Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)

Favorite Films

Directed by Sam Raimi

Written by Sam Raimi & Scott Spiegel

Starring Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Richard Domeier, Ted Raimi, & Denise Bixler

Release Date: March 13, 1987

Running Time: 1hr 24min

Rating: R

Ash (Campbell) goes to a secluded cabin in the woods with his girlfriend, Linda (Bixler), for a nice romantic getaway. He discovers the recordings of an archeologist who uncovered an ancient book, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Boo of the Dead), and unwittingly awakens an evil spirit within the woods. He’s forced to kill Linda when she becomes possessed by the evil; from there things only escalate.

Annie (Berry), the daughter of the archeologist, has shown up with torn pages of the book, not knowing the evil has been unleashed. She and her colleague, Ed (Domeier) are led to the cabin by hillbilly, Jake (Hicks) and his girlfriend, Bobby Joe (Wesley). Seeing the place covered in blood, Annie assume Ash murdered her parents and has him thrown into the fruit cellar.

They soon discover, however, that in the cellar is Annie’s mother, Henrietta (Raimi), returned as a possessed corpse. From there the group must band together, and find a way to banish the evil from the world, before they all meet a grisly fates.

Made on a bigger budget (compared to the first movie, who’s budget was around $350-$400,000) of $3.6 million, the film was a minor hit earning over $5.9 million. It was also a garnered praise from critics and audiences, and is often considered the best out of the original trilogy. I can’t argue with this sentiment.

In my early teens, Army of Darkness was my favorite of the bunch, I wasn’t as into horror and gore yet and I enjoyed the broad humor of that one. Now that I’m older and have experienced more out there, this one is definitely my favorite in the trilogy.

The movie is part sequel and part remake, with the first few minutes recreating parts of the first movie (albeit with only 2 characters instead of 5). While the first movie was played as a straight up horror film, Evil Dead II goes for a hybrid of horror and comedy, both often on the extreme!

With the bigger budget, Raimi was able to pump up the horror effects, leading to some genuinely creepy moments (such as items in the cabin seemingly coming to life and laughing maniacally), while also some amazing over the top slapstick (Ash’s possessed right hand attacking him), and copious amounts of fake blood and gore!

Bruce Campbell really gets to let loose with his performance, and honestly does a great job playing someone who’s on the brink of insanity. Then of course the iconic moment he gets his chainsaw hand! The rest of the cast is solid, it’s surprising that Sarah Berry never did much acting before or after this, she has a strong presence and a helluva scream! So yeah, this movie is awesome and you should check it out, especially if you’re into horror.

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