When The Evil Dead was released in 1981, it went on to become a firm favourite of horror fans, and a sworn enemy of censorship boards. That battle with the censors led to it becoming one of the flagship ‘video nasties’, films criticised by the press for their supposed abhorrent behaviour, gratuitous violence and exploitative scenarios. Director and writer Sam Raimi must have looked at all that noise and laughed to himself, wondering why everyone was making such a fuss over his little movie. That sense of absurdity clearly stayed with him as he went in to make a follow up to his sleeper hit, with Evil Dead II emerging from the gnarled forests of censorship controversy, as one of the most insane and anarchic horror movies of all time.
Essentially both a sequel and a remake, Evil Dead II wastes no time in getting to the demonic shenanigans, as we witness Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) quickly having to go through hell as he heads for a romantic getaway, only for demons to possess his girlfriend (Denise Bixler), all before the first 10 minutes. What follows is a day of hell, as Ash must find a way to send this evil back to the dark dimension from which they sprung.
Evil Dead II is very much the kind of sequel that doesn’t care all that much about continuity, or even tonality. What we have here is a sequel that refuses to play by any set of rules, choosing to follow whatever course of action it thinks will be the most fun. As a result, what Raimi delivers is the purest distillation of his cinematic sensibilities: funny, gory, virtuosic and mad as hell.
Full article at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published October 14th 2020.