Movie Review – Evil Dead II

1987 Rosebud Releasing Corporation

Two Stars

Evil Dead II

What a crappy poster.

In an attempt to top the sheer genius of the original The Evil Dead Sam Raimi unleashed a potent new element into the sequel, he added slapstick humor. How grand, how wonderful , how totally stupid !

The original Evil Dead was an insane and over the top balls to the wall horror movie. It had more energy and crazy bloody scenes than in ten other horror movies combined. It was creepy, it was nasty, and it was marvelous. I remember being excited to see the sequel hoping for more of the mad intensity of the first. What I got instead was Bruce Campbell and Three Stooges Meet Tom and Jerry!

Evil Dead II begins as Ash and his girlfriend Linda head for a getaway in the middle of nowhere. They arrive at a cabin that belongs to Archaeologist Professor Raymond Knowby, they don’t rent the cabin like in the first movie they just basically break in. Soon they discover the recorded translation of the Book of the Dead and Linda is possessed and killed, then Ash is possessed but fights off the evilness except for in his hand. Soon the daughter of the man who owns the cabin shows up with two local yokels and some guy with wicked eighties hair. Meanwhile the wife of the professor has been in the cellar all this time, possessed and looking a lot like Sam Raimi’s brother Ted.

I won’t go into any more detail because I just think this movie is a big misfire. If Raimi had wanted to make a lighthearted horror movie why not come up with a new story instead of rebooting the previous film? This is just totally ridiculous. The characters are horrible, the makeup looks silly, and Ash starts devolving into the fourth Stooge.

The weird thing about this movie is when its serious it’s not bad but then some over the top slapstick nonsense gets thrown in and the movie sucks again. This is one of the most unbalanced movies I have ever seen in terms of the tone. One second it’s horror and the next it’s a slapstick comedy. Some people seem to love that but not me.

The good:

There are some very cool visuals in the beginning of the movie before the jumping of the shark commences.

The scene of the force chasing Ash to the cabin and then inside the cabin are great.

I love the ending where Ash gets sucked into the vortex and winds up in the 1300’s.

The Vortex

Ash is flushed down the toilet of time.

Ash the Savior

Ash the Savior.

The not so good:

The altered storyline. It was fine the way it was told in the original movie.

The slapstick humor featuring sped up action and stupid sound effects is really silly.

The Loony Tunes Hand II

See Ash’s hand grab his face, see it smash plates on his head, see it run into exaggerated mouse holes.

Tom and Jerry

Wow what fun.

Dead Linda

The makeup of the possessed looks too goofy this time around.

Cartoon Style

Ash

Eighties Characters II

Billy Joe and Jake are about as subtle as a jackhammer to the head.

Subtle Acting

I like Bruce Campbell but he overacts like crazy in several scenes in this movie and not in a good way. I liked his character better when he was just a normal guy and not some exaggerated wisecracking Dirty Harry ripoff.

Subtle Acting II

Ted II

Ted Raimi as Henrietta, boy can’t tell it’s Ted at all! The possessed girl in the first movie was actually scary. This isn’t.

Random thoughts and observations:

I know Sam Raimi supposedly couldn’t get the rights to use the footage from the first movie but why change everything including the tone?

When Ash is picked up by the spirit and carried through the trees he seems to go quite a distance yet when he wakes up he only a few feet from the car and the cabin.

Approximately 17:45 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps the shark when Linda’s corpse pops out of the ground and starts dancing.

Corpse Dance

No comment.

Approximately 25:30 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps five sharks when Ash’s hand gets taken over.

It's the Loony Tunes Hand.

Ash’s hand gets possessed by the Three Stooges.

Approximately 01:07:05 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps 100 sharks when Ash becomes Super Ash.

Groovy

Sorry but the first movie was far more groovy than this one.

Doesn't Match

The stop motion creatures don’t match the full size creatures.

Goofy

Nope doesn’t match.

Freddy Glove

Freddy’s glove is hanging above the door in the tool shed…

Freddy Glove II

…and now it’s in the cellar hanging to the left of the door.

Comparison between The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II:

Despite the argument from some fans that this is a sequel it’s really not. There is a short and highly altered recap of the first movie in the beginning that consists of all new footage but that is it. If anything I would call this a reboot and not a sequel.

Changes to the story include: There are now two characters who go to the cabin initially instead of five, a different actor plays Linda, Linda is now a dancer and she is dead within six minutes, the cabin is different, the bridge they cross is very different, the book is different and is discovered upstairs not in the cellar, and Henrietta, the wife of the professor is now the possessed person in the cellar.

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