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A Movie a Week# 11: Evil Dead II

When director Sam Raimi chainsawed his way onto the movie scene in 1987 with remake-sequel Evil Dead II, he inadvertently set the bar for horror movies.  A bar that filmmakers, Raimi included, have had trouble vaulting in the years since its release.  Before CGI and motion capture, there was just a man, a cabin and fake blood, lots of fake blood.

After reading from The Book of the Dead, our human punch bag hero Ash, finds his plans of a romantic getaway with his girlfriend short lived.  Hacking her head off with a shovel had really killed the mood anyway…

Then, in a visual whirlwind of snarling prosthetic deadites, spinning set pieces and flying eyeballs, the battle for his soul begins. With only a sawn off shotgun and his trusty chainsaw, Ash does everything he can to ensure he won’t be dead by dawn.  The larger than life undead slayer may be the role Bruce Campbell has been unable to escape since production wrapped in ‘87, but what a role it is.  Before Raimi tackled webhead crusader Spidey he created his own superhero in Ash, and like the movie’s ‘I can see the strings’ hands on approach, Campbell’s sometimes wooden dialogue just adds to the its charm.  And besides, Evil Dead II is more Three Stooges than Romero social commentary, something you should always remember when watching Raimi’s stop motion madness.

Its combination of gore, slapstick comedy and goofy scares create some memorable sequences that have withstood the test of time. Not only is it a classic, possessed body parts and green goo included, but also a sequel that bests its predecessor. No easy task.  Generally, there are two groups of people. Those who have seen Evil Dead II and those who have seen Evil Dead II a million times and will probably go watch it again after reading this review.  Which group are you in?


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