Evil Dead II

  • Also known as Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
  • Directed by Sam Raimi
  • March 13, 1987 (US)

Legend has it was written by the dark ones. Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Roughly translated – Book of the Dead. The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago when the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 AD, the book disappeared.

A group of strangers hole up in a cabin while demons attack.

When people think of the Evil Dead films, this is much more what they think of. The original was a horror film with much less humor than here. This leans significantly more into a comedic horror film than its predecessor. The characters are serious, but what is shown is done with a humorous tone. There is overacting and general goofiness mixed in with the demented nature of the demons.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (I seriously prefer that title over Evil Dead II) is called a sequel but is much more of a soft reboot as it introduces all the familiar horror elements along with the humor. Ash (the amazing Bruce Campbell) isn’t stupid, but he is not nearly as serious of a character as he was before. For example, he screams at the Deadites who possess his hand to give it back to him. That scene alone is just over the top.

Bruce Campbell is quite possibly an example of perfect casting as Ash Williams. In the first he was the serious hero. Here he is less so yet still delivers the goods. He’s a character you want to win or just see what he does next. Campbell makes him engaging and quite endearing as well as a joy to watch.

The Kandarian Demons are still tormentors. They spent a great deal of time jerking Ash and the others that come to the cabin around. And they utter one of the better horror quotes in my opinion “We are the things that were and shall be again! Ahahahaha! Spirits of the book! We want what is yours! LIFE! Dead by dawn! Dead by dawn!” I have no idea what that first sentence is supposed to mean, but it is just creepy to me. It says nothing but implies so much.

The main thing this movie has going for it is that it is bonkers. These are supernatural entities and are not confined by rules of the real world and this movie uses that to great advantage. Things get as weird as they can possibly push it here.

Dead by Dawn had a better budget than its predecessor allowing for much better makeup. What was only implied through actual makeup is shown with prosthetics. Particularly good is Bruce Campbell’s instance of possession by the demons. Thirty six years later and it still impresses.

The jokes are clever and land quite well. And while most of the characters are there to die, they are not annoyingly two dimensional. And I particularly like that despite the humor, there is a tone of danger and dare I say malevolence throughout the film.

This movie is short and to the point and gets right down to business. The ideas Sam Raimi presents here are much more polished as was his direction. As soft reboots go this is probably the best out there. This is a horror comedy not a comedy with horror elements like Ghostbusters. It is a film that can scare or disturb yet also is funny. And Raimi perfectly executed the genre in this. Not every director can or will.

The weakest point of this film is unfortunately a necessary moment in the film to demonstrate the power of the Deadites. There is a scene where Ash’s legendary ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 is crossing a rickety bridge on the way to the cabin. It’s clearly a miniature. In the current day and age of high-resolution televisions it’s quite obvious but back when this came out it wasn’t nearly as noticeable. I had some questions but nothing that I could confirm just by looking at it. A minor issue in a great film.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is a great film (I think I already said that) as well as a classic piece of horror comedy. It has amazing practical effects and a good story and it’s just a must see from horror fans.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

2 thoughts on “Evil Dead II

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