Saturday, October 30, 2010

MR Evil Dead 2 Dead by Dawn

This time, the second entry in this legendary horror cult franchise.
More slapstick-horror, more budget, more Bruce Campbell..this movie got it all!

Probably one of my favorite horror movies of all time~

Movie: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Directed by Sam Raimi
Release date 1987
Genre horror/comedy
Country USA
Six years after the unbelievable success Sam Raimi had with his little movie called "The Evil Dead", he now had a good reputation, some real experience from a bizarre mix of comedy/horror/noir movie he did with for a studio in-between, Crimewave, and was able to do as he pleased.

So naturally, a follow-up to Evil Dead was made before it was turned into a franchise without his or Bruce Campbell participation, like many horror movies of the 80s ended up like.

With Rob Tapert still on the production and Joseph LoDuca returning on the music, the rest of the crew changed. He had some new FX guys with him, a much bigger budget, more experience and lots of ideas to put on film...

"We have to go back...Back to the mansion!" - Day of the Tentacle.

Sadly for Raimi's team, he discovered while starting the sequel he didn't had the rights of the first movie anymore... Errors from a young director due to his lack of experience back then.
This means he couldn't use images from the first movie as a recap in the beginning.
How to make a much larger-scale sequel, for a bigger public, if he couldn't explain what the deck happened until this point?

"Dead by Dawn", as this sequel is subtitled, starts by retelling the events of the first movie...altered.
You see, they simply reshot various scenes from the original movie.
The first 10 minutes of ED2 remakes simply the whole 1st Evil Dead. But because it was more expensive to have a big cast for such a screentime, they made some little tweaks to the story.

Ashley J. Williams goes on a little vacation to a cabin within the woods with a girlfriend of his, Linda.
There, he plays a recording found there, from a professor who was studying the Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. It awakes the "dead", possesses the trees and the woods, attacks, possesses and transforms Linda into an undead Deadite. Ash gets beaten, kills her, goes outside at sunrise...when suddenly it is finally able to possesses Ash!!!

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

This is were Evil Dead 2 picks up for real.
The sequel's pace is pretty fast this time around.
Sam Raimi stills films on the super-8 and plays with a lot of tricks he picked up along the way. Zooming and travelling plans, angular shots...

The movie is all about all the pain in the world being inflicted to Bruce Campbell's Ash character.
The Deadite try to corrupt him by several occasions, he gets beaten, bitten and worse!

Ash briefly transforms into a deadite in the beginning and let show a view of what he might end up like if he doesn't escape from this nightmare by the end of the movie.

Also, we get a brief glimpse into a future foe from the next sequel and expanded universe stories. If the Necronomicon can't turn Ash into one of them, he can surely make another like him. The Evil Ash first appears in a reflection and then, after "spreading" is able to turn Ash's hand into "pure evil"...

Come and get some!

Ash is a survivor, Ash never gives up.

The movie kinda parodies horror and slasher flicks of that time, it's full of blood once again, but used in a more slapstick way, something that Sam Raimi catched on his last movie. There's blue blood, and green and many more colors depending on the situations.

The special effects are quite impressive this time around.
Decapitations, hands mutilated, explosions, more stop motion and puppetry...
The deadites makeups are quite gross and fantastic.

If Evil Dead 1 surprised and set up a bar for horror movies, Evil Dead 2 exceeds all the expectations and then some.

Hail to the King, baby!

Evil Dead 2 is a violent gory and fun ride.
Hardcore horror fans may prefer the original, but I like my "entertainment" with fun and humour.
The mix of over-the-top one-liners delivered by Bruce Campbell (of which he has become a master of since then), black comedy and gruesome horror is pretty original, not a lot of movies have been able to truly present this odd composition.

The movie is full of great memorable sequences and an amazing rythm.
Ash is turned from a frail frightened  guy into a badass anti-slasher. The movie is full of creatures but only one "main" character. He's the one after those demon's butts. He's a reverse horror movie monster. You know from the start nothing will stand in his way and he will come out victorious in the end. Those deadites better count their time left!

It never stops and will have you glued to your seat to the last minute.

The movie ends surprisingly (at the time) with a crazy unexpected cliffhanger...that is if the next movie would follow it exactly unlike the transition from Evil Dead to Dead by Dawn...

Overall, an awesome badass movie, on top with the other 80s and 90s badass movies such as Terminator 2, Predator or Robocop. Only, the badass character here is a normal guy in an unnatural world.

If the original Evil Dead was a 100% pure horror movie, perrfect exemple of an 80s product of the genre, Dead by Dawn is more like 60% horror and 40% comedy. Mostly slapstick humour all thanks to Bruce Campbell's elastic expressions!

The film has some surprises along the way, develops a bit more the Necronomicon's background and what it does exactly. There's some hints of what Sam Raimi had in mind at the time for part 3 in the plot. (which it didn't ended up exactly being like)

The movie, being made on a much confortable busget, spends a lot more time making everything fun and look great. There's even some easter eggs to find here and there (such as Freddy Krueger's claw hidden in a basement, no meaning story-wise).
Also, Ted Raimi, Sam's younger brother, started his long-running career of cameos in this movie. After a little uncredited part in Evil Dead 1, he has this time a much bigger role as one of the Deadites!

Anyway, it's a great movie I've already saw so many times...
A must watch/per year! Exactly the kind of movie that you'll only like more the more you see it~
Great, fun, gruesome, terrific...
The legendary Bruce Campbell at his best in the defining role of a lifetime!

I give it:
 2.5 / 3 Necronomicons!

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