Rewatched Jul 15, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
"Gimme back my hand... GIMME BACK MY HAND!"
-Ashley J. Williams (Bruce Campbell)
In Evil Dead 2, Sam Raimi takes the tried and tested formula, which immortalised his original as the king of shoestring budget horror, and reapplies it to this magnificent sequel. Not only does he match the inventiveness, gratuitous gore and eccentric humour that made its predecessor so innovative and brilliant, but he actually manages to elevate it to new heights of zany craziness. Raimi truly pulls out all the stops in this entirely uninhibited, yet utterly marvellous, sequel.
The plotline is almost identical to the original, which is no bad thing considering how well it worked within it. Our amiable protagonist Ashley J. Williams returns, with Bruce Campbell surpassing his excellent performance in the Evil Dead a thousand fold. As the lone survivor of the vicious onslaught at the hands of evil, flesh possessing demons, Ash holes up in that cabin in the woods alongside a rag-tag band of survivors, and the carnage begins once again.
It all sounds very much the same as its precursor, and yet it feels more realised, more fulfilled. Raimi masters his cinematography that defined much of the originals success, whilst Campbell appears to truly understand Raimi’s vision and delivers a far more accomplished performance because of it. Instead of the director taking centre stage, as was the case in the original, this feels much more like a collaboration between him and the lead, as both have a better idea of what they are seeking to achieve. Within this film, Campbell delivers the performance of his entire career and both he and Raimi develop Ash Williams into one of the greatest characters in the history of horror. The supporting cast are pretty average once again, but this time round, both director and lead shine in equal measure.
If the combination of horror and comedy was great in the original (Which, as it happens, it was) then in the Evil Dead 2 it is out of this world. Raimi ups the ante to a degree one would assume impossible, complemented by an absolutely genius script. The effects are also a cut above the original too, at once amusingly commical and horribly gory. Never has a film managed to get the combination of terror and laughs so spot on.
VERDICT; In very few instances do sequels ever manage to live up to their predecessors, let alone surpass it. This however, is one of them. Gaudily flamboyant, incredibly gory and genuinely horrifying and hilarious in bouts. Sam Raimi’s magnum opus, and Bruce Campbell’s finest performance to date. The masterwork the original was in every way, and then some. In a word...Groovy.
4.5/5 or 9/10 (Borderline top marks.)