johnlink ranks EVIL DEAD II (1987)

After watching the first EVIL DEAD (for the first time, surprisingly), I wanted to put in the second one to see the differences and similarities. I know there has always been debate about whether this is a sequel or a remake. Fortunatley, I am happy to end that debate. You are welcome. You can rest easier now, I know. This is a great service to humanity.

I watched EVIL DEAD II (1987) on 2.19.12. It was my second viewing of the film.

This is remake, not a sequel. There. Argument done.

Look, the first several minutes of EVIL DEAD II change the story of the first entry. In the first film a group of five friends come to the cabin and are attacked by spirits. In the second film, it is just Ash and his girlfriend. Supposedly, they could not obtain the rights to do a true recap, so they filmed a new opening. Which would be fine except they changed:

1) The reason for the being at the cabin. In the first film they are renting it, in the second film they aren’t supposed to be there.

2) The number of people victimized. In the second movie, Ash only looses his girlfriend, not an entire group of friends.

3) The bridge. In the first film they can’t cross because it broke when they drove across, in the second film the evil has destroyed it.

4) If there was supposedly something in the basement the entire time, why did it never come out in all the time they spent down there in the first one?

5) Ash. This is the biggest one. In the first movie he is reserved, sometimes wimpy, and idle. In the second movie he is making moves on his girlfriend that she is not totally comfortable with, he is more masculine and aggressive, noone calls him ‘Ashley’, and he doesn’t show hesitation in times of peril.

Sorry, different universe. Not a sequel. Not. A. Sequel. Glad that is settled.

On to the film itself…

I enjoy this well enough, but don’t put it in the same category as ARMY OF DARKNESS. The second one recognized some of the flaws of the first one, namely the fact that the first one only got laughs as a byproduct of the horror, not because the movie was trying to be funny. The second one embraces the campy aspect much more aggressively, and is better for it.

Ash is a much better hero this time around. You feel like he can be the protector. This does make him less vulnerable as a character, so the film makes up for that by really beating the shit out of him. Bruce Campbell really gets knocked around in this thing, and oftentimes by he himself. There is no sense of invincibility because Raimi made some smart choices, namely having the spector of becoming a monster always hanging over him, and having him so physically abused.

Yes, the effects are cheesy and the gore silly. But the movie embraces those devices much more happily in this second installment. The supporting acting is actually a step below where it was in the first one, but Bruce Campbell more than makes up for it by finding a compelling persona for the audience to truly root for.

I’m not sure I like this movie better than the first one, but it is a better film, even if it doesn’t always look like a better film. The choices were just smarter and more impressive in the second film. And the restraint with the tree attacking a woman, but not raping her, shows real directoral maturity here (kidding, kidding).

But, I walked away thinking two things. 1) Definitely, unequivicably, not a sequel. 2) ARMY OF DARKNESS is certainly the most enjoyable part of this series.







~ by johnlink00 on February 20, 2012.

One Response to “johnlink ranks EVIL DEAD II (1987)”

  1. […] ED2 link here […]

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