As you already know, I usually do not talk about sequels of popular movies. However, this time I’m going to make an exception. You know that scene where a guy goes on stage with a prepared speech and then decides to improvise on the spot? Well, I’m that guy now. Evil Dead 2 is an exquisitely crafted horror comedy, and, in my humble opinion, the best movie of the trilogy. It is a true rollercoaster ride featuring fast pacing, short running time, and a lot of memorable scenes. The story picks up right where we left it in the original movie.
Ash, the sole survivor of the cabin in the woods massacre, wakes up from this living nightmare only to find that the bridge leading into town is unpassable. So, he prepares for another night of terror. With this being said, it’s important to note that Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is a requel, part sequel, and part reboot of the original movie. Sam Raimi this time had ten times more money ($3.5 million) to make his vision come to life and it fucking shows. The cinematography is not so grainy and the practical effects are simply stunning. I know that claymation may not be your cup of tea, but I found it strangely endearing. And it fits the atmosphere of the movie to a tee.
However, the thing that I loved the most about this movie is the vibrant atmosphere. We go from hilariously funny scenes featuring a lot of physical comedy to absolutely menacing situations in mere seconds. Evil Dead II is a movie that’s genuinely scary and genuinely funny. If we compare it to The Return of the Living Dead which came out just two years earlier, this becomes obvious. And don’t get me wrong, both of these movies are great. It’s just that they’re different, that’s all. On top of it all, confidently sits Ash magnificently played by Bruce Campbell. The man is an icon and this is his favorite movie of the trilogy. I should also mention that a lot of the scenes from the movie were cut and ultimately lost.
With the first rays of sun, the evil retreats from the cabin in the woods leaving Ash, the sole survivor of last night’s massacre, to think of a way out. He soon realizes that there’s no way out and that he’ll have to fight the Deadites again. At the same time, the researchers who used the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead, to start this whole mess are slowly making their way to that same cabin. What ensues is one delirious night of terror.
Evil Dead II features the same kind of over-the-top violence we had the pleasure of watching in the original Evil Dead movie. Only this time, it’s taken to a whole new level. There are also a lot of artistic scenes and shots, adding another layer to this already complex movie. I say complex from a director’s standpoint because it’s definitely not complex for us, the viewers. There are a lot of impressive single-take scenes, showing the true extent of Raimi’s skills and talent. The whole movie is just so fucking immersive, especially with all those POV shots.
The editing was also spot on, without any fluff or prolonged scenes. Evil Dead II is built for speed. It also has a distinct sense of escalation with each new scene upping the ante. And do not get me fucking started on the whole chainsaw hand thing. Or the boomstick. It’s iconic now as it was back then. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like this one, you can finish the Evil Dead trilogy with Army of Darkness. Although, I highly recommend you also check out Peter Jackson’s Braindead.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva
Fun Facts: Stephen King loved the original movie so much that he talked the famous producer Dino De Laurentiis into making this sequel.