arthouse

[Movie Review] Evil Dead II (1987) ★★★★★

Ash attacked by a big demon in Evil Dead 1987

Evil Dead II brings more gore, more fun and more demons to the evil possessed woods.


Evil Dead II is kind of an oddball movie. While disguising itself as a sequel, it is actually more of a remake and a reboot and at the same time a parody of the original film. It is the same story told again in a different way with more background to the story, more of the book the Naturom Demonto or the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis itself and gives us loads more bloody and gory fun in the meantime. 

It is even more imaginative and creative than its original and even demonic monsters are brought into this deadly and occult game of trying not to get possessed. More is more and this film knows how to use it to its advantage while inventing a whole new remake/sequel/parody to the original. 


Plot

Ash Williams has planned a romantic weekend with his girlfriend Linda in a remote cabin in the woods. Again Ash finds the tape recorder in the basement, plays it and an incantation is spoken aloud and evil spirits are awoken. But this time he doesn’t has to deal with this mess all alone.

Annie, the daughter of the professor on the tape who lost his wife to the Deadites, returns to the cabin to recollect the lost pasges of the Necronomicon to give to her father. She rescues Ash who is going insane and together they have to fight the demons.


Why you should watch it

This sequel is not actually a sequel but a remake and a funny one at that. Real funny, dark humor at its campiest, while the cinematography is as fun and good and creative as in the original. This time it’s used in a functional way so it amplifies the humor and is at the same time part of the story. The well-known movements of the spirits through the woods are of course present as well as the experimental cinematography and strong editing. It’s more gruesome but filmed in a campy fun manner, which makes you laugh instead of cringe. 

The practical effects are a joy to watch and well-crafted and delivers gore and fun. The cinematography is excellent as well, especially when Ash is possessed and the camera takes us on a crazy trip in the woods. The camera shots and effects are a great addition to the story, pulling the viewer into a crazy bizarre world of possession and madness. It’s a roller coaster of the bizarre and campy craziness, that keeps on coming at you. 

But there is also more focus on the storyline. It has a more standard structure that is buildup in an obvious way, but surprises with its bizarre turn of events caused by the Deadites. Annie is a great addition and to provide for some slasher bait she brings with her assistant Ed and locals Bobby Joe and Jake, who most conveniently serve as victims. But in the meantime a whole new story and universe is created that can expand to the future and to the past, resulting in an enthralling story. 

This time the chainsaw is used and comes in handy (pun intended) when Ash’s hand gets possessed and he has to chop it off. Not only the makers of the film proved to be inventive, Annie herself is a very inventive and creative woman who attaches the chainsaw to the stomp of his hand. A cult hero is born.

But that is not even the funniest part or the most inventive. His hand itself which is chopped off, crawls all by itself on the floor and is evil as hell. Just like Ash’s image in the mirror who turns against him, while Ash laughs maniacally going insane. This insanity causes hallucinations, and provides for some slapstick moments.

There are bizarre demon monsters, more gallons of blood, a wall that leaks blood, a flying eyeball, a twice possessed Ash, more pictures of the book that show a hero Ash in 1300, a time vortex, a Kandarian dagger and lots more. 

The story is richer with more background of professor Knowby and his research about the Necronomicon and Kandar and starts a whole new franchise. With a lot of nods to the original, it is definitely a fun watch you certainly don’t want to miss out if you liked The Evil Dead.


My favorite part

Ash driven insane is a very well-shot sequence, that leads up to even more fun, blood and possession madness, resulting in chopping off his hand. When the hand still lives on and is still possessed and very much evil, the fun is not over yet.

While in the original film you must try not to overlook the artful cinematography, the focus in this remake lies with the dark humor which is brought to you in abundance. But it never is too much, although there is always bloody gory camp going on, you can’t seem to get enough of it. 

Also Ted Raimi as the possessed Henrietta in the basement is an absolute joy to watch and makes it a real family business. 

The jokes and puns and nods are different every time, due to the way it is shot and the way the practical effects are used, resulting in original and creative comical situations. It never gets old or lame. It’s a fun take on the occult and more of a supernatural story than a slasher. Although it is gruesome, gory and violent, the comical aspects will take over and will never let the film get vulgar or trashy. It has too much visual and comical style that make up for it. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★


Read more about The Evil Dead:


Cast and crew

Evil Dead II is directed and written by Sam Raimi and cowritten by Scott Spiegel. It stars Bruce Campbell (Ash), Sarah Berry (Annie), Richard Domeier (Ed), Dan Hicks (Jake), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Bobby Joe), Ted Raimi (Henrietta), Denise Bixler (Linda).

Duration: 84 minutes. Music: Joseph LoDuca. Cinematography: Peter Deming. Edited by: Kaye Davis. Produced by: Rob Tapert. Production company: Renaissance Pictures. Distributed by: Rosebud Releasing Corporation, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. 


Check the trailer below


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