Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II ★★★★★

The first time I'd watched this for years and I'd forgotten how absolutely bonkers and brilliant it is.

Part sequel/part remake, Evil Dead 2 contains an abridged version of the first film, and in this first 10 - 15 minutes, it's played relatively straight.

Then it isn't.

Bolstered by a tremendously unhinged Bruce Campbell as Ash, the film wastes little time getting down to blood soaked mayhem. There are countless dismembered limbs, lots of blood and plenty of Deadite zombie action, all done in a slightly goofy, stylised way that's really fun and looks great.

What struck me on this viewing though was how unsettling it actually is. A lot is made of how Evil Dead 2 is a comedy - and it most certainly is hilarious - but it's also genuinely frightening. Sam Raimi creates a wonderfully creepy, disturbing atmosphere from the off; the camera swings and twists and tilts as Ash's sanity does the same and the sound design is just as fantastic in this regard too; the sound of the spirit racing through the woods is terrifying. It does a really good job of building that claustrophobic feeling of horror closing in. That's where Evil Dead 2 is so brilliant; it's a deft balancing act of dread and gore, then quickly shifting to broad surreal slapstick comedy. And it in no way feels jarring.

It's full of incredibly creative and imaginative scenes - both funny and scary - and it has a game cast, memorable effects and some of the coolest lines in cinema.

Sam Raimi is a genius and Evil Dead 2 one of his greatest achievements.

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