Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


EVIL DEAD 2 (1987/AKA Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn). Director: Sam Raimi.

Not so much a sequel as a revisioning (and parody) of Raimi's cult hit, The Evil Dead. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is back in a cabin, has to murder his possessed girlfriend again, and then not only has to deal with demons trying to take him over but with the possessed bodies of the cabin's occupants and visitors, including Annie (Sarah Berry), the daughter of a scientist (whose dead, devious wife is rotting and plotting in the cellar). Even more of a comic book than the original, the burlesque, black comedy tone of the film probably made it more influential on the alleged "horror" films (actually gory comedies) that came later. There's a naked, headless corpse dancing ballet in the woods, an eyeball that shoots out of another suppurating corpse and into Annie's mouth, and it becomes very clear that this is nothing that anyone, even the filmmakers, could possibly take seriously. Sporadically amusing and entertaining, but basically too ultimately schlocky to care about. There are some decent stop-motion monster effects near the end. The climax has Ash sucked through a warp into another dimension, setting up another sequel. Bruce Campbell manages to preserve his dignity no matter what shit the script puts him through, acquiting himself nicely in a performance that has to balance [ersatz] horror with humor, and definitely displays star charisma. But while the "Evil Dead" movies may have put him on the map, in the long run they probably didn't do him all that much good.

Verdict: Some inventive stuff but overall the same old grind. **.
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