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Friday, October 9, 2020

Review: Evil Dead II

Director: Sam Raimi

Screenplay: Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel

Year: 1987

Here I am sitting in front of my computer questioning my decision to include “Evil Dead II” in the “31 Days of Halloween” event and thinking what can I write 33 years later after the release of a movie for which everything has already been written. Of course, I could go on the controversial road and say that I consider it to be overrated and that I do not enjoy it, but I would be lying and undermining the purpose of this page’s existence. So I will limit myself to just sharing my experience with it risking being redundant and what has been previously said about this movie and maybe I can give some value with my perspective of it three decades later.

Ash travels with his girlfriend to a cabin in the woods where they find some recordings belonging to a doctor and a mysterious book. Unknowingly, through this book, they release some demons that start chasing and attacking them. Ash starts battling these demons to try and survive the night. 

In the opening scene of “Evil Dead II”, director Sam Raimi (“Drag Me To Hell”) makes it clear in just a few seconds that this movie will be very different from its predecessor, but even this scene isn’t enough to prepare the viewer for the madness that awaits. While “Evil Dead” is a serious horror movie that follows a classic supernatural movie’s standards, “Evil Dead II” takes an alternate route and takes its story through the horror-comedy path. But let’s be real, saying horror-comedy doesn’t do much to explain the insanity that Raimi presents, and the only adjective that comes to mind to describe it is absurdly entertaining.

A man that fights against his own hand possessed by a malignant entity, a decapitated body that dances under the stars between the tree and in from of the worn-down cabin where Ash witnesses the show, and other similar moments might seem completely absurd in this writing, but Raimi's magic makes them work in a fashion that is as fun as it is macabre. Absolutely everything in this movie is taken to the absurd, and the peculiar visuals that Raimi generates along with the over-the-top acting from Bruce Campbell (“Ash vs Evil Dead”) complement much better than what they should.

As what usually happens with groundbreaking visuals and taking the existing technology to the limit, "Evil Dead II" is not exempt from its visuals not to look dated so much time later. Digital technology has made significant advances since then, and these older movies inevitably become affected by these advances in retrospect. However, Raimi's preference for using practical effects makes most of them as enjoyable as in its release, and the use of stop-motion techniques helps it preserve a somber and unnatural presence.

Taking the path of the horror-comedy doesn't limit the movie from including terrorific and bloody scenes. The visuals manage to balance the horrific with the funny and never loses from perspective that, in essence, it is a horror movie in which you can enjoy an absurd development. The gore is where it goes entirely into the extreme, and we witness mutilations, dismemberments, stabs, and other types of violence. Most of these gory scenes don't leave behind the comedy, as the scene in which while Ash fights a demon and one of his eyes comes flying out and ends up in someone else's mouth. 

"Evil Dead II" is considered a horror movie classic and rightfully so. Sam Raimi took the horror-comedy genre to a new level with his campy and extreme style, leaving behind the more serious and conventional one he used in its predecessor. With "Evil Dead II", Raimi set a before and after in horror cinema, and three decades later, it is still considered one of the best horror comedies ever done, and it is still as fun as if it was released a few days ago.

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