Plot: What’s it about?
Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) decide to spend a relaxing weekend in a remote cabin the woods, but their weekend will be anything but relaxing! Ash finds an old tape recorder, and is curious at to what is on the tape, so he gives it listen. The content of the tape is a recording by Professor Knoby, who is reading selections from the Necronomicon, or the Book of the Dead. What Ash does not know is that the mere reciting of the passages from the recorder is enough to awaken the evil spirits in the dark forest. Linda is taken by the evil spirit, and only after a long, exhausting encounter is Ash able to finally defeat the evil within his dead love. But that’s just the beginning for Ash, as there is evil everywhere in the house, and soon a the daughter of the Professor makes her way to the cabin with a few people, and mistakes Ash for the killer of her parents! Needless to say, Ash has a very bad streak of luck, and it only gets worse as the movie goes along. Can Ash and the visitors find a way to quell the evil, return the woods to a safe place to be, and save their own lives before it overtakes them all?
Evil Dead 2 is a great horror/comedy that combines graphic violence with hearty laughs. Ash is such a likable character, and is played with mastery by Bruce Campbell (The Hudsucker Proxy), who plays Ash in all three Evil Dead films. Ash’s frequent turns into desperation are so funny to watch, as he goes from crying to laughing desperately to crying again. Ash is one of the true icons of the horror genre, and seems to get better with each film in the series. Other cast members include Denise Bixler, Sarah Berry, Richard Domeier, Theodore Raimi (Shocker, Army of Darkness), Dan Hicks (Class Action, Darkman), and Kassie Wesley. While not exactly a star studded cast, the cast does a nice job. Not Shakespeare or anything, but good for this style of film. But really, Evil Dead 2 is a one man movie, with Bruce Campbell carrying the film, and he is spectacular. Directing is Sam Raimi, who also directs the original Evil Dead and the third film in the series Army of Darkness. Raimi’s work can be also be seen in For Love of the Game, A Simple Plan, Darkman, and The Quick and the Dead.
This movie is jam packed with gore and fun, and fans of the genre will be happy with this film. A great blend between horror, with it’s non stop array of zombies and blood, and comedy, with Ash’s antics, this picture is rewatchable, which is sometimes rare in horror movies. The make up effects are well done, with some very interesting choices, such as the stop motion ballerina dance of Linda’s decapitated corpse or the flood of a red viscerous liquid from the cellar. Very cool stuff, not just good for it’s gore value, but the effects are usually implemented in a humorous way, giving us double the bang for our buck! If you enjoy Evil Dead 2, I cannot recommend highly enough that you check out the others in the series. A review of the Army of Darkness Limited Edition is available in the review section, and of course, it’s by me. So, in closing, this is a classic, a must have for horror fans and people who can appreciate the humor in someone’s head being hacked with a chainsaw.
Video: How does it look?
Evil Dead 2 is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen only transfer, and it looks very good. This release has never had a great picture, and this one isn’t great either. But it looks good, and better than any previous releases to this point. The black levels, with only a few exceptions, are very good, and shadowing looks correctly layered. The colors are bright, especially the red, and believe me, there’s plenty of it! The print looks grainy and has some wear to it, but this transfer does the best it could, given the source material. No signs of compression errors can be found either. Not a perfect print, but a good one, and the best available.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses Dolby Digital Surround, and it sounds decent enough. While the movie does not call for much use of audio, this disc makes sure what is there sound good. Every scream, whisper, and chainsaw roar is clear and crisp, and the hilarious antics of Ash come through loud and clear.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You get the original theatrical trailer, and that’s it. I love those trailers though! On a side note, Anchor Bay is working on a special edition, like their Army of Darkness releases, for Evil Dead 2, so if extras are your game, you might want to wait. But, the target release date is next summer, so you might not want to wait that long. I know I couldn’t!