Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn

Sam Raimi, USA, 1987, 85 mins

The open air screening in Freshers Week has now become an EUFS tradition. This year we continue it with arguably the best horror-comedy ever made, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn.

A bigger budget reworking-cum-sequel to The Evil Dead, the film both reprises its predecessor, condensing 80 minutes of action into a mere ten, and develops the underlying mythos of the franchise, paving the way for Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness.

One crucial difference compared to its predecessor is that, while the fantastic inventiveness and sheer over the topness are still there in spades, Evil Dead II is a more overtly comic film. Showcasing Raimi’s love for the likes of the Three Stooges and MAD magazine and the Keaton-esque comic skills of Bruce Campbell, there is still oodles of gore, but the flying eyeballs and lopped-off appendages serve as the functional equivalents of custard pies and buckets of whitewash rather than anything psychologically retrograde. Yes, the decapitated body of hero Ash’s girlfriend does dance around with a chainsaw (and that’s only the start of it), but no one is sexually assaulted by demonically possessed plants this time round.

The Evil Dead II is the sort of film which it is really impossible to describe or summarise. You simply have to come along and experience it for yourself.

Review by Keith H. Brown
Taken from EUFS Programe Autumn 1999