Evil Dead II. Film Review


Director: Sam Raimi           

Screenplay: Sam Raimi & Scott Spiegel

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry and Dan Hicks

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 84mins

DVD & Blu-ray

Reviewed by Guy Adams

How to describe Evil Dead II for the four people reading this who have never seen it? Imagine a Tex Avery cartoon that’s had a particularly bad time of it lately. Maybe it’s partner left it, maybe it lost its job, maybe it just looked in the mirror one day at it’s snarling teeth and twisted nose and decided life wasn’t worth the bother. It’s taken up drinking and, as the blurry weeks go by, the real world seems a place of less and less interest. Finally, one particularly delirious night, after consuming more than its body weight in industrial cleaner and cold linctus, it takes to the woods, screaming at the moon and fighting the trees with an axe it found in its cellar. Eventually it lies down in the slick, damp leaves and laughs until its sick. To that cartoon, Evil Dead II would seem perfectly normal.

As much a remake of Raimi’s seminal “video nasty” as it is a sequel, Evil Dead II takes the humourous elements of the first film and brings them to the fore. Rarely is a limb severed or chainsaw swung if not in the service of a grotesque belly laugh. The Bruce Campbell we all know, iconic chin of legend, is born here as Ash, the luckless hero of the movie who spends as much time being beaten silly as he does fighting the evil spirits who lurk in his poor choice of honeymoon location. By the movie’s close he has a chainsaw strapped in place of a hand, a shotgun strapped to his back and a grin familiar to psychiatrists the world over as “beyond help”.

It’s a jolly, inventive, intoxicating, absurd, explosion of a movie and I, like many, have always had a decidedly soft spot for it. The fun Raimi has with a camera is reason alone to watch it. It’s hugely self-indulgent and sometimes that can be a good thing.

On Blu-ray, the gushing stumps are presented crisp and juicy, the screams and demonic cackling clear enough to give cause disquiet amongst your neighbours.

The big draw for fans of the movie will certainly be the exclusive new extra ‘Swallowed Souls – Making of Evil Dead II’ . A ninety eight minute retrospective featuring interviews with a healthy collection of cast and crew. Also exclusive to the UK is ‘Road to Wadesboror: Revisiting the Shooting Location of Evil Dead II’ and ‘Cabin Fever’ a compilation of behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes. Ported over from previous releases are a commentary with Raimi, Campbell, Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero and ‘The Gore the Merrier’, another ‘making of’ piece.

A suitably comprehensive package, attractively presented. Worth the upgrade from the previous DVD releases and something we can throw at ignorant children whose only exposure to the franchise will be the impending remake (not that I’m being pre-judging… ahem).

Released April 15th