slay demons. Then, just in time to prove them wrong, one of his customers turns into a demon. Everyone freaks out except for Ash, who calmly grabs a gun from the store's inventory and kills her. The customers are in shock but have a newfound respect for Ash because he Blew That Bitch Away.
And, as everyone knows, anytime you've blown a bitch away it's a happy ending.