Friday, October 27, 2017
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Who's In It: Bruce Campbell (The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Jack of All Trades, Burn Notice), Sarah Berry (CHUD II: Bud the Chud), Dan Hicks (My Name is Bruce), Kassie Wesley (One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives), and Richard Domeier (Teen Wolf, Die Hard 2).
What It's About: Remakequel of Evil Dead, retelling and retconning the events of the first movie before continuing the story of a young man's (Campbell) experience in a demon-infested cabin in the demon-infested woods.
How It Is: I'm not crazy about the first Evil Dead and this one does me the favor of making its predecessor unnecessary. It not only retells the basic story; it also takes what works about the original - pretty much just the creative camerawork - and adds a ton of humor to it.
It's crazy to me that Raimi's approach to horror/comedy even works, much less works so well. He doesn't add jokes to lighten the mood, he just takes horrific situations and makes them funny. But he does it without losing what's also disturbing about them. So while the decapitated head of Ash's girlfriend is chomping down on his hand and he can't get it off, I'm simultaneously laughing and feeling terrible for the guy. Same when he's cutting off his own hand with a chainsaw.
That also has a lot to do with Bruce Campbell's skill as an actor and a comedian. I'm a huge fan and this is the movie that made me one.
Unfortunately, the rest of the cast isn't nearly as good, but then... who is? They're all at least serviceable and if nothing else, they remind me how low-budget and super-independent Evil Dead 2 actually is.
Rating: 4 out of 5 unhinged Ashes.