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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Evil Dead II (1987)





Before I begin the review, I need to explain something to the uninformed. This movie picks up at the end of the first one… sort of. It is my understanding that they couldn’t get footage from the first film as it was owned by a different company. So instead the beginning of Evil Dead II is a rehashing of that first story compressed down so that it only has Ash and his girlfriend going to the cabin and ignores the other characters from the first movie. I’m okay with that as it serves this movie just fine, but it annoys and/or confuses some viewers.

With that out of the way lets jump into the review. Ash and his girl go to the cabin and end up playing the recording of the doctor reading the Necronomicon passages out loud. This awakens the “thing” in the woods, aka. a demon, and it attacks them. Shenanigans ensue as Ash ends up killing and dismembering his lady before all is said and done. Then the doctor’s daughter and friends show up. At first, they think Ash is a crazy that murdered her parents, but soon find out that something is in the woods and it was to swallow their souls! Rednecks are stabbed, eyeballs swallowed, blood is sprayed, and time travel happens! I love this flick.

As I mentioned in my review of the original Evil Dead, I feel sort of silly covering it for the site. I mean if you are hanging out here then you’ve probably seen this one already. I consider the Evil Dead franchise to be on the list of must watch horror movies, almost like a primer for anyone wanting to get into the genre. But in case you haven’t watched this yet and are somehow on the fence let me tell you all the reasons to check out Evil Dead II.

From the very start the movie has a breakneck pace as it never lets up on the action and horror. After a couple minutes establishing Ash and Linda the tape is played and she is turned into a deadite. Not long after that the head goes off and things get rolling. Hah see what I did there? This pacing combined with frenetic camera work makes for a movie that is very exciting both in the action and visually. They even pull off a weird “fisheye” view where things get further distorted when the evil force is messing with Ash by animating objects in the cabin. Even more so than the first movie here Rami packs in every trick and gimmick he can think of to make this a trip to watch.

Some people are turned off by the humor in Evil Dead II. The first outing has some humor, but it felt a bit subdued and they lean more into the horror elements. Here while we have some bad things happening the filmmakers also revel in doing all sorts of terrible things to Ash, and to actor Bruce Campbell. He gets slammed into walls, smashed into furniture, breaks plates over his head, does battle with a possessed hand, and by God drops some great one-liners. This includes the famous arming up scene in the shed where Ash drops “Groovy” for the first time. For me this is where the character becomes the horror icon that we fans fell in love with.

I also dig that the violence is so over the top that it borders on slapstick. It doesn’t go full “Three Stooges” like Army of Darkness does, but it gets close. The fact that they also revisit some stop motion effects work makes me love the movie as well. The creature design is fun and we get plenty of gore effects work, though again it is way over the top and not realistic. Cartoonish violence appeals to me sometimes and that is exactly what we get in Evil Dead II.

I could keep going on and on with this one, but I won’t. If you haven’t seen this one, then check it out. If you haven’t seen it for a while, then this is the perfect time of the year to revisit it. Basically, fans new and old should watch this damn movie as often as they can!



© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer



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