Monday, October 03, 2016
Evil Dead II
Directed by Sam Raimi and written by Raimi and Sam Spiegel, Evil Dead II is a remake/sequel to the 1981 film The Evil Dead which was about a group of college kids going into a cabin in the woods where they find a mysterious book that unleashes demons from beyond the grave. The film is a parody of sorts of the horror film where it picks up where the last film left off as well as recreate events from the first for a more humorous approach. Starring Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, and Richard Domeier. Evil Dead II is a crazy yet exhilarating film from Sam Raimi.
The film is the story of a man trying to deal with the demons he had survived against where a group of people enter this cabin only to cause more chaos where a woman has the key that might stop these demons. It’s a film that sort of picks up where its predecessor left off yet it also delves more into the mysteries that is this mysterious book known as Book of the Dead. Notably as the people who had uncovered its text and the trouble it causes where its protagonist Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) has to deal with these mysterious demons as well as the living dead.
The film’s screenplay by Sam Raimi and Sam Spiegel starts off with a short remake of the events in the first film where Ash is with his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) only for things to go wrong and he survives as well as reveal what happened to him at the end of the first film. Then the narrative changes where Ash is trying to survive and deal with the demons while the daughter of the professor who was the one that uncovered the text of the book arrives with more pages that could be the key to end it all. Ash and the woman Annie (Sarah Berry) work together to deal with the demons as well as the chaos that surrounds them.
Raimi’s direction definitely maintains the same visual style and manic energy of its predecessor but he is also give a slightly bigger budget where he allows to do a whole lot more. In some aspects, the look and feel of the film is more polished but it’s also quite comical at times. Notably in the fact that there’s an element of camp in some of the performances but also in the way the horror is portrayed where it is over-the-top in terms of its gore where gallons of blood and such would spray onto Ash whenever he defeats or defies the demons. Shot on location in North Carolina, the film has this naturalistic yet chilling feel in the way it is presented where Raimi’s usage of wide and medium shots play into the locations. There is also an intimacy in the usage of the latter along with some close-ups that add to some of the dark yet comical approach of the film. Especially in a sequence where Ash fights against his own demonic hand which he had cut off as it has this nice mixture of horror and comedy.
The direction also plays with the rhythm of suspense in how the moments of terror is built as well as the fact that many of the conventions of the genre are used where it knows where it is going. Some of it is played for laughs while some of it is for shock yet Raimi understands that there are these moments where the characters in the film know what to do but also what not to do as some just don’t follow the rules. The film’s climax that is set inside the cabin is definitely gruesome but it also plays into the mystical aspects of resurrection where it does have its downside. It also play into the idea of legends and the need for redemption in the hands of Annie whose father was the one that uncovered the messages from the book that eventually led to his own death. That role of redemption is also something Ash has to play as well as something bigger where he would accept his own destiny. Overall, Raimi creates a thrilling yet whimsical film about a guy fighting off demons with a chainsaw and a shotgun.
Cinematographer Peter Deming does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography in creating some unique lighting schemes and moods to play into the chilling scenes set at night for its interior and exterior scenes with some naturalistic usage of light for the few scenes set in the day. Editor Kaye Davis does amazing work with the editing with its usage of stylish rhythmic cuts to play into the horror and comedy as well as a few transitional dissolves to introduce new characters. Art directors Randy Bennett and Philip Duffin, with set decorator Elizabeth Moore, do fantastic work with the look of the cabin that look a bit bigger as well as the look of Ash‘s Oldsmobile car.
Special makeup designer Mark Shostrum does brilliant work with the look of the demons and the people who become possessed as it has this look of decay and terror. Sound editor David West does nice work with the sound as it play into that air of terror and suspense as well as some of the film‘s dark humor. The film’s music by Joseph LuDuca is superb for its orchestral based score as it play into the suspense and horror that is prevalent throughout the film as well as few pieces for its comedy.
The film’s incredible cast feature some notable small roles from Lou Hancock as Annie’s mother, Ted Raimi as the demonic version of Annie’s mother, John Peaks as Annie’s father who would uncover the text that would cause a lot of trouble, Richard Domeier as Annie’s boyfriend Ed Getley as this associate professor who accompanies Annie with the found text that can stop the chaos, and Denise Bixler as Ash’s girlfriend Linda who would become possessed early in the film as she becomes the thing that would humanize him in case he becomes possessed. Kassie DePaiva is wonderful as Bobby Joe as a local woman who would have a chilling encounter with the demons while Dan Hicks is terrific as Bobby Joe’s boyfriend Jake who freaks out and tries to take matter into his own hands.
Sarah Berry is excellent as Annie Knowby as a professor’s daughter who tries to fix the chaos that her father did as well as make sense of all of the craziness that is happening. Finally, there’s Bruce Campbell in a tremendous performance as Ash Williams as an ordinary man whose encounters with demons forces him to take action with a shotgun and a chainsaw while providing that element of camp into his performance that makes it so fun to watch.
Evil Dead II is a magnificent film from Sam Raimi that features a sensational performance from Bruce Campbell. It’s a film that manages to blend horror, suspense, and comedy into something very special and fun as it isn’t afraid to be campy nor refusing to take itself so seriously. It’s got a nice soundtrack, an amazing supporting cast, dazzling visuals, and lots of gore. In the end, Evil Dead II is a spectacular film from Sam Raimi.
Sam Raimi Films: (It’s Murder!) - (Clockwork) - (Within the Woods) - The Evil Dead - (Crimewave) - (Darkman) - Army of Darkness - (The Quick and the Dead) - (A Simple Plan) - (For Love of the Game) - (The Gift (2000 film)) - Spider-Man - Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man 3 - (Drag Me to Hell) - (Oz the Great and Powerful)
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