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Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)



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I despised The Evil Dead, but Evil Dead II has a lot going for it. Ostensibly a sequel, it feels more like a remake, as if the filmmakers sensed that the original was less than stellar.

The sequel doesn't work as horror any more than the original did, but it does work as an action comedy. The first seven minutes retell and revise the original movie in condensed form, and the rest is one gleefully over-the-top gag after another. It's not as gory as the first movie, although that's not saying much: goop and red-tinted water explode from corpses and even the walls like geysers. Toning down the violence ever so slightly has a significant impact, balancing better with the comic elements of the film. The high point is a scene where Bruce Campbell dukes it out with his own hand.

As the movie wears on, its sense of humor rubs away, and it lapses back into a goofy action flick, but by that time it has established a mood with which we can accept it. We know it's not trying to take itself seriously (as the original did), and so we are free to have fun with it.

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