Top Horror Films – #13 – Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2
1987; directed by Sam Raimi; written by Scott Spiegel and Sam Raimi

Allen: Essentially the same film as the original Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 took all the great elements of the first and brought it up a notch. Bruce Campbell returns in his career role, as the ass-kicking bad ass Ash, the lone survivor of the first film. Here we seem him battle a chainsaw-wielding corpse, a spooky singing grandma in the basement, and his own possessed hand. The style and technical work by director Sam Raimi can clearly be seen; it’s the same style he would incorporate in the Spider-Man films and in Drag Me To Hell.

Ben: This sequel begins as a quasi remake of the first film, rehashing its plot, minus a few people, in the first fifteen minutes or so. The movie then takes the mold established by these prior events and throws them into a grinder with self-awareness and humiliation.  While not so much a parody as a horror film with a Three Stooges sense of humor, director Sam Raimi deftly uses camerawork and editing to create a style that is virtuoso in its effect. The presentation of the film’s conventions is in your face. Making the camera almost a character in the film, Raimi uses sheer ingenuity to place the watcher in the throes of the horrific events that befall our hero Ash. There are moments here legendary to cult film fans: the hand, the chainsaw, Bruce Campbell flying through the air backwards, the ending; there is even a drinking game associated with participation every time Sam Raimi’s brother Ted makes an appearance as something, or someone, different.

I personally feel this is the strongest film in the series. It is not as scary or raw as the first, but it polishes on technical ideas explored in Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell takes the role of Ash to another level, bordering on a physical comedic performance. He provides a certain sense of safety, even in the film’s best sequence in which Campbell is by himself in the haunted cabin being tormented, to their utmost delight, by the spirits of the Evil Dead. By the ending, we pass through the claustrophobic terror of the first film and move into a realm bordering on absurd and over-the-top. Sure, it is not as ferocious or terrifying as it could be, but it is a hell of a lot of fun watching filmmaker and actor uniquely blending together for a different kind of horror experience.

Team Rankings:
Ed – #11
Allen – #14
Ben – #15
Jeremy – #15
Spencer – #16


Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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