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Evil Dead 2 (1987)
 
 
 Directed by: Sam Raimi
 Starring: Bruce Campbell/Ash
Sarah Berry/Annie
Kassie Depaiva/Bobby Joe
 
   
RATING

PLOT-CRUNCH:


Ash survives the last frame of the original Evil Dead and finds himself alone in the house to face the spirits of the woods. But he’s not by his lonesome for long. Ash’s right hand keeps busting chops and a group of outsiders crash the party… possessions ensue. What’s a man to do but nab the chainsaw and clean house!

  

THE LOWDOWN:


Quite a juggling act Raimi pulls off with this sequel. He injects a huge dose of humor into the film (no laughs in the first one) and still manages to make it scary. Don’t get me wrong, the film is not the relentless fear-fest the first one was, but it still kept me on my toes. And it's the wacky, crazy humor/gore that makes this one’s heart pump. You can’t get any better than Bruce Campbell tripping the f**k out and the first half of the film gave me just that. I couldn’t get enough! Ash fighting his undead girlfriend, Ash going coo-coo in the cabin as the deer head on the wall and other appliances (the lamp is so cute) laugh it out with him. And of course, Ash versus his hand. I won’t give too much away but the sheer brutality of the hand scene is made hilarious by the sight gags that follow (love the line: "who’s laughing now!"…great shite!).

Ash himself evolves as a character here. In the first flick, he was an average "Joe" put in a messed up situation. Here he goes totally insane and then Raimi turns him into a one-liner spitting super hero. With his chainsaw hand and his shotgun, Ash becomes a no bull action-man! All is handled with tongue planted firmly in cheek and no actor can communicate that better than Bruce "the man" Campbell. Go boy!

The movie did lose me a bit when Ash got some visitors from the real world. Annie (Berry), Jake (Hicks) and Bobby Joe (Depaiva) are very despicable. I hated them all (the blonde dude too). They kept on making dumb arse horror movie moves (like running outside knowing that the dead roam the woods) and spit out some stinky dialogue. They also slowed the movie down and took the focus away from lone warrior Ash. I know that their inclusion is there to get the flick to move in a different direction so it could reach its climax, but in my perfect world, the film would have been all about Ash and his fight to get the f**k out of dodge…all alone.

Nevertheless a bigger budget, more laughs, extreme gore, a top form Raimi and a pumped up Ash make this sequel a joyride down horror lane. But to be honest, I dug the first one better. Evil Dead 2 works on a different level than the original. The mean streak is softer and the gore is easier to digest since it's so over the top. Example: the tree-attacking scene here doesn’t cap off in a very nasty way like in the first one, it’s more humorous. With this sequel we feel the series heading towards the fantastic, an element that’s very prominent in the last sequel "Army Of Darkness". There’s a more cartoonish vibe going on here but that doesn’t mean the flick is not extremely fun. Swallow this…
 
    

ACTING:


This is Bruce Campbell’s (Ash) staple in the genre. This is the performance that had gore fiends look up and say: this guy is whack! He pulls it off big time, showing off his physical comedy talents (the hand stuff is dope), tossing in some kool one-liners and just being an all-around slick dude that takes a beating but keeps on ticking. This is Bruce’s movie. Sarah Berry (Annie) didn’t convince me and I found myself chuckling at her clumsy performance. Dan Hicks (Jake) plays his hick part well…too bad, I didn’t dig the part. Kassie Depaiva (Bobby Joe) is way hot but her part is underwritten and her top stays on. Richard Domeier (Ed) has blonde hair. His acting talent, you may ask? Questionable, I answer.
 

GORE:


Lots of green gooey stuff (Raimi made the blood green to avoid censorship) going on here. Some nice body part chopping, some kool stop motion effects and one really bad claymation bit (no, I didn’t dig the full body Henrietta shots). Look out for the eyeball gag…fun times!
   

T & A:


A naked stop motion corpse dancing around…that’s all folks. Sorry ladies, Bruce keeps his pants on.
   

DIRECTING:


Raimi really goes haywire in the first half of the film. High-energy, wicked shots, brilliant use of sound and lots of momentum. Since the second half shows us more (living trees, the invisible creature made flesh…), Raimi tones it down a bit so we don’t miss the effects. NOTE: I was thrilled that Raimi reprised that POV shot of the demon chasing Ash (that steadycam thang). Here it’s even more badass than in the first and it made my night.
   

SOUNDTRACK:


Minimal but when it pops in, it’s very effective.
   

BOTTOM LINE:


Not the lean mean horror machine Evil Dead is but an outrageous, over the top, fun filled horror opus. I’ve seen this sequel a thousand times and it always holds up. It made Bruce Campbell a horror icon and paved the way for a new kind of horror: extreme and funny (Peter Jackson should thank Raimi). All serious gore hounds should have this bad boy in their movie library. Now I’m going to go play my "Evil Dead" game on "Playstation". Groovy….
 

BULL'S EYE:


Why is the flashback different than what happened in The Evil Dead? Well, the rights to show scenes from the original could not be acquired to re-cap what happened, so they re-shot the beginning to explain how Ash got to the cabin.

Sam Raimi’s brother Ted Raimi plays the possessed "Henrietta".

One of the books on the can that traps Ash's possessed hand is "A Farewell to Arms."

A glove belonging to Freddy Krueger can be seen hanging above the door of the woodshed. This was in response to the use of The Evil Dead on a television screen in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Professor Knowby's dead wife is said to be in the "fruit cellar," a reference to Psycho.

Ash's chainsaw appears to switch hands in one scene. That’s because Sam Raimi decided Ash should walk the opposite way across the room in that scene, so he flipped the negative.

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The Way The Arrow Points...

   
 I’d BUTCHER my family to see this again
 HANG me but I dug it a lot
 An ok way to KILL two hours
 Just sling an ARROW in my head and let me die in peace

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