HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

    Evil Dead 2

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 81 mins . R . PAL


    Itís an often lamented position, being stuck in the middle. So lamented that Quentin Tarantino did a whole scene to that song in one of his filmsÖ thereís a TV show named after the woes of being the middle child in Malcolm in the Middle. Lisa Simpson often bemoans the fact sheís the one in the middle as did Jan Brady from The Brady Bunch. Personally, Iím somewhat of a middle child and I feel I know a thing or two about being bruised and tortured by the eldest (and by the youngest, but they were my younger sisters so I donít mention that too often).

    Films too go through this turbulent position, following a cult or runaway hit and never quite measuring up to those first, golden children that came before. Often itís the despondent reception to the middle film that gives filmmakers the impetus to go harder and faster than ever before on the final in a trilogy. Look at classic trilogies like Indiana Jones, Back to the Future or Star Wars (the first, best ones). All suffered the lukewarm reception of a middle child that wasnít as exciting as the golden first or the over-the-top finalť.

    Of course, there are those that break the mould, having every one of the children in a hillbilly brood a disaster (I give you Police Academy in all its horrifying forms). Sometimes the middle child is just as good if not better than the original too (Terminator 2, which is safe to say was way better than the baby of the family, Rise of the Machines). So the formula doesnít always hold true. The Lord of the Rings trilogy just kept getting better with every instalment. However, the formula appears more often than not; try as they might to beat the odds.

    The formula appears boldly and in high visibility here in Sam Raimiís Evil Dead 2, the most lacklustre of Raimiís axis of Evil (Deads). Serving more as a bridge between the awesomely gory and unique original and the big budget (if such a thing can be said) finalť in the trilogy, we have our hero Ash basically learning more about the Necronomicon. And then suffering its awful wrath with opened doors to the metaphysical and bloodthirsty horrors and such. Plus then being sent back in time to mete out justice before the final Army of Darkness (Evil Dead III).

    For anyone who knows this story and loves this trilogy, this one is the lamest of the three (which is saying something as all have their modicum of lame). Iím sure thereís no one reading this who needs be introduced to the trilogy, nor itís central character of Ash played perfectly hammily by Bruce Campbell (a bit of a stalwart of Sam Raimiís films, appearing in a great many of them). Itís a spoof of the genre while still being a tribute to the gorious, sorry glorious days of the splatter film and generally a lot of fun. Schlockish lines and sub-par special effects canít stop the sheer enjoyment of such a silly vehicle as this, and anyone with even a fleeting love of the old Vincent Price or Ray Harryhausen films will find themselves smiling here at the gouts of oddly tinted scarlet as they freely explode. Less serious than the old Hammer horrors but more serious than Romero's Night of the Living Dead, the Evil Deads are a funny and bloody excursion into the silliness of schlock horror.

    Itís just a shame that this middle child canít quite keep up with its siblings.


    Mostly this transfer looks okay for a film from 1987. There are the expected film artefacts, but these can easily be looked over and even add a certain fitting authenticity to the homage of horror films. The original film stock here isnít the best and does suffer a few moments of less-than-perfect, but this is marginal compared to the overall delivery.

    Flesh tones are okay as are blacks and the colour palette and thankfully shadow detail is pretty good. Considering this film takes place in one night, everything is a night shot so we should get decent shadow detail and no grain. Which is exactly what we get, thankfully. Also, we get the full cinema aspect ratio of an enhanced 1.85:1. Doug Beswickís claymation is also of note here, although it just isnít long enough! However, it looks good and is a fitting tribute to the Ray Harryhausen films of earlier decades.


    The biggest disappointment of the delivery (apart from the lack of extras) is here in the audio content, for a lot of the film sounds distantly tinny. The major sound is okay, but lurking ever so faintly behind the dialogue and music and wet thunka-thunks is this hollow echoing that is mildly offputting. However, it does seem to tune out around midway through the film which is good, but even soÖ

    Joseph Lo Duca scores music here and it sounds perfectly like a horror film should; full of dramatic crescendos and tinkling, inquisitive piano. Perfectly suited to the schlock aspect too with some comical moments among the majority. While the whole film is delivered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and there are some good surroundy moments, the music is the major surround traveler herein. The subwoofer supports well enough too, though is fairly restricted to the music only.


    The mostest majorest disappointment of all is in the total lack of extras here. What a pisser.


    Sam Raimi, I have often said, is the greatest director working today in bringing a comic book to the screen. Films like Darkman, The Quick and the Dead, Evil Dead and, of course, Spider-Man all attest to this fact. While he has extended his abilities a little in films like A Simple Plan, The Gift and For Love of the Game, his heart lies here in his unabashed love of the genre and his low-budget mastery.

    Evil Dead 2 suffers the cruel fate of bridging the two bigger and better films, but does so in its own little way. Itís not a bad film and easily slots in amongst its siblings, it just doesnít do as well as those other two do. Still well worth it for the fans of the trilogy though.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=4035
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
      And I quote...
    "Evil Dead 2, while being a good fun schlockfest, still suffers Middle Child Syndrome hemmed in between its two better siblings."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Jules Faber

    Narrow Margin
    "Gene Hackman as an action star? It happenedÖ "

    A King in New York: SE
    "Taking a poke at too many demons makes this film a little stilted and not among his best works"

    A Zed and Two Noughts
    "Is it art or is it pornography? Who cares? Both are good."

    Blake's 7 - The Complete Series One
    "Performances are fine, but the flimsy sets, the crappy props and the undisguisable late 70s hairdos are just too much."

    Heavens Above
    "While not amongst some of Sellersí more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of themÖ"

      Related Links
      None listed


    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5