Evil Dead II, the sequel to Evil Dead, is more of the same. Much more. The story starts out much in the same way: Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend arrive at an isolated cabin in the woods. There, they discover the book of the dead, the Necronomicon. As they listen to a recording next to it, the words for raising the dead get spoken, and the unspeakable evil is once again revived in the woods, and, unfortunately, it gets Ash's girlfriend. However, a few days later, another group of people arrives at the cabin, and once again, they get transformed, one by one, into decaying, putrid zombies. And as always, it's Ash's job to rid the world of this decaying evil. As in Evil Dead, the script is standard B-movie fare, chock-full of cheesy one-liners and light on any sort of character development or attempt to tell a serious story. The same sick humor is back, and some of the scenes, in all their gruesomeness, are downright hilarious and great fun. And in a film such as this, that's what matters in the end.
The acting is very acceptable for this sort of film. Bruce Campbell is the perfect horror film star, as always, and his performance carries the movie. He is Ash, and without him, the film would bomb. As for the other performances, they're acceptable, and since they eventually get transformed into zombies, even the bad performances can be forgiven.
Bruce Campbell called this film "the mother of all sequels", and in case of the direction, it's true. I didn't think it possible, but Sam Raimi did it: his direction is even more maniacal than in the first iteration of Evil Dead. The camera angles are even more bizarre than the first one, and all in all, the film is the definitive visual overload among horror movies. And while some may say that it's too much, this kind of movie is perfect for Raimi's visual experimentation, as the latter doesn't detract from the fun - it actually enhances it.
As in the first film, my primary criteria for this movie, and for all movies in this niche genre, is fun. Because that's the reason that people watch these kinds of films: to have fun, to unwind. And I did have fun watching this film. A lot of fun. It's true that the script is weak by normal standards. It's true that the acting, with the exception of Bruce Campbell's performance, is weak. But it doesn't matter. It isn't a great movie by any standard, by it's a movie that will carve it's own niche category, it's own cult following. Why? Because the film, taken as a whole, is a great deal of fun. And that's all that matters in this case.
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