First off, I have bought this movie twice on DVD before (the reissue with the 'UK' cover and The Book of The Dead Edition) so obviously I was VERY reluctant to pick up another version! The main reason I waited for a reissue on Blu-ray was that the picture quality of the original Blu-ray release wasn't considered great. The only bad thing I can say about this release is apparently it's not the correct aspect ratio (it's been cropped a bit to fit the screen for 16x9) and one of the much more notable improvements they digitally removed the stick that was attached to the 'flying eyeball' scene. That's a thumbs up from me and maybe a thumbs down from hardcore purists. But hey, Spielberg took out the reflection from the glass pane separating Indy from the snake in Raiders on the recent Blu-Ray release and most people didn't seem to care!
Aside from a bunch of lengthy special feature footage in HD (interviews and film clips are HD but all the other behind the scenes stuff is transferred from VHS tape) my one requirement for purchasing this movie again was that it had to have the commentary with Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero. This commentary is probably my all-time favourite commentary of any film ever because it takes the MST3K riffing approach to making fun of it's own movie and it's HILARIOUS. I should also add that the picture quality is impressive and the sound is great too. An excellent package for Evil Dead heads.
Now bring on a director's cut of Army of Darkness akin to what MGM released in China only in HD and I'll die happy.
on September 7, 2005
This sequel to the cult classic film, Evil Dead, is the next installment into, what is praised to be, one of the goriest black comedy horror films to ever hit the film circuit. This film glorifies the very campy fun and essence of your typical B-movie plot, with a side of exaggerated amounts of cartoony violence and blood. Ash takes his girlfriend to a deserted cabin for a splendid weekend together of romance, but everything goes spiralling down into a blaze of horror as Ash idiotically finds a tape recording of a reading of, what is refered to as, "The Book of the Dead." From here on, this is when the film picks up and the girlfriend goes missing after 'something in the woods' smashes through her window. The origin of the book is narrated in the first 2 minutes, and it almost takes and additional 3 minutes for the girlfriend to go missing. For the rest of the film, Ash battles the forces of evil that reincarnate themselves into everything, from huge trees to even small books. The film is hilarious, with its 'splatstick' humor that pays homage to the likes of The Three Stooges. The pop up scares are impeccable and are always right on target with their build ups. This is a fast, fierce, scary, and most of all, incredibly good humored work by Sam Raimi. I highly recommend this film to horror fans who love a good scare, but at the same time, don't mind laughing at the same time as they're doing so.
on April 16, 2013
Evil Dead 2 is one of the greatest horror films I've ever seen, and definitely the greatest horror-comedy I know of (yes, even better than Shawn of the Dead, which was fantastic). This remake/sequel retells the first one briefly, with some changes: Ash and his girlfriend (instead of his four friends) find the cabin, accidentally awaken the evil of the Book of the Dead, and Ash ends up single and burying his now-headless demon-possessed girlfriend. After that, Ash goes through a great ordeal of horrific (but funny) events that quickly drive him insane, like a possessed hand that beats him to a pulp, or a laugh-o-thon with the furniture, or a memorable chase scene through the cabin that rivals the chariot race in Ben-Hur (No, not really). After that, more people show up, and things only get more hectic for poor, groovy Ash.
All in all, this was fun to watch back-to-back with The Evil Dead, which both arrived on the same day, and in perfect condition. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I highly recommend this (and the entire trilogy for that matter) to any horror fan.
Just watch out for possessed cameras.
****1/2 out of *****
on June 7, 2004
Well, we've got a comedy here my friends. Lotsa people like to throw around the term horror-comedy when describing this, but I don't think that's quite appropriate. While it uses a horror setting, it virtually never seems to be trying to work on a horror movie level, so I'm not really comfortable using the term horror in the description. On the other hand, calling it a spoof or parody doesn't really decribe it either, as too much of the humor seems to be unrelated to the horror setting. But, all that aside this is a pretty funny movie, and a rather 'cool' movie as well, for lack of a better term.
Unlike everyone else in the world, this is not my favorite of the series. In fact, it's my least favorite. However, it still stands up quite well, and is definitely worth your time. Despite the fact that it shares the setting of the original, this one has far more in common with Army of Darkness then the original, as it focuses on fast-moving and ridiculous comedic setups. It's largely a means for Campbell to do physical comedy and ham it up amusingly, and showcase lots of intentionally dated, but still cool special effects. Sadly, Ash isn't quite as amusing as he'd become in the next film. He's not nearly as angry/surly as he'd become, which I always thought was more important to humor of the film than the physical comedy. But he's still pretty damn amusing. Raimi's visual flair is as good here as ever. The 'force' shots are much improved from the already superb ones in the original. The famed scene of it endlessly chasing Ash around the cabin is especially noteworthy. He also does some nice stuff with the sky as well, particuarly a great shot of Ash in front of a ridiculously enormous sun.
The film starts off with a simplified recap of the first film, concluding with Ash's burial of Linda and his being assaulted by 'the force'. The briefly possessed Ash is exorcised by the rising sun, but the bridge is still out, and there is no other apparent means of escape, so he is forced to wait it out in the cabin. The first half of the movie, before the other characters arrive, is the better part. Most of the stuff involving Linda is quite amusing, particularly her stop-motion animated dancing out in the moonlight. The best part, however, has to be the scene where Linda's decapitated head attacks Ash. It's simple, mindless physical comedy, but his frantically running around trying to smash it off is just great. Probably the best scene in the film. I'm also especially found of how the head just spontaneously falls on him from above, without any explanation of how it could've gotten in the cabin, or up above his head, for that matter. The stuff with his evil and later severed hand is quite amusing too. The fact that it is inexplicably talking all the time is the real kicker to the whole set-up. The laughing house scene is quite cool as well, particuarly the disturbing deer head. It's not really funny or scary or exciting, but it's very, very weird, and works quite well.
The arrival of the other characters hurts the film a bit, partially because I find some of them to be rather annoying.(Most notably Jake, and, to a lesser extent, his girlfried, Bobbie Joe.) Of course, I think he's meant to be a bit irritating, but that doesn't really make him much more enjoyable to watch. Fortunately, he's largely redeemed by an extremely amusing death scene.
Despite not being quite as consistent or energetic as the first half, the second half still delivers. The fight with Evil Ed is a nice sendup of Shelley's death from the first film, and the final confrontation with Henrietta is delightful.(Film makers really need to use stop-motion animation more often these days) The fight with the rotten apple head isn't quite as good of a climax as I'd have liked, but it's still pretty decent, and does a good job of raising the stakes in terms of sheer ridiculousness.(particularly when Ash plunges his chainsaw into the creatures eye, and it sprays out hideous blue blood)
A few closing notes. First of all, as others have mentioned, although the DVD comes with both widescreen and fullscreen, the widescreen version just appears to have the top and bottom matted. (i.e. you see less in the widescreen version, not more) Since the Anchor Bay release comes with both it's not much of a concern, but it's good to know. Secondly, this movie has a reputation for being very gory, which is not exactly deserved. It's just too ridiculous to even be desribed as being gory in the conventional sense, as it generally uses ultra fake blood that isn't even red,(with either incredibly thick or incredibly water texture) and silly, incredibly plastery limbs.(That, and there just isn't all that much gore in it anyway) To say this is very gory is like saying that old Warner Brothers cartoons are very violent. You're technically correct, but you probably give completely the wrong impression to someone who's never seen the piece your talking about.
Anyways, this is good. Check it out.
on October 6, 2002
Yes it's a remake,for the first ten minutes and then it's all new.Ash(Bruce Campbell)and Linda(Denise Bixler)return to the cabin in the woods,read from the necronomicon and then all hell brakes loose,then four more new people show up to join the fun.Evil Dead 2 DBD is not as gory as the first one,but it's way more funny,it's like watching a 90 minute Three Stooges episode.The DVD is a total getter for any Evil Dead fan or movie fans in general.It comes in a really cool tin,I think the cover art is from the UK poster like the replica inside.The disk as alot of cool features on it,the original theatrical trailer,the trailer for the Evil Dead:Hail To The King videogame for PlayStation1,a featurette called The Gore The Merrier,it's a great featurette if you forget the fact the half of the featurette is from old tapes that Greg Nicotero filmed while shooting ED2.The biggest treat on the DVD is the audio commentary(Say hello to Papa)with Sam Raimi,Bruce Campbell,Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero.When you watch the movie with the commentary it makes the movie way more funnier,with the four talking about their experiences making the film.I think Sam Raimi is a really great director,think about it,he's gone from the Evil Dead movies to Darkman(my favourite Raimi film)to A Simple Plan to The Gift and of course Spiderman and I really hope he thinks about making a fourth Evil Dead picture.Evil Dead 2 is a sweet,cool,enjoyable and funny flick to watch anytime.Groovy
Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" became a massive cult hit almost immediately -- but not entirely for the reasons he had hoped. Yes, some parts of it are scary, but it's also hilariously over-the-top.
So when it was time to give the world "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn," Raimi decided to embrace the joke. Sure, it still has some horrific moments (possessed lady in the basement! Ash stuck down there with her!), but the movie is now being deliberately over-the-top for the sheer joy of it -- fountains of gore, quotable lines, chainsaw hands and laughing deer heads. And of course, Bruce Campbell has completely graduated into his memelike status here, as a demon-slaying mass of manly awesomeness.
It begins with a heavily abridged retelling of the first movie, where Ash (Campbell) and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) take a romantic vacation in a rickety old cabin, but stumble across a weird old tape recorder and the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (aka, Book of the Dead). An evil force possesses Linda, and Ash is forced to behead her with a shovel. Got it? Onto the story!
After being possessed for a grand total of six seconds, Ash finds himself trapped in the haunted cabin, with no way of getting back to civilization. He's slowly driven insane by demonic hallucinations, and the undead Linda reassembles her very-rapidly-decayed body so she can attack Ash once more. This time, she bites his hand and possesses it, forcing Ash to take very extreme measures to protect himself. Think a chainsaw. Used for amputation.
Meanwhile, ANOTHER quartet of disposable individuals are approaching the cabin, led by Annie (Sarah Berry), whose father left behind the tapes on the Necronomicon. Not only did he leave the Necronomicon and the tapes in the cabin, but his possessed wife Henrietta (Lou Hancock and Ted Raimi) is buried in the basement -- and she wants out. More horrible killings, possessions and demonic evil ensue.
Despite having a few million dollars more, "Evil Dead 2" retains the same low-budget charm as the original. The story takes place in the same weird little cabin, there's a cast of about five or six people, and demonic possession is represented by some charming stop-motion and clever makeup. Sam Raimi has definitely polished his special effects with all that extra money (Ash talking to himself in the mirror), and has added a few for comedic effect (the laughing deer head, geysers of blood!), but hasn't lost the rough edges that made the first so delightful.
He's also dialed his directing up a few notches. It's still a horror movie with a sense of creeping dread, especially as we discover more about the Necronomicon and the undead horrors that come from it ("We are the things that were and shall be again!")
But Raimi fully embraces the over-the-top ("I'll swallow your soul! I'LL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!" "Swallow this!") and in-jokes (Ash pins down his hand... with "A Farewell to Arms"), with plenty of delightfully quotable lines (... groovy"). There's also a lot more weaponry in it, since Ash swaggers through the film with a sawed-off shotgun (which he fires into demon faces) and a chainsaw that he ends up attaching to his arm. It is almost as awesome as it sounds.
This is also the movie where Bruce Campbell blossoms into the one-liner-slinging, larger-than-life, gun-and-chainsaw-swinging cult icon he is today -- he plays Ash as the kind of cool yet frenetic guy that every guy would like to imagine he would be in a supernatural crisis, and he is utterly delightful. The other actors do serviceable jobs as characters you don't know very well, but Bruce simply expands to fit the movie with no room for anyone else to steal (or chew) the scenery with such aplomb and charm.
"Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn" is one of those rare sequels that has more money and polished special effects, but doesn't lose what made the first movie so much fun. Instead, it takes everything that was fun... and amps it up.
If Evil Dead 2 is a sequel to the original Evil Dead, it is essentially a sequel to the original concept of the series, that is a story where demons, released from the pages of a book called the Necronomicon, haunt and torture college students who are staying inside a cabin down in the woods.
For this version, everything that happened in the first movie has been retconned and modified. Of the college students staying at the cabin, only Ash and Linda are left to find the Necronomicon. Instead of seeing their woes for eighty minutes like in the first movie, everything is condensed in the first seven minutes as we then see what happens to Ash as he becomes the victim of the Necronomicon curse. Meanwhile, five other characters (Annie, Bobby Joe, Professor Ed Getley, Jake, and the dead Henrietta, played by the excellent Ted Raimi) come into the story and add a lot of baggage to the Necronomicon's true origins, including a shocking twist at the end.
The special effects, both stop motion and gory juices, are more sophisticated than in the first movie and used to quite a comedic effect, especially with the hand of a certain character and his psychotic illusions. The camerawork is also perfect as it is once again used to film Ash's troubles, but also plays the role of the Necronomicon spirits as they hunt the characters around the house and the woods, a visual strategy that adds more tension to the story than any special effect done in post-production.
The soundtrack by Joseph LoDuca is still as efficient as the first one, but is more classical than in the first movie, which was more experimental. Done with a larger orchestra, the score doesn't suffocate the movie and the characters' actions and is both comical and dramatic, adding the perfect atmosphere to the story.
As for the script, this one was richer than the first movie and only kept the best elements of the first version of the Evil Dead story. Unlike the first movie, Evil Dead 2's story rhythm was faster and I didn't feel that some characters were useless to the movie. In fact, there were times I felt that certain traits of Scotty, Cheryl and Shelly were present in Ash, Linda and Annie. In terms of narration, classical devices are used as a narrator informs us of the origin of the book, flashbacks show us how Annie's family discovered the Necronomicon in Sumerian ruins. Finally, instead of doing a gore horror movie like in the first Evil Dead, Sam Raimi mixes more comedy in the story, which gives quite many funny scenes even though the situations are just horrible for all the characters, especially Ash's misadventures which take a final conclusion in Army of Darkness.
on June 4, 2004
When movies were still movies and not advertisements, or worse, "products", a couple of people like Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, and Bruce Campbell would get together to make a brilliant movie like Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. I rented it then eventually bought it because I always felt like I was missing out on something people always quote/talk about. And I was.
I can't think of anyone who is doing this today: this superb mix of comedy and action/horror. There are some truly scary parts here (Henrietta is one of the most despicable characters in all of film; I jumped near the beginning when Demon Ash rose from the water) but most of it is comedic. It's a simple story: Ash and his girlfriend are just minding their business in a cabin when some evil spirits start freaking out because this old man released them wile translating "The Book of the Dead". Later his daughter and her group of stupid friends meet at the cabin and before the movie is over, a tree kills a girl, someone bites an eyeball, and a guy gets hacked to death with an axe. If you have a pulse, you want to watch this unfold.
Watch for a particular scene that involves Ash and the "removal" of his hand. It's one of the coolest scenes in the movies that I can think of. All of this is less scary than it could be, because Raimi is a skilled director who uses the Three Stooges as inspiration. As these characters run amok in this cabin, there is a certain joyful abandon at work here: a scene were mounted, stuffed deers laugh along with lamps and books, dead, decapitated girls that dance in the moonlight. "They just don't make 'em like they used to." Oh, and the ending is so funny that the first time I saw it, as the credits flashed I just had to rewind to savor it again. Army of Darkness was truly icing on the cake.
On the DVD itself side of things, this is a nice disc, hopefully Rosebud or Anchor Bay won't release 4,000 versions of this like they did with the original Evil Dead. It has both widescreen and full screen versions of the movie (for once the full screen doesn't look bad; you could say it's better) and it has a nice set of extras. A really interesting and informative doc about the making of the movie; this was pre-CGI, everything was done by hand (no pun intended). We learn about camera tricks involving floorboards and full body casts and dummies controlled by a man on a skateboard. They also take joy in pointing out some of the errors of the film, such as Henrietta's ripped bodysuit in one scene. Any commentary with Bruce Campbell is a winner. Trailers and bios round out the package, but this is more than sufficient for this movie.
I must say the movie is absolutely beautiful to watch and hear-I put it through my stereo and it came alive. This certainly beats the old version of this movie. If you like action/horror/comedy movies, you have to buy this.
on April 23, 2004
Evil Dead 2 is not just another low budget horror movie. It is a singular experience. There is no other movie like it. If it were not for Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, a very different movie of the same genre, I would say that it is, by far, the best horror/comedy ever made. I hate saying horror/comedy, but I guess it fits.
The story is simple: Ashe and his girlfriend Linda take a trip out to, what he has assessed To be an abandoned cottage in the woods. After a little cagey chit chat, Ashe discovers a tape recorder and decides to play the tape. On the tape are ancient incantations from the "Sumerian Book of the Dead" that, once again, awaken a demon inhabiting the very woods surrounding them. The demon possesses Linda and the fun is underway. The movie never lets up from here on out.
The production is amazing. One of the best aspects of the movie is the combined use of sound effects, cinematography, and editing in such a way that they compliment each other and become, in effect, one effect (excuse the silly redundancy.) The jarring sounds, mixed with the equally jarring angles and lens usage, together with the tight editing makes for a movie that moves along like wildfire. Add to this the impossibly charismatic character of Ashe, portrayed perfectly by Bruce Campbell (I swear he was born specifically to make this movie) and you have the best movie of the genre, and, come to think of it, the best movie Sam Raimi has ever made.
on March 25, 2004
While the first Evil Dead was good, it lacked something, and Army of Darkness (sometimes referred to as Evil Dead III) had the most money, Evil Dead II is a comfortable medium. It has the best black humor of the series and is just cheap enough to work as a lovable "Hey guys let's see what we can do with what we have" movie. This film will always have a special place in my heart. I saw it with my best friend at the time way back in '87 at the theater. We both loved it. Shortly after that, he ran away from home and I never saw him again.
For those who love some humor with their horror, this is a perfect film. Bruce Campbell is loved by his fans, and he appreciates what he is. A B-movie actor who loves what he does. Who couldn't like a guy like that. His timing is perfect and as Ash he's a character many can relate too. I mean c'mon who else in Hollywood can play a guy with a possessed hand and beat the crap out of himself.
This DVD has an outstanding behind the scenes making that is as entertaining as the film itself. It looks like so much fun, the average Joe would want to pick up his camera and make a movie with his buddies.
Though the extras show the tribute to Freddy Krueger in the shed, (right above and center to the door on the inside), his glove appears in one other scene. When Ash is in the celler to get the pages, there's one shot of the door he has to open and go through. On the left Freddy's glove hangs again.
ALso no one mentioned it, but when Demon Ash throws the professor's daughter against the wall and is about to kill her, he turns back into normal Ash atthe sight of his dead girlfriend's necklace. Check out the chain before he picks it up. Someone placed it in the shape of a skull.
For a frightening good time with the guys, or on the couch with that special girl, you can't go wrong with Evil Dead II. As Ash would say 'Groovy'.