Thursday, December 8, 2011

Evil Dead 2

  Evil Dead 2 is straight up entertainment. Its frighteningly funny, insanely over the top, and a totally fun ride that doesn't let up not for a second.  It succeeds on many levels. Its a madhouse of gore and thrills and manages to STILL be fresh and original.

  It kinda recaps the first one in a short remake kind of way. Its definitely a sequel to The Evil Dead, but since the makers couldn't get the rights to use footage from the first one, they had to re-shoot a recap and kind of retcon certain details to make Evil Dead 2 work. It opens with a flurry of awesome camera work, eerie sound effects, and some brilliant B-movie special effects. This sets the tone for the rest of the movie, firmly establishing a great and creative thrill ride that infuses horror with comedy in an genius way.

  It picks up and shoots out new gags and wacky ideas at a mind numbing rate. Its manic and creepy, and perfectly delivered. The first 30 minutes of Evil Dead 2 are pure classic. Unrivaled in its breakneck pacing and avalanche of twisted gore and giggles, the first 30 minutes are the most creative and inventive part of the whole movie. Not to say the rest isn't just as fun, but it starts recycling some gags and ideas by the halfway mark. It never feels dull thankfully. Some comedy/horror movies can't balance the two genres well. Some forsake all pure scares, for silly gags wasted on even the easiest audiences. Others abandon any actual laughs, and focus on countless (and redundant) jump-scares instead, leaving all comedic moments an empty vacuum, devoid of any entertainment value whatsoever.

  After having been force fed movies like this for years, its so refreshing to go back and see a movie that does it absolutely perfectly. As Roger Ebert said, and I paraphrase, "The movie is timed for comedic effect, not horror-" but this is a brilliant move because I think there is a little bit of humor inherent in everything scary. So while you're being freaked out, you also can't help but feeling like you're also seeing comedy gold.  Furthermore, Evil Dead 2 cements its protagonist, Ash, as a reservoir of t-shirt worthy one-liners and iconic sayings. He's the ultimate B-movie protagonist. He works as the ideal, square jawed,stalwart action hero, and as a comedic genius who can carry a straight-up comedy entirely on his own. 

   Bruce Campbell plays Ash, and for the first classic 30 minutes, he's acting off of pretty much nothing but special effects.  Stop animation demons, a puppeteered severed hand, and "possessed" furniture. It takes skill to react to this stuff with palpable emotion and a whole lot of gusto. A friend of mine said, if it weren't for his awesome facial expressions and timeless reactions throughout, the movie wouldn't have been even half as fun. I'm inclined to agree.

  Aside from the comedy, it also excels in being very very creepy. Its full of demonic possessions, bloody dismemberments, evil disembodied spirits, excellent eerie sounds, and lots of clever tricks up its sleeve.  On top of all that, the last act of the movie also works as a delightfully creepy adventure haul. Like the climax of Aliens, the protagonists have put up with so much crap by this point, they're ready to fight back. And this leads to one of the coolest, most unforgettable and creative things I've seen in a movie like this... ever. If the iconic sayings and such cemented Ash as a timeless protagonist, this little thing in towards the climax is the proverbial icing on the cake.

  This one ticks all the boxes. Its creative, exciting, funny, scary, and full-on entertainment.  Its something I can watch over and over and find something new to love about it each time.  Its classic drive-in material. I can't stress enough how fun and classic this over-the-top gory horror/comedy is, and how much you need to see it if you haven't already.

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