Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

evil dead 2 dead by dawn poster 1987 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Bruce Campbell makes this movie, interesting visuals

Some bad acting, typical story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn

Studio: Renaissance Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s): March 13, 1987

MPAA Rating: R

evil dead 2 dead by dawn possessed ash bruce campbell

When I planned a romantic weekend, this wasn’t what I hoped for

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) has planned a romantic weekend with his girlfriend Linda (Denis Bixler) in an isolated cabin, but when they discover the Necronomicon:  The Book of the Dead, an evil is unleashed.  Now, Ash has barely survived the night but the arrival of the daughter of the cabin’s owner Annie Knowby (Sarah Berry), her partner Ed Getley (Richard Domeier), and two locals Bobby Joe (Kassie Wesley) and Jake (Dan Hicks) mean Ash might be in store for another night…and the evil is getting stronger!

Directed by Sam Raimi, Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn (often just called Evil Dead II) is a horror-comedy.  Following The Evil Dead in 1981, the film was released to positive reviews (barely dodging an X-Rating) and quickly gained a cult following.

evil dead 2 dead by dawn deadite

Toothbrush…what’s a toothbrush?!?!

I didn’t really land on The Evil Dead series until the bigger release of Army of Darkness.  The first film The Evil Dead had a lot of comedy but was more horror based.  Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn was a soft remake of The Evil Dead (for the first twenty minutes or so) and started a trend of the Evil Dead movies not quite matching up with the endings of previous film.  Either way, each film offers something different and fun.

The Evil Dead was rather relentless, but Evil Dead 2 amped up the comedy.  The story is a classic battle against evil, but it is pushed to the extreme.  The demons begin possessing everyone, and Ash teeters on the brink of sanity as he tries to fight it.  In many ways (like the previous film), the plot seems almost incidental.  It is all about the ride.

Despite having the rest of the cast join Bruce Campbell after a rough night of demon fighting and dismemberment, the movie is really a solo movie with Campbell as the star.  It is full of catch phrases for Campbell and Campbell demonstrates a great comedic timing that was missing from the first entry.  The rest of the cast is rather bland (as humans), but they do have fun once they are possessed.

evil dead 2 dead by dawn chainsaw hand ash bruce campbell

Get your chainsaw oil…things are about to get groovy

The movie is bloody and crazy.  Raimi is known for creative shots and taking low-budgets and turning them into something special.  The Evil Dead is honorable because Raimi had really no budget.  Evil Dead 2 shows what Raimi can do with a slightly bigger budget.  Raimi doesn’t radically change his shooting style and still utilizes things like stop motion with other practical effects.

Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn is a trip.  My friends and I watched it over and over again.  We knew all the lines, all the jumps, and all the beats, but we still would watch it again…practically rewinding the VHS and starting it again.  The Evil Dead 2 ends on a bit of cliffhanger with Ash trapped in the past and facing Deadites in medieval times, but the start of the sequel Army of Darkness tells another story (the film might or might not also segue into the Ash vs Evil Dead series on Starz which skipped Army of Darkness in its set-up.  Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn is followed by Army of Darkness in 1992.

Related Links:

The Evil Dead (1981)

Army of Darkness (1992)

Evil Dead (2013)

Ash vs Evil Dead—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Ash vs Evil Dead—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Ash vs Evil Dead—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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