There is nary a film saga in the horror genre more fun then the Evil Dead trilogy. With the first one being a benchmark of independent filmmaking and pretty good blend of camp and genuine horror, Evil Dead 2 had a lot to live up to. It does in every way though, and in the process of making this film Raimi created a classic for decades to come. As I just mentioned camp, right off the bat don’t expect this movie to be serious. It’s a horror COMEDY, but a little more subtle about it the Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead.
Evil Dead 2 “picks up” where the first left off, but not after retelling the first movie (this time with just Ash and his girlfriend) in the first 10 minutes. For those who don’t know, Ash and his girlfriend drive up to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend together. While there, they find a recording that when they play back summons an evil spirit. This evil spirit possesses the girl and As has to kill her. Holed up in this cabin with no way to escape, Ash fights to survive and keep his insanity until two couples show up to invite more trouble.
Sam Raimi is a brilliant director, not necessarily because he’s great with actors (although to be fair he helped mold Bruce Campbell into a fairly decent one), but because of his brilliant camera and effects work. This movie looks really quite good, with camera angles that make me practically orgasm I love them so much. Raimi is the master of perpetuating mood, if that mood is right and Evil Dead 2 never looses that feeling of bat-shit insanity that Raimi intended. The lighting works extremely well too, with the woods being spooky and the film in general having that undeniably VHS era feel to it.
The effects are phenomenal, even when they suck. It makes me nostalgic for the era of practical effects (even if I was never there) because with the same budget, the cgi would have looked worse. Raimi uses stop motion at several points in the movie and stop motion at it’s worse still has a creepy vibe because of how disjointed it is. CGI when it’s low budget looks like shit, so even if stop-motion looks bad it’s still better. The blood, makeup and various body part movements look amazing, much better then the original. There are a few effects that don’t work that well and actually could have used some CG but there never going to pull you out of the movie.
Evil Dead 2 is a funny ass movie, but it still manages to pull off scares. You’ll be laughing at Ash one second, cheering him on the next and fearing for him the next. It’s really a roller coaster, but it does require you to understand what it’s trying to do. The story is generic, the acting is mediocre, and the inconsistent tone on top of that is what’s going to turn people off. However, if you go into Evil Dead expecting to not take it too seriously then the comedy will be all the funnier and the scares will be all the more unexpected.
Evil Dead 2 hits all the right marks for me. It pokes at horror tropes, exaggerates to the extreme, has beautiful cinematography and features a protagonist that I will forever root for. Ash is one of the world’s greatest badasses and the shit that he goes through in this night makes for some of the most unique viewing you will ever experience. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween movie to watch with your friends or without, then grab the popcorn and pop in Evil Dead 2! Evil Dead 2 is available on Netflix instant and Amazon Instant or your local video store (remember those?).