Sunday, January 15, 2012

Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II; horror / grotesque / comedy, USA, 1987; D: Sam Raimi, S: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Danny Hicks
One night, Ash and his girlfriend Linda take a vacation to an isolated cabin in the woods, situated on a plateau. He finds a tape recorder of a professor who discovered the "book of the dead", but his recorded words accidentally summon an evil force that wakes up demons. Linda is killed while the professor's daughter, Annie, as well as her associates Ed, Jake and Bobby get trapped when they enter the cabin. One by one, the demons kill them. Ash survives despite his severed hand, puts a chainsaw as a "hook" and battles demons. Annie reads out the spell from the book and transports the whole house into year 1300, together with Ash.

After the hyped original, Sam Raimi directed this well anticipated sequel which is arguably the best contribution to the "Evil Dead" trilogy: while the first movie was too serious, and the third was too "tame", part 2 is "just right", an eerie independent cult classic that is unbelievable in blending hard horror with slapstick comedy, whereas it contains a fantastic visual style that enhances the experience thanks to unusual camera angles, close up shots or bizarre mise-en-scene. The first 30 minutes are gold, especially in the virtuoso directed scene in which the camera's POV (aka the "evil force") travels through the woods with incredible speed, enters the cabin, breaks the door on the hallway, exits through the other door, wonders again outside through the woods and "crashes" into Ash, suddenly lifting him up and catapulting him for dozens of yards through the air into a tree: truly, a tour-de-force sequence that will have viewers rewinding it several times. Some ideas were a tad too bizarre and the ending is stupid, yet Raimi gains plus points by setting the whole story only on one location (the cabin), inserting wacky-insane jokes (a moose head on the wall suddenly bursting into laughter; Ash saying "Groovy" as if from another world; a floating demon attacking Annie until Ash interrupts his "job" by whistling), casting Bruce Campbell and, unlike "Braindead", insisting on channelling the intensity of the mood not exclusively on scares or gore, but also on clever stylistic fun.


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