on 13 December 2002
It's perhaps easy to forget in this era of post-modern cinematic irony, that there was a time not so long ago when all you needed to make a horror movie was style, wit, vision, an unrelenting determination to create the most enjoyable experience possible, and about 500 gallons of stage blood. After their low budget success with Evil Dead which we all rushed to see before it got banned back in the early eighties, Raimi, Tapert, Campbell et al, fuelled by some extra cash from Dino De Laurentiis, managed to put together one of the best made, energetically crafted, stupid-but-fun films of all time. Now nearly fifteen years old, time had diminished its vitality not a jot. And now its available in all its uncut glory on DVD. The commentary from Raimi, Campbell, Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero is frequently very amusing, points out several things I had never noticed before (but now I'll never be able to ignore them), and is a more than pleasant way to while away 80 minutes. Also included is a 'Making of' featurette which lasts about 30 minutes and deals with little more than how various special effects were achieved. Where this extra comes into its own, however, is in the tiny additional film made by the special effects boys in their lunch hour. 'Evil Dead Baby', tacked onto the end of the documentary, is a tiny hilarious take on ReAnimator and well worth fast forwarding to the end of the featurette for.
on 25 May 2009
After the low budget success (and notoriety) of The Evil Dead, director Sam Raimi revisited the same story of evil spirits terrorising a group of visitors in a log cabin with a bit more cash, the same hut in the woods, and the same main star (Bruce Campbell). What he came up with essentially has the same plot as the original (there is some debate as to whether this is a remake or a sequel) with better effects, some nice twists and a different ending. Where the Evil Dead was essentially a very harrowing horror, Evil Dead II mixes perfectly the elements of tense horror with comedy, bordering on slapstick.
It is a much more polished film than the Evil Dead, building nicely on the ideas in that film such as the kinetic camera-work and using them to better effect. Improved too is the performance of Bruce Campbell as hero Ash. His character is stronger and more assured, with bags more attitude and aided by some cracking one-liners, he puts in an animated and staggeringly energetic performance, spending more than half an hour of screen time alone as he battles the tormenting evil spirits and also to keep his own sanity.
Evil Dead II is a rarity in horror cinema, a film that manages to be both intentionally laugh-out-loud funny and scary at the same time. The tension makes the laughter short-lived and a little nervous. Plenty have attempted this difficult feat of mixing horror with comedy and the majority have failed such that here are really only a handfull of horror comedies that are also genuinely excellent films.
This is undoubtedly one of the best horror films ever made. Shocking, inventive, fast-paced, frenetic and wonderfully entertaining from start to finish.
Yes indeed, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are back to shake some action with this remake of their own The Evil Dead (1981), only this time with more money and more overt humour. A quick prologue sets things up nicely, then BAM! Ash (Campbell) and his squeeze are in the cabin of doom and about to be part of a night of unholy demonic terror.
It's a nightmare of the black comedy kind, where Raimi and Campbell invite us to a party and then gleefully pummel us into submission - and we sado-masochistically enjoy it! Ash has grown a pair of cojones and decides to fight back against the demonic forces, cue mucho action with chainsaw and shotgun. There's a quip on the tongue for our hero as well, even as he is battered from pillar to post to make the action work.
Raimi isn't interested in extraneous scenes or exposition, he strips it bare as the pic hurtles along, all while he brings his technical skills with camera and sound design to the fore. The humour is often outrageous, dementedly so, while it's nice to find a group of film makers who don't feel the need to now throw blood and guts at the screen every other scene just to make a formulaic impact.
Bonkers, chilling and devilishly funny. 8/10
on 28 January 2013
One of the greatest horror films ever. Evil Dead 2 actually seems more like a remake of the first as we see Ash played by Bruce Campbell, going to the cabin with his girlfriend this time without his friends, and having survived his hellish night of battling the evil dead. Ah, morning's here, time to escape. Wrong! Just as Ash is preparing to leave, the last remaining demonic spirits rocket him through the woods in a very comical scene. Crashing into a tree, Ash regains consciousness only to be possessed by the evil dead, but eventually the morning light chases these spirits away, sparing our hero.
Ash then falls unconscious, only to awake as dusk is setting in. . . . ROUND 2. During the ensuing night, Ash battles his dead girlfriend, his own hand (which he lops off with a chainsaw), and more evil dead than you can shake a shotgun at. They are looking for fresh souls. Who can stop these evil demonic creatures? I won't tell--but as you can see, there is a sequel.
Remake, sequel, or both? I would definitely say sequel. There are two reasons why Raimi filmed the flashback sequence the way he did. First, to bring those unfortunate who didn't see "Evil Dead" up to speed and second, because he couldn't get the footage from New Line. Evil Dead 2 is no doubt one of the greatest horror films ever made, following a great low budget cult classic horror film. The sequel improves on everything including the great special fx, lots of blood and over the top gore which was done in a slapstick almost 3 stooges style of humor, as we now have a much bigger budget.
Oh and watch out for the hilarious "A Farewell to Arms" joke. The same dark atmosphere was much improved upon and Raimi shows us some great camera work, a style that influenced several other filmmakers like Peter Jackson who did Braindead/Dead Alive. If you're wondering if Evil Dead II looks better on Blu-ray, the short answer is yes, if only a little. The BD'S improvement was only marginal. The Blu-ray has less image noise and slightly more depth due to more accurate black levels. The colours are a little more vibrant here than before and there's also more detail in the image, mostly noticeable in better lit scenes.
A choice of either Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS HD Master Audio. At least the sound gets a decent lift. There's also a 32 minute making of titled 'The Gore the Merrier' which deals with the makeup and effects. It includes interviews with the guys from K.N.B. EFX Group plus on-set footage of the cast and crew. It's basically the same featurette from the previous Anchor Bay region 2 dvd, nothing new here unfortunately. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn is a true horror masterpiece. A completely original concept, some screwy camera angles, and one Bruce Campbell make for an entertaining combination. If you don't like it, "I'll swallow your soul, I'll swallow your soul."
on 13 July 2015
I recall seeing this amazing film when Palace Pictures unleashed it onto home video back in the late 1980s and I was totally blown away by its dizzying invention and splat-stick humor. Fueled by a UK wide advertising campaign backed by Jonathon Ross (Google it, its great) and director Sam Raimi, the film crossed over from humble X-rated beginnings to mainstream acceptance elevating its star Bruce Campbell to cult stardom... and rightly so.
A quasi-remake of the original movie, yet upping the ante with increased gore and high five belly laughs. Ash (a chiseled and pitch perfect Bruce Campbell) escorts his girlfriend Linda back to the cabin where the infamous possessions took place all those years ago. Within moments of their arrival, he inadvertently plays the tape recording of the previous inhabitant's recital of passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (ie: Book of the Dead) and sets in motion a series of events which culminate in Ash... well, having a very bad day. Between dancing ghouls, laughing deer heads, chainsaw dissection and crazy camera angles, the movie delivers the goods like no other. Wildly veering from graphic gore to laugh out loud comedy, it walks the tightrope between horror and humor with extreme confidence and gifts the audience with a wonderful ride that hasn't ceased to be funny or indeed, gross in the intervening years.
Director Sam Raimi (who would go on to helm the first 'Spiderman' series of the early 2000s) is truly on fire here as a visual stylist. His camera prowls and zooms all over the screen in a manner that has been duplicated time and time again but never bettered. Kudos also to the inventive make-up and effects work that combines 1980s state of the art gore with kooky stop motion that wouldn't look out of place in a Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movie. The cast also shine with their varying parts (Danny Hicks being a highlight) but its Bruce Campbell's show all the way and he holds the movie together - whether being beaten or beating the bejeezus out of undead folk, his Ash character is the poster boy for this movie and deserves every accolade. Cool, handsome and immeasurably stupid in one fowl swoop, its a testament to Campbells' commitment and talent that Ash works so well.
The blu-ray is fine, but some of the films age does start to show. This special edition sports a number of extra special features which range from okay to good. All in all, an essential purchase for horror or indeed, comedy fans alike. Highly recommended.
But he isn't. Ash (Bruce campbell) has survived [sort of...] the first movie (Evil Dead)and virtually re-lives the entire first film all over again. New stuff this generally isn't, it's more a reworking of the old script. The opening shots do 'flesh out' things that were not explained in the first film and attempt to give a very rough summary of the first movie plot, but alters it quite a bit (but you don't need to see the first film to appreciate this one). We learn more about the Necronomicon, the 'Book of the Dead' and extra information on the 'evil', but otherwise it soon enters into the main story, which is basically the same.
The flaws in the movie are numerous, the script obvious, but that merely adds to the pulp schlock horror feel that means it doesn't exactly take itself seriously, and neither should you. And even calling it a horror seems wrong as I simply couldn't stop laughing -despite the gore, zombies, possessions etc. Much of this was down to the acting style and expressions on the actors faces, and one scene in particular has them all staring wide eyed as they follow the strange sounds moving around the building -it rivals a similar wide eyed scene with Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen for laughs.
This film builds on the slapstick humour of the first, but makes it much more humourous. I doubt many can watch this without raising a wry smile now and again, but be warned, it's not all fun and games. The violence and gore may be over the top, but it's also extreme and not to everyones taste. Some of the special effects may be badly executed from a modern' standpoint, but to me, it's all part of the 'feel' of the movie.
So lighten up and brace yourself for a horror film that may prove to be more laughs than you expect, whether they be intentionally included or not. This is definately one to watch if you don't mind the low budget style movies, and this has to be amongst the greatest of them, along with Army of Darkness, the final part of the trilogy.
on 21 October 2003
When Sam Raimi made this film he created one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and he did it with a spattering of blood, guts and eyeball swallowing. Not only does this movie surpass the less funny but more intense original, it did it with a smile on it's sick little face. The story revolves around Ash (Bruce Campbell) who, having survived the first movie, has to go through it all over again. There are possesions, zombies, chainsaws, shotguns and the afore mentioned eye swallowing incident (it has to be seen!) galore in this stunning sequel.
Most of this movie will have you wetting yourself from laughter thanks mainly to it's star, an icon of the genre, Bruce Campbell. Throughout the course of this movie he changes from your average Joe into a one-liner spitting superhero thanks to the unbelievable amount of torture he has to go through. Hacking your undead girlfriend up with a chainsaw has to have severe adverse affects on your brain. There's no doubt that Ash has one of the worst days in movie history.
In conclusion, 'Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn' is an utterly stunning movie that will have you glued to your TV throughout the movie, unless you have to pause it to stop yourself from laughing that is.
on 26 October 2009
i have seen this movie maybe 18 years ago on vhs, now I bought it on bluray and this movie is still great, thats for sure. But for bluray i expect at least better picture quality than on dvd and its not there unfortunatly. In fact at some scenes you can feel like you watch it on vhs, which has been copied few times already. To be fair, most of the time, its not so bad, but digital noise reduction is killing it and its never even close to bluray standards. Whats more, almost no bonus materials, only 30 minutes making of and commentary, there is nothing else, not even subtitles. I still enjoyed watching this masterpiece after those long years and i love this motion picture, but terrible bluray execution for sure.
‘Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn’ – is it a sequel? Is it a remake? The argument rages to this day. However, ultimately, who cares? It’s awesome! Well... if you like seeing grown men screaming as they’re repeatedly covered in a variety of different-coloured bodily fluids. Luckily, I do.
Ignore the original ‘Evil Dead’ (yes, it was fun – for the time – but this one’s head and shoulders over it when it comes to special effects, gore and characters). Whether Part II is a remake or sequel, it basically covers the entire of the first film in the opening ten minutes and then gathers steam from there. It is basically the original ‘cabin-in-the-woods-movie.’ So many times since we’ve seen a group of annoyingly-good looking teenagers head out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, only to meet their end at the hands of something pretty nasty. But, back in Evil Dead/Evil Dead Part II’s day – it was actually quite an original prospect – especially when it’s done as well as this.
Yes, the prospect of people being stuck in a remote location and hunted by someone out of this world isn’t that revolutionary, but it’s the way it’s done here that makes ‘Dead by Dawn’ a classic. Here the hapless humans are hunted by, not just the undead, but the ‘evil’ dead. If you’re unclear of the difference, the evil dead aren’t just your run-of-the-mill zombies, but demons who just look like zombies, but are a hundred times more powerful and are completely insane.
If the gore and general craziness of seeing a man fight his own (possessed) hand isn’t enough for you to get you to watch this, you have Bruce Campbell as the central character, Ash. After this performance the B-movie world had a new cult hero who has gone on to not just star in the sequel, but countless computer games, comics and most recently a TV show. Basically, Ash is a chump – a stupid, sexist idiot who causes more problems than he actually gets round to solving. He is definitely not your average Hollywood hero – and the film is all the better for it.
Ash makes Evil Dead. Evil Dead would just be another horror film without Ask. If you don’t believe me – look into the remake of Evil Dead that completely omitted him (and I’m not counting the ‘too-little-too-late’ cameo at the end of the film). It was rubbish. Or rather it was just another horror film. If you like your horror films, B-movies, or just wise-cracking insane heroes battling even more crazy demons, give this one a go. It’s groovy.
I saw the original at the cinema in 1981 and thought it was one of the great horror movies. Having recently watched it again I was somewhat less impressed. So buying the 'sequel' wasn't exactly a priority. But I saw it cheap a few months ago and took the plunge. I watched it with some friends a few weeks ago and enjoyed it far more than the original.
As somebody else has commented here this isn't so much a sequel as a re-imaging of the original movie. It has a number of laugh out loud moments, which combined with better special effects and a wonderfully over-the-top performance from Bruce Campbell make it a real gem.
It retains many of the characteristics of the first movie as well. The roving camera point of view in the woods is still there and unsurprisingly quite a few scenes from the first movie are re-worked into this one. The ending is wonderful, and I've had to buy the 3rd one of the strength of this.
It is a real cult classic that I think will hold up to repeated viewings.