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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 192: Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2
Never lose your smile, kid

Horror has come a long way in the past 30 or so years. What was once relegated to the corners of local video stores and only talked about amongst your two or three friends has become a global cash cow. There are now film festivals, video games, clothing, and action figures dedicated solely to horror. These are all great things, but horror's rise in popularity also brings about the rise in elitists. Thanks to internet anonymity, every website has it's share of elitists, trolls, and trouble makers who feel the need to ruin everyone's fun. I always have a fear when doing a review that some mega-nerd will unleash their nerd wrath upon me. I can practically hear their chubby, Cheetos-encrusted fingers angrily typing away that I forgot to mention a crucial part in a movie or that I wrote an incorrect date. This goes double for reviewing a classic horror movie, but I won't let some mouth breathers keep me from doing what I like to do.

Evil Dead 2 is a 1987 horror comedy directed by Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) and starring Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep, The Evil Dead) as Ash Williams. Ash and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) take a vacation to a supposedly abandoned cabin in the woods. Ash plays a recording from a Professor Knowby that recites passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, The Book Of The Dead. The incantation unleashes an evil force that possesses Linda and turns her into a murderous zombie. Ash decapitates her and buries her body in the woods. He is briefly possessed, but the morning sun returns him to normal. He tries to make a run for it, but the bridge that leads to the main road has been demolished. When he returns to the cabin, his hand becomes possessed and tries to kill him. He cuts off the possessed hand and tries to deal with a cabin possessed by evil spirits. At the same time, Professor Knowby's daughter Annie (Sarah Berry) arrives at the cabin, along with her boyfriend Professor Ed Getley and two locals, Jake and Bobby Joe. Annie has brought along missing pages from the Necronomicon in hopes of translating them. They mistake Ash for a criminal and throw him into the cellar. Annie listens to more of the recording which explains that her mother Henrietta had become possessed, forcing her father killed her and buried her in the basement. A demonic Henrietta rises from the cellar and attacks Ash. He is able to escape the cellar and the group traps Henrietta. Members of the group soon become possessed or killed by various spirits, leaving Ash and Annie. To battle the spirits, Ash grabs a shotgun and attaches a chainsaw to his stump. That's right, a chainsaw. How will they be able to stop the evil spirits from coming into this world and how will they survive?
Groovy, indeed

While technically a sequel to The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 incorporates many scenes and the same basic story as the original Evil Dead. Whereas the first movie focused more on horror, Evil Dead 2 goes off in a slightly different direction, focusing more on comedy and special effects. That's not to say there aren't some scary moments, because there certainly are, but you can tell that they wanted more jokes. If you know that going in, you'll enjoy it far more than expecting to see a straight-forward sequel. The story moves fast, almost too fast in parts. Within the first 10 minutes or so, Linda has already been possessed and killed and the bridge is out. It takes horror movies a good half hour to get to that point. Because of this speed, it may be difficult for people to follow, especially if they haven't seen the first Evil Dead.

Bruce Campbell is wonderfully over-the-top and a bit hammy, which helps play up the humor aspect of the movie. This movie is really where Bruce Campbell became “Bruce Campbell”. The supporting cast does well in their roles, but the true support comes from the special effects. Evil Dead 2 employs a vast array of filming tricks and movie magic. Sam Raimi uses various creative camera angles and shots that keep the movie interesting without overdoing it. The special effects range from traditional makeup and prosthetics to animation and blue screen technology. The effects are so numerous that at times it feels like Sam Raimi was saying “What else can I do?” The monsters have lots of detail and are pretty terrifying. The movie has a lot of action and a good amount of blood. If you've seen the first movie, you'll catch plenty of references and similar scenes that will make you smile knowingly.
Donal Trump looks terrible

Some may call Evil Dead 2 a satire of earlier horror movies, but if anything it's a loving tribute that is both scary and fun. Whether it's a sequel or a remake, the movie does justice for the original Evil Dead. If you haven't seen the first movie, it may be a little difficult to follow the movie at first due to it's fast pace, but don't let that discourage you. Evil Dead 2 is a great example of creative film making and horror movie magic. The special effects and makeup are great and Bruce Campbell's performance is just plain fun. The movie has a lot of comedy, which I wasn't expecting. I would have been happy with a straightforward horror movie, but I still enjoyed it. Hopefully this review will not garner the rage of a thousand sweaty neckbeards. After all, it's just one man's opinion.


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