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Evil Dead II
Starring: Bruce Campbell
Director: Sam Raimi
Rating: 2 / 5
Evi Dead II is better than its predecessor. Okay, so maybe that is not the only good thing I can say about this movie, but it is one of the most obvious. Even more important, at least in the eyes of this reviewer, is the fact that Evil Dead II serves as a very nice transition into Army of Darkness, the crown jewel in director Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. Of course, there are some issues that need to be dealt with, including Raimi's unexplained refusal to acknowledge the existence of the first film. Raimi appears to treat Evil Dead II as a "do-over," remaking The Evil Dead the way he had originally intended. Either that, or he considers the audience too foolish to notice all of the glaring plot inconsistencies.
Ash (Bruce Campbell) is back in the sequel (if it can be called that), looking for a quiet weekend retreat with his girlfriend. The two decide to spend their time at an unoccupied cabin, one that contains some unusual houseguests. As night falls, Ash discovers a mysterious book (the Book of the Dead) and an old tape recorder (sound familiar?), and he decides to see what sort of secrets they hold. Playing the recorder, Ash and his girlfriend here the voice of a Professor Raymond Knowby (John Peaks), a scientist translating the aforementioned Book of the Dead. The recordings contain some evil incantations, however, and the two innocent campers soon find themselves fending off unspeakable horrors.
Did The Evil Dead ever really happen? At times, it seems as though Sam Raimi acknowledges its existence, as with the placement of certain items within the house and its general condition. At other times, however, Raimi acts as though it never occurred, creating an entirely new film that borrows liberally from its predecessor. Regardless, Raimi's second effort is a more enjoyable piece of filmmaking, if for no other reason than the increase in the humor quotient. While Ash does not deliver quite as many witty barbs as her does in the trilogy's final installment, the character does begin to take on a more lighthearted mood. Besides, the viewer cannot help but be excited near the film's conclusion, when Ash dons his trademark chainsaw and holsters his trusty sawed-off shotgun.
Five years (the amount of time between the first movie and this one) seem to have done the trick for Bruce Campbell, as the actor seems a lot more comfortable in the role of the reluctant hero. The gore and violence in his film are over-the-top, reaching almost comic proportions, all of which makes the film a lot more fun. The supporting cast once again provides next to no assistance, but then, supporting casts in horror movies rarely do. I give Sam Raimi (Darkman) credit for not giving up after the first movie, for, had he done so, we may never have seen Army of Darkness. Speaking of which, I now wonder how the third film ever was produced after the so-so efforts turned in by the first two films. No matter - Sam Raimi put up the good fight, and, in the end, all of his fans were rewarded.
Certification: Rated R for violence.
Running Time: 85 minutes.
Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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