Evil Dead II – Blu-ray Review

Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray
Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray
Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray

There are some films which are considered cult classics. And then there are some cult classics that are considered all-time greats. And then there are some all-time greats which are considered the perfect example of their type. Evil Dead 2 (Dead by Dawn) sits comfortably in this final category, and with this fantastic new restored BD edition you can finally enjoy it in all its glory.

The first Evil Dead film was a fantastic piece of low-budget, early-entry film-making by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, but everyone agrees that it was far from perfect. What it did was to spawn a whole new genre of horror cinema (the cabin in the woods) and show that gross-out horror and frat-house humour can sit side by side successfully.

When it came to the second film, the director and star choose to do a kind of re-boot…take what was great about the first film, but apply new film-making techniques and experience. They set out to upgrade, upscale and generally out-do their previous outing. And boy did they manage it?!

Starting with a brief review of the first film (re-filmed since they couldn’t get the rights to use their own movie!) we meet Ash and his girlfriend, enjoying some study-time hanky panky in a cabin in the deep dark woods. Unfortunately, Ash plays a recording of the previous owner (a professor) reading out the incantations from the dreaded Book of the Dead (the Necronomicon). This awakens a dark spirit that dwells in the woods, which possesses Ash’s girlfriend who he is forced to kill by beheading her. Here the new film begins, as Ash is forced to confront the various evil forces lurking within and without the cabin, a mixture of pure body horror and psychological attack. Meanwhile a new foursome are making their way to the cabin, the professor’s daughter and her boyfriend, plus two handy local hicks to show them the secret route through the forest. By the time they have arrived, poor Ash has been put through hell by the evil spirits, forced to cut his own hand off with a chainsaw and is pretty much a raving lunatic. With all five of them holed up in the cabin, it isn’t long before they are being picked off, one by one. There are attacks by forest demons (including the now infamous tree-rape scene), a cellar-dwelling granny deadite and by a possessed Ash. As each one dies (only to become a deadite themselves) Ash must learn from the Necronomicon how to send the spirits back where they came from.

This is a stunning piece of Blu-ray restoration and upscaling. The film has never looked so crisp and clean. Apart from the opening rehash of the first scene, which appears to be purposefully grainy, the rest of the movie is spotless. And in a film with this much spectacle, gross-out blood and gore, psychedelic imagery and OTT horrors, the restoration needed to be superb. The soundtrack has an equally stunning impact, with scenes such as the forest-demon attack and the Ash-goes-mad section having particular audio heft. It is a great session for your surround sound system. All in all, this is THE definitive way to watch Evil Dead II, and you won’t be left wanting.

Evil Dead II Blu Ray Extras

Also on the BD release are some great extras. There is a 1.5hr long making of documentary which is one of the finest examples of BD extras I have ever watched. It is split into sections which you can jump through, and covers every aspect of the film from early days, through production, to post production and the film’s continuing impact. It stars all the main players, with Bruce Campbell leading the way. The only notable name missing is Sam Raimi, which is a shame. Possibly too busy making Oz, or just too far removed from his early films…he is eulogised extensively and features in old footage, but it would have been nice to have even just a few minutes of him from the present day. This is one seriously interesting feature and gives you real value for money. There is a far shorter second feature looking at the original locations of the film. Sounds a bit dull, but it is far from being so. The director locates the original cabin in the woods (it’s still there!) as well as the old school gym where they built the interiors. As a fan it is a very pleasing extra.

Evil Dead II gets a 5/5 from me as a perfect BD package. One of the all-time greatest genre-defining films, restored and upscaled to perfection with a stunning soundtrack and a wallet-pleasing set of extras. If you are a fan, go buy this now. But be warned, watch it late at night and you could end up being “Dead by dawnnnnnn!!!!”

Evil Dead II Special Edition out on Blu-ray

Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray
Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray
Evil Dead 2 Special Edition Blu Ray

Just ahead of the theatrical release of the new EVIL DEAD movie (reviewed here) it is fantastic to see that a special edition of EVIL DEAD II on Blu-ray will be released. From horror master Sam Raimi (err THE EVIL DEAD, and other things like Drag Me To Hell) and starring the effervescent Bruce Campbell (Brisco County Jr), this Blu-ray edition contains great EVIL DEAD 2 special features new to the UK!

After the shocking and notorious cult classic EVIL DEAD impaled its way into the minds of a whole generation by becoming one of the original ‘video nasties’, visionary, maverick director Sam Raimi decided to elaborate on its twisted scenario by creating one of the most visually deranged and psychotically demented horror movies to ever splatter its way across cinema screens. Featuring b-movie legend Bruce Campbell in his most iconic role, as the fantastically unhinged Ash, EVIL DEAD II is a gore-fuelled, splatstick masterpiece.

One of the most notable things about this sequel is the fact it is actually a complete movie in itself. The reprise of the original movies events were filmed especially for this film. This is why many people think of Evil Dead 2 as a remake rather than a sequel (those people are wrong).

Ash, (Bruce Campbell reprising his role from the original EVIL DEAD), takes his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler: Evil Dead 2) to a secluded cabin in the woods where he plays back a professor’s tape recorded recitation of passages from the Book of the Dead. The spell calls up an evil force from the woods that turns Linda into a monstrous Deadite, andthreatens to do the same to Ash. He is forced to single-handedly battle thelegions of the damned as the most lethal – and groovy – hero in horror movie history.

Evil Dead 2 Blu Ray Extras:

  • Commentary with writer/director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero
  • Swallowed souls: The Making of Evil Dead II (new!)
  • Cabin Fever: a fly on the wall behind the scenes (new!)
  • Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location of Evil Dead II (new!)
  • Archival Featurettes: Behind the screams / Making of ED2 / Theatrical Trailer
  • Photo galleries