The sequel to the ever popular The Evil Dead, and often considered the much superior movie when compared, Evil Dead II forgets all about its first incarnation and skips into the void genre of horror comedies.
The tone of Evil Dead II is much more comedic than I’d first imagined it to be. I was all set for a B-Movie horror with similar tones to the first movie, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbells tonal change is the most extreme change throughout, a higher budget and cleaner production value means Evil Dead II definitely has a bit more merit than the first iteration.
A confusing introduction dismisses the first film somewhat, in turn giving us the set-up in a semi-flashback sequence. Bringing us to the present with Ash, who gets possessed every now and then for some reason, returning to the house where all his friends died in that first movie. Where the plot is concerned, there isn’t all that much there to be honest. It feels like most of the plot was ad-libbed, especially the ending, which is just beyond anything I was expecting.
The first half hour or so of the movie is just Campbell having a mental breakdown, seeing things that aren’t happening in reality and dealing with the death of his girlfriend (and loss of his hand). These early scenes don’t so much set up the rest of the movie but contort any expectations an audience could hold. I didn’t have a clue what was going on or what to expect after those scenes in the beginning of the movie.
Campbell once more cements himself as a cult horror legend, with his performance much more reminiscent of what I had been expecting from the first movie. Maniacal, cool as hell and memorable, the trio of what makes a good Bruce Campbell performance. The chainsaw scene in the shed is iconic, as are quite a few of the other scenes throughout this movie.
Raimi’s direction is much improved here also, some of his best work hands down. His use of the camera, especially with the faster, less-planned shots is especially well done. He uses the camera to either point out the obvious or to mask the oblivious, and it works so excellently well. The use of visual effects is brilliant also, with some fascinating looking villains throughout that manage to make this much more frightening than the first movie. It’s a similar vein to John Carpenter, but a bit more cartoon-like.
Much superior to the first movie, Evil Dead II is a memorable expedition into the niche world of horror comedies. Basically, all of the fun comes from Raimi’s direction and the ever-brilliant Bruce Campbell. Visually pleasing, and very well rounded, it’s a must watch for fans of horror and fans of classics. Classic horror, a genre I’ve avoided for so long without much reason, I’m glad I took the leap with Evil Dead II.