- Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II is the rare sort of sequel that also sort of works as a remake as well. Raimi, with a bigger budget, switched from 16mm to 35mm, changed tone (this is far more comedy than The Evil Dead (1981)) and instead of expanding the cast, this actually focuses more on Bruce Campbell’s talents as Ash here.
- Stylistically (which is different than special effects), Raimi’s greatest tool is the shaky cam. That kinetic shot, flying through the frame, often pushing doors open, is used again and again. The Coen Brothers, buddies of Raimi, also would use it in 1987 in Raising Arizona (for Nic Cage’s diaper chase scene). Here, Raimi simulates the spirit’s movement with the shaky cam. The spirit chases Campbell’s Ash, and it is even flies through the car window.
- An inspired transition of a rolling decapitated head to shovel
Again, largely a one man show – Campbell talking to himself in the mirror, battling his own hand (with the “A Farewell to Arms” joke- haha)- a great physical comedian. At the 36-minute mark the house comes alive- a sort of comedy horror slapstick surrealism.
- Set pieces from The Evil Dead are taken directly- like the vines capturing the girl in the woods— reverse photography of the fog on the moon.
bringing back the inventive cellar shot from the prior film
foreground/background that harkens back to the roots of expressionism
…with the occasional low and canted angle thrown into the mix– a gorgeous shot here
- Two 360-degree shots of Campbell in the haunted surreal surrounding- one outside the cabin and one inside.
- The film is still an artistic triumph, but it is a bit of a cautionary tale of building your house on special effects. There is a fair amount of cinema style here- but an abundance of special effects that do not make for interesting cinema.
- The chainsaw arm shot at the 88-minute mark when Campbell saws off the shotgun and Raimi comes in for the “groovy” close up– a great shot.
- Raimi’s camera pulls back on the great frame of 1300 AD for the finale setting up the third film in the trilogy (Army of Darkness– 1992).
- Recommend/ Highly Recommend border