Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
US (dir. Sam Raimi)
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks
Synopsis: The only survivor from the original film, returns seeking revenge and unleashing supernatural demons.
Review: The only thing I ever found disappointing with “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” is the lack of continuity between it and its predecessor. It is an otherwise hilarious, crude, over-the-top horror movie that is pretty much the trademark Sam Raimi film. For the record, it is not as good as “The Evil Dead”, but it has all the right moves to make it a bonafide part of the “Evil Dead” series and has the well-earned notoriety of being the first film in the series to really nail the Ash character.
As mentioned, “Evil Dead 2” is truly the signature Sam Raimi film. It has all the trademarks of Raimi horror film, the one-liners, the rapid cuts, the absurd supernatural elements, and of course, THE Bruce Campbell. Shockingly, despite a higher budget than the first film, the sequel doesn’t really impress me in terms of special effects. Granted, the possessed/Candarian demons are pretty scary, but they are too over-the-top and they look a bit dated when you watch them today. Although really, you shouldn’t even be focusing on the supernatural elements all that much, because in actuality, this film is basically a homage to the Ash character. A lot of the trademark aspects of the Ash character that are the most popular (i.e. the chainsaw, the one arm, the dry humour, the one-liners etc.) all originate from this film. Whereas the first film was pretty heavy handed with the horror, this film takes a lighter, more humourous approach. It still has a few scary moments (i.e. the scene with dead/possessed Henrietta in the fruit cellar) that are fairly well executed.
This is a great film that I continually recommend anyone and everyone to watch (being myself a huge fan of the “Evil Dead” series, this would be pretty obvious). If you are looking for a serious horror film, this may not be for you, but it is otherwise a fun follow-up to a horror classic and a part of a series of films that are en-grained in the horror genre and often imitated.