Evil Dead 2
evil dead | evil dead 2 | evil dead ii | sequel | sam raimi | scott speigel | bruce campbell | sarah berry | dan hicks | comedy | united states | ted raimi | kassie wesley depaiva | denise bixler | richard domeier | john peakes | lou hancock
Film: Evil Dead II
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Sam Raimi and Scott Speigel
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry and Dan Hicks
This follow-up to the low budget masterpiece brings more comedy to add to the horror. The mythology of The Evil Dead also grows. I got the chance to check this film out in the theater for my most recent viewing to revise this review. The official synopsis of this film is the lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.
Now I know there is a lot of speculation about this film. My interpretation of it is that since they could not get the rights to use footage from the original film, they just decided to give us a recap sans Ash’s (Bruce Campbell) sister and the other couple from the original film. This one just has him and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) going to the cabin. Everything that happens the morning after the original night is the beginning of this film technically. It does violate continuity and after this last viewing it actually bothered me more. Example is the Necronomicon is burned at the end of the first film, so it really shouldn’t be here.
I do happen to love that the film then starts to build on the mythology from the Necronomicon and the demons. I originally thought that the new part that the demons die by dawn was violating continuity, but after viewing this it doesn’t. I like the concept that they are bound to the darkness. The one question I have here though would do the words that bring them to life need to be spoken each night or would have come back when the dark does every time. Ash plays the words the first night he gets there, but we know that they were spoken when the professor was there with his wife. I do just think that that was the film showing us that, but they would have come regardless.
For the story of this film, there are some issues I have that came from the original one. Like what constitutes some people to get possessed and others that don’t, but I do feel that this one is a little bit better about it. I also like that this one builds on the story with bringing more pages of the Necronomicon so they can actually have a shot at defeating the evil that is after them. As stated, this one actually is conscious of the comedy and definitely uses it to its advantage. I actually think it adds something to the film since Ash has his moments where he is descending into madness and the comedy actually makes it that much more real. There is some slapstick during the fight scenes with the Deadites, but I don’t think that hurts the film at all.
Now the editing of the film is good. The film builds tension throughout. It introduces things around the midway point that makes you wonder if anyone will make it out alive and at the climax it does all come to a head. I thought the film ends in a solid way, building to the next film. I love how it actually plays out in the end.
The acting in this film is much better than the previous one. We get more from Campbell as he starts to become the Ash that we know and love. You can tell that from the original to this one he is honing his craft. I thought Sarah Berry as the professor’s daughter was good. She is cute, but believable as an archeologist. Dan Hicks and Kassie Wesley DePaiva were great as the redneck couple. It is crazy because DePaiva is also really pretty, but has enough country to be believable in the role. I also have to give a shout-out to Ted Raimi, younger brother of writer and director Sam Raimi. Ted appears as Possessed Henrietta and the suit he wore made him sweat enough to fill buckets. Plus the contacts when they were in you couldn’t see out of them. He is one of the scariest parts of the movie and it was great.
Effects of the film were really good as well. This film had more of a budget, but they stuck with the practical effects. Part of that was probably the time the film came out, but I thought they were still great. The blood looked good. I thought it was interesting that they changed the color of it sometimes to prevent an X rating, but I think it works, especially when it comes to someone who is possessed. Now I will say there are some things with possessed Linda that don’t look great. It doesn’t ruin the film, but I noticed them. This also applies for Possessed Henrietta and other Deadites at the end of the film.
The sound design of the film was good also. The score definitely helps to enhance the scenes by building the tension. I also thought the voices of those that are possessed were good. It comes off as creepy and even after a few viewings of the film makes me feel uneasy. The haunting melody that Ash plays in the beginning of the film recurs a couple of times and I thought it fit for what they needed. That is definitely something that is a positive for the film.
Now with that said, this film is great. I love that this is a sequel, but it actually took what made the first one great and added on it. I still prefer the original to it, but this one deserves to be in the conversation. This one adds comedy, yet it doesn’t hurt the film. I thought the acting was much better. The story is good and the editing help to build the tension needed to a satisfying climax. I do have some issues with violating the continuity though. The effects were great aside some issues with the movements of a character. Sound design was also really good as well. I would definitely recommend giving this film a viewing as I feel it is a great sequel to a horror classic.
My Rating: 10 out of 10