There are few cult films that live up to the hype. Evil Dead 2 is one of them.
Evil Dead 2 is a pseudo remake/pseudo sequel to Sam Raimi’s first film The Evil Dead. The film ret-cons some things and embellishes on other.
When I was younger this aspect of Evil Dead 2 really bothered me. I was unconscionable to alter an aspect of the universe the films are set it to me. I had seen it with my very eyes. How were they expecting me to forget what I’d already seen?
As I’ve gotten older I’ve really fallen in love with that aspect of Raimi’s trilogy. It’s so goofy and absurd of course they wouldn’t need to strictly follow their own continuity. Why would they? And honestly, it kind of improves this entry specifically. Due to the fact that Raimi is attempting to cram in the events of the previous film along with another films events the film has a breakneck speed to it. It never feels rushed it just always feel as though we’re on a narrative sprint. It’s almost physically exhausting to watch it moves so quickly.
Evil Dead 2 introduces a few key elements to the franchise, 1) Ash’s chainsaw hand, 2) that there are any number of ways to come back from being a deadite, and 3) that Claymation rocks.
Sure, they couldn’t do this in the first one extensively due to their lack of budget but this time around they’ve got money with a capital M. The lavish Claymation sequence in the film really help to build the narratively whimsical attitude that Raimi develops. The Claymation really helps you build up the universe and the fact that all bets are off. Everything is up for grabs to hide your wife and hide your kids because there’s dead people killing everybody out here.
Evil Dead 2 is so fun you can almost just watch sequences from it and then be as satisfied as if you’ve watched an entire film. The movie is a creature unto itself. It loves doing what it does and it does it better than any other movie ever made.
Part of that is because Raimi really has the budget to deliver the movie that he saw in his head the first time. He really shows you the full force of his idea. And it’s wonderful.
Bruce Campbell really comes into his own onscreen this time. You fall in love with him because he’s in on the joke this time. In Evil Dead he was having fun but there was the glimmer of hope in his eye that he’d be the Brad Pitt Johnny Depp type leading man. Well, this time he’s either resigned to his fate as a B-movie actor or he really gets that they’re making a horror comedy. Whatever the case may be he’s amazing. He’s a comedic genius and he carries the entire movie. This movie should be called Evil Dead 2: The Bruce Campbell show. He’s fantastic and utterly charming in the roll.
Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn may not be the most popular of the trilogy, with that honor probably going to Army of Darkness, but it is the best in my opinion. Sure, I love Army of Darkness, but Evil Dead 2 is potent. There’s not a single deluded element. The entire thing is just absolutely the way is was meant to be.