Wednesday, October 28, 2009

31 days of Halloween: Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II, the sequel to The Evil Dead, is a 1987 horror film starring Bruce Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi. The film was followed by Army of Darkness, which came out in 1993.

The interesting thing about this film is that the first 15 or so minutes is essentially a retelling of the first film. Ash and his girlfriend Linda travel to a cabin in the woods for a vacation. This cabin is not their own, but one they find unoccupied and decide to stay there for the weekend. He comes across a tape by Professor Knowby who is reciting passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (The "Book of the Dead"). Well, with those recitations, Ash unknowingly unleashes the ungodly force of the dead upon them. Linda is possessed, and she becomes a deadite. He kills her and he is then lifted up into the air and thrown into the woods.

This is where the first film ends (well sorta, since it's an alternate version of the events from the first film). The second film finally "starts" here - where Ash, on the ground is possessed by a demon until the sun "forces" it out of him. He is trapped in the woods, unable to escape so he returns to the cabin for shelter and some potential safety. While Ash is in the cabin, Professor Knowby's daughter Annie and Ed travel to the cabin with locals Jake and Bobby Jo.

The for make it to the cabin to find it in shambles, covered in blood, and Ash sitting there in the middle of it. At first he's blamed for all the death and destruction. He's thrown down into the cellar, and the three soon discover that Knowby had to kill his wife, Henrietta, who had become a deadite and then buried her in that same cellar. Henrietta then broke through the soil and began to attack Ash.

Ash's mission is now to help everyone make it out of the woods alive and send the demons back to hell.

The film is entertaining, funny, frightening, and suspenseful. It's still more of a horror film than a comedy, something that Army of Darkness is more of. When you take into account the recap at the start, and the modified start of Army of Darkness that changes the end of Evil Dead II, the film runs around 70 minutes. When the heck did Sam Raimi start doing 2 hour+ long films?

*** 1/2 out of *****

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