Evil Dead 2 (1987)

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Our hero Ash is forced to spend yet another night at the demon infested cabin from hell. Four unsuspecting visitors show up, including two yokel locals, and the daughter of the archeologist who found the accursed demon book and brought it to the cabin in the first place. Ash knows he is going to need her help if he wants to lock away the evil.

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Bonus points will be given to those who can pick who dies first.

The beginning of Evil Dead 2 starts with a brief recap of the first film and about the book and the demons it spawns when you read from it. In these first few minutes, several key things become apparent. The first, is that the budget for the sequel has clearly gone up. The sequel in no longer languishing in ‘indie love project’ territory. The overlays and green screens show it’s got a bit more money behind it. There are no more odd looking moon sequences, the quality of the stop-motion has gone up and, I’m not sure how, but I think they even increased their goo and blood allotment. Pretty impressive for something that was still cheaply made.

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When they were making the first movie, they could have only dreamed of a giant tree monster.

The second thing you notice is that some terminology has been more firmly established. The evil book of the dead is now consistently referred to the Necronomicon and the demons are now solidified as Deadites. Both terms will remain consistent from this point forward.

The last thing you’ll notice is that though this is billed as sequel, some major plot points from the first film have been drastically altered. Namely Shelly, Cheryl and Scotty have all been ret coned out of existence. This means that all the actions revolving around them from the last film are also moot. Anything Ash learned about from the first film, such as finding that the bridge is out when he went to take Cheryl back to town, never happened. So we get to re-live those moments over again in altered incarnations in Evil Dead 2.

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Wait, didn’t I already kill you six years ago? And didn’t you have a different face?

This causes some confusion over whether or not Evil Dead 2 is a sequel or a reboot. I wouldn’t argue too much with someone who was firmly fixed in the reboot camp. However, the film does make it clear that the events of Evil Dead 2 occur during the second night that Ash is forced to spend at the cabin, with the initial flashback including altered and updated shots of some of the moments involving Ash and Linda from the first film. Where on the spectrum between sequel and reboot you choose to sit is up to you.

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Sequel? Reboot? I’m the guy with the gun.

Compared to the first film, Evil Dead 2 has a pretty drastic change in tone. Where the first film was three parts horror and one part comedy, its sequel fully flips those proportions. Where the scenarios of the first film toe the line between horror and comedy due to how over the top some of the situations are, Evil Dead 2 takes a flying leap over that line, face plants on the other side and rolls around frantically in a puddle of blood while laughing manically. It’s moved almost completely away from horror and turned into essentially a self parody of itself, if not about horror movies in general. It’s a drastic change, to be sure, but the film manages to pull it off without coming across as too awkward. Instead we end up with a fun romp filled with monsters, talking deer heads and buckets of blood. It’s good times

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Well, good times for the deer, anyway. The hand maybe not so much.

Evil Dead 2 is a bloody and disgusting good time. The movie is so over the top that it manages to be funny even with all the horrific events unfolding around it. It’s occasionally disturbing and oftentimes so wacky that you’ll feel like you’re watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon. This is the movie that cemented Bruce Campbell’s reputation an and A-list, B-movie star. When the film’s focus is planted solely on him, and he’s able to just run around and do his own thing, that’s when the film shines the brightest. It’s only when the rest of the cast shows up that the film shifts a bit back to horror and then to action and we’re introduced to the true badass Ash most of us have become familiar with. It might not be as funny as its sequel, but it should still manage to put a smile on most horror fans faces. It’s a strange hour and a half, to be sure, but it’s a good time non the less.

Evil Dead 2 is available for streaming on a variety of services.

It is also available on DVD and Bluray.

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Michi

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