Ash, the sole survivor of The Evil Dead, returns to the same cabin in the woods and again unleashes the forces of the dead. With his girlfriend possessed by demons and his body parts runnning amok, Ash is forced to single-handedly battle the legions of the damned as the most lethal — and groovy — hero in horror movie history!

Studio: Lionsgate
Year: 1987
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Run time: 85 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Region: A

 

‘Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn’ – is it a sequel? Is it a remake? The argument rages to this day. However, ultimately, who cares? It’s awesome! Well… if you like seeing grown men screaming as they’re repeatedly covered in a variety of different-coloured bodily fluids. Luckily, I do. Whether Part II is a remake or sequel, it basically covers the entire of the first film in the opening ten minutes and then gathers steam from there. It is basically the original ‘cabin-in-the-woods-movie.’ So many times since we’ve seen a group of annoyingly-good looking teenagers head out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, only to meet their end at the hands of something pretty nasty. But, back in Evil Dead/Evil Dead Part II’s day – it was actually quite an original prospect – especially when it’s done as well as this.

Yes, the prospect of people being stuck in a remote location and hunted by someone out of this world isn’t that revolutionary, but it’s the way it’s done here that makes ‘Dead by Dawn’ a classic. Here the hapless humans are hunted by, not just the undead, but the ‘evil’ dead. If you’re unclear of the difference, the evil dead aren’t just your run-of-the-mill zombies, but demons who just look like zombies, but are a hundred times more powerful and are completely insane.

If the gore and general craziness of seeing a man fight his own (possessed) hand isn’t enough for you to get you to watch this, you have Bruce Campbell as the central character, Ash. After this performance the B-movie world had a new cult hero who has gone on to not just star in the sequel, but countless computer games, comics and most recently a TV show. Basically, Ash is a chump – a stupid, sexist idiot who causes more problems than he actually gets round to solving. He is definitely not your average Hollywood hero – and the film is all the better for it.
Movie Content: 10/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 2060p with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. ‘Evil Dead II’ has been released on DVD and Blu-ray so many times, that I can’t even count on both sets of hands the number of releases. Just like my review with ‘Evil Dead’,  Anchor Bay just kept releasing the trilogy in many variations on DVD over the years which got to a point of being ridiculous. For those wondering if they should be upgrading their DVD and Blu-ray set(s), this is probably the best version of the film from a video standpoint by a tad bit. The image still looks dull and murkey all around, but Lionsgate engineers did an excellent job cleaning up the film. When I mean cleaning up, removal of artifacts, white specs, and even some grain which was ultra heavy in the past DVD releases. If you are wondering about the grain, it is still present, but it looks much smoother this time and not a hinderance. There are some scenes which have some passable detail and other scenes where details are just terrible looking with out of focus shots. These deficiencies are understandable as the film was shot on a low budget with not so high end video equipment. Overall, I am very pleased with this transfer and is the best this film has ever looked on home video without losing its original integrity. As for the HDR, that does help quite a bit to improve the colors and brightness of the picture. It helps give this film that needed little pop that it was missing all these years.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio mix is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. I found the audio mix to be pretty good when brought over to DTS-HD MA, even though it is mostly front and center. Whenever there is sound effects you do get some decent sound out of the rears. Lionsgate engineers did a good job in trying to fill most of the soundfield with the special effects even though they were working with a low budget film. Dialogue through the center channel was nice and clean without any issues.
Audio Quality: 8.5/10

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero
  • “Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead 2” Featurette
  • “Cabin Fever – A ‘Fly on the Wall’ Look Behind-the-Scenes of Evil Dead 2” Featurette
  • “Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood” Featurette
  • “Evil Dead 2: Behind-the-Screams” Featurette
  • “The Gore The Merrier” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Galleries

Special Features: 8/10

Final Thoughts

Considered by many, Evil Dead II is the most fan and critically received film in Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy.
Overall Rating: 8/10