Evil Dead II

May 18, 2010
Plenty of films have garnered enough acclaim to get sequels, but few sequels have ever actually outdone their respective originals. Though these cases are rare, Evil Dead II is definitely a huge improvement over Sam Raimi's original The Evil Dead. This isn't to say that the original was bad, as it had a great atmosphere and was an overall pretty god movie, but the "comedic" side didn't really feel that funny. If anything, I think the film was originally meant to be a legitimate horror movie (rather than a tongue-in-cheek horror/comedy). Evil Dead II, however, clearly presents itself as what it is, and the end result is leagues better than the original.

In the film, we pick up where the original Evil Dead left off - Ash Williams being attacked by one of the demons left over from the horrendous cabin. After Ash's second attempt to flee the woods fails, he decides to spend the night at the cabin again while making his escape plan from the dreaded area. Meanwhile, Professor Knowby's - the original inhabitant of the cabin - daughter, Annie, and her archaeological partner are planning a trip to the cabin. As it turns out, the partners have recently found additional pages to the evil Necronomicon - pages which may serve a darker purpose than the original manuscript found by Professor Knowby.

As cool as the characters are, this film's more about atmosphere than anything else. From the visuals to the gore factor, everything is used to create an atmosphere that perfectly balances horror and comedy. It works fantastically in this film, and it's really interesting how Raimi can make things like dancing decomposed bodies absolutely hysterical. Never missing a beat, the film can go from horrifying moments - like Ash cutting off his own hand with a chainsaw - to comedic moments in just moments, and that's the sign of a great director.

Like I said before, the characters are actually pretty cool. Some of them aren't exactly the greatest or the most memorable, but they certainly serve their purpose within the narrative. Of course, though, we have to make an exception for Ash Williams, who's recently become a major figure of the horror genre. He starts out as a naive college student, but evolves over the course of the film into a badass demonkiller who spouts some great one-liners. Groovy. There isn't too much else to say about the characters, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. 2001: A Space Odyssey puts atmosphere over character, for instance, and it's one of the greatest films of all-time (and one of my personal favorites).

The visuals are a HUGE step-up from the original Evil Dead as well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the visuals are a huge component of this film. Without this level of quality, the film just wouldn't feel the same. Raimi intended for Evil Dead II to be a "visual ride", and he's definitely succeeded at that. With innovative, stylish, and fascinating camerawork, the film's a treat to look at.

The pacing is amazing. Flawlessly, the film is able to suck the viewer into what's going on, and the film seemed to finish in a matter of minutes because of how engrossing it is. I love every minute of this movie, and the ending always leaves me wanting more.

If I have any faults with the film, it's the seven-minute recap of the first film in the intro. It looks great and all, but the huge abridgment and major changes to the story make the intro just feel shallow. I'd have preferred that the film started exactly where the first film left off, with the shot of Ash being attacked by the demon in the woods. I digress, though...

Stylish, engrossing, and complete fun, Evil Dead II is a perfect mixture of horror and comedy.

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