In Review: Evil Dead II on Blu-ray

by Simon Williams on 15/04/2013


Watching Sam Raimi’s sequel to his 1981 horror movie The Evil Dead, you can’t help but think this was the film he wanted to make the first time around. While the original is certainly creative (it had to be, given the shoestring budget), Evil Dead II does the same thing with a bigger budget, slicker effects and, crucially, a lot more humour.

The film opens with what is essentially a recap of the events of the original, only this time it’s just Ash and his girlfriend Linda who head out to an isolated cabin for a spot of romance. Unfortunately the couple made the booking long before the era of TripAdvisor, and not only is the cabin a rundown shack, it’s also the retreat for a language professor with an interest in translating ancient scary books bound in human skin. This also being the era before horror movies went meta, Ash doesn’t think twice about playing one of the professor’s recordings, unwittingly unleashing a horde of forest-dwelling ‘deadites’, demons who can only be destroyed by a vigorous – and very bloody – dismemberment. And so our unlikely hero finds himself having to battle these hellish creatures single-handedly (literally) before they swallow his soul.

Regarded as a cult classic in its own right, there’s no mistaking the enthusiasm and sheer energy that went into making Raimi’s remake-slash-sequel (‘re-quel’?). Reprising his role as regular guy Ash, Bruce Campbell is more assured second time around and the more humorous approach suits him well. The film doesn’t hesitate to utilise Campbell’s unique aptitude for mirror-acting, self-fighting and sheer fearlessness to the fullest.

This isn’t the first time Evil Dead II has been released on Blu-ray, and if you’re a fan then chances are you already own it in the high-def format. Like the previous version, the dialogue can be quiet, and you may find yourself upping the volume then having to dive for the remote when the screaming starts. But the picture quality is a vast improvement, having come from Liongate’s 25th Anniversary Edition US release, as does the frankly unmissable feature-length ‘making of’ documentary Swallowed Souls.

Simon has awarded Evil Dead II on Blu-ray five Torches of Truth

5 torches

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