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Evil Dead 2

(1986) rated: R

Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Bruce Campbell.

Synopsis: Ash (Bruce Campbell) travels to an isolated cabin deep in the woods with his girlfriend Annie. They discover a tape recorder with a professor reciting cryptic passages from the Necronomicon ex Mortus, a "book of the dead". Little do they know, the passages awaken a terrible evil that lives in the forest surrounding the cabin. A sequel to the first Evil Dead, but it is essentially a remake (so you don't need to see the first to enjoy the second). Followed by the hilarious Army of Darkness.

Review: While this movie may appear to be some sort of sickening, blood soaked, orgy of horror, it is actually a reasonably sophisticated satire. Many people would say that its in bad taste, but that's what this movie is all about. Director Raimi accomplishes the near impossible with this movie: He makes a sequel that is actually better than the original. The first Evil Dead focused more on suspense, while Evil Dead 2 begins to have a sense of humor, though the scares are still there (and the third movie, Army of Darkness, strays almost completely away from the horror genre in favor of humor).

Driven by outrageous special effects and the brilliant over the top performance of Bruce Campbell as Ash, this film rockets along, never giving you the chance to actually think about how ridiculous the whole situation is (even though this film does not suffer from the usual haunted house syndrome: "Hmmm... the walls are bleeding and a mysterious voice just said 'get out'. I think I'll go to bed."). The low budget appearance of the special effects and the extremity to which they are used almost make them better, for the gore eventually ceases to be disgusting and it takes on a bizarre surreal quality.

This movie has some of the most inventive examples of good filmmaking I have ever seen. Take, for example, the scene in which Ash's hand is possessed by an evil force and attacks him. He chops it off and it takes on a life of its own and attacks him again! The whole sequence builds like a tribute to the Three Stooges. There are several other great scenes that give this movie a unique style. For example, there is something evil in the forest. We never see it, but we see from its point of view when it attacks. In one complex long shot, the force plows through the forest, knocks down the door and savagely chases our hero through room after room. This scene can only be described as a masterpiece because it is not only fast paced and suspenseful, but also humorous (in its own way).

If you don't mind the gore, if and you have seen a lot of movies and have a sense of humor, you will have a great time with this movie. If you take things at face value, I don't think you'll enjoy it too much.

Did you notice:
• Professor Knowby's dead wife is said to be in the "fruit cellar," a reference to Psycho.
• A glove belonging to A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger can be seen hanging near the steps in one of the cellar scenes. This was in response to the use of The Evil Dead on a television screen in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

• Does the slapstick humor add to the film?
• Is it really possible to discuss this movie seriously?

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