By Brett Mullins
Directed by Sam Raimi; Written by Scott Speigel and Sam Raimi
Evil Dead II: Death by Dawn, once again, starts Bruce Campbell as the lovable Ash Williams.
This film is the follow up to 1981’s The Evil Dead. There is much confusion surrounding the opening scenes of this film, because they do not fit chronologically. This topic will be fully explored in a future article.
Ash finds himself trapped in a cabin doing battle with an evil spirit released by the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead). Four others trek trough the forest in search of the cabin’s owner only to find Ash wielding a shotgun and missing a hand. Once they establish a common goal of survival, the night turns into a disturbing splatter-filled battle with a chainsaw and shotgun on side and a demonic horde on the other.
Director Sam Raimi takes his original premise and expounds upon it greatly in this sequel. Ash’s character appears to be a bit more dramatized and overthetop, which greatly improves the comedic factor.
This is not to say that this film is any less horrifying than the first. When Ash is alone in the cabin, in the first half, the film turns from strange to unbelievably disturbing, yet quite comedic at the same time. One scene, in particular, may be the most psychologically disturbing in all of cinema: Ash is standing in the middle of the cabin and has now realized that there is no escape from the demonic presence. The entire room appears to be possessed and is laughing madly. The camera cuts around the room showing various pieces of furniture and fixtures bending and swaying as an evil laughter emanates. Ash comes to terms with his fate and lets out a mad laughter of his own as the camera revolves around him.
Besides Campbell, no other actor had a significant role or outstanding performance. Campbell is able to convince and entertain the audience with Ash’s clichéd, often inappropriately placed, lines. "Groovy!"
Evil Dead II is a triumph of the dark comedy horror genre and is able to stand the test of time despite some dated animation.