Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II ★★★★

"You bastards...you dirty bastards! Give me back my hand...GIVE ME BACK MY HAND!" - Ash Williams

I can label this as the most disappointing re-watch in ages. Previously my 13th favourite film of all-time, I'm demoting this, big-style. Not to say that Evil Dead II is a bad film; it's far from it! There's moments of unparalleled entertainment here, but on reflection, a lot of rubbish too.

The problems start when the four supporting characters enter the film after a ludicrously giddy first act which involves little more than Bruce Campbell throwing himself around the place and getting an extreme case of cabin-fever. All four of these characters are irritating and even stupider than the ones in the first film, and I don't mean 'stupid' in the way that this film aims to be. Sarah Berry is one of the most terminally annoying actresses I've ever had the misfortune to witness, and she never stops screaming in the finale. I'm all for Bruce Campbell groaning and shouting, but when Berry opens her gob, the irritation never seems to stop.

The pacing is off, too. There's an insane amount of filler, and I normally wouldn't mind this, but from memory, this was slick and bullet-paced, and not the choppy and sputtering mess that I was witnessing this morning. Through the five or so inspired set-pieces, there's very little going on.

But nevertheless, it's hilarious. From Campbell's genius self-fight with his possessed hand to the flying eyeball, Evil Dead II is a slam-bang comedy of ridiculous proportions. For all its inconsistencies, there's just too much fun to be had when it gets groovy to officially hate it.

And Bruce Campbell. This has always been one of my favourite performances and he never fails to amuse as Ash at his craziest. Campbell is everything that every physical comedian could ever aspire to be here, and very few have matched his unhinged skill and panache with hurting themselves for comedy purposes. Even when there's nothing remotely supernatural going on at the beginning (a rather funny remake of the first film in the first 10 minutes), his craziness is just bubbling beneath the surface of a bizarrely smooth-talking average bloke. Genius.

While there's stuff I now hate in this film, I can't bring myself to hate the whole thing. Raimi has constructed yet another likeable addition to his insane horror series, and it's one that's definitely worth your time.

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