Some may label it a remake, some may label it a sequel. Either way, Sam Raimi’s 1987 Evil Dead 2 is the latest effort to get a 4K release in the UK. For a movie that many may already have on VHS, DVD and/or Blu-ray, though, the big question here is whether the 4K do-over is worth your pennies.
To touch briefly on the plot of this follow-up, Bruce Campbell is back for his second official outing as Ashley J. Williams. With the movie opening with a short, reimagined regaling of Raimi’s original Evil Dead, Ash and we, the watching audience, are almost immediately thrown back in to the manic world of Deadites and dismemberment. The certain tweaks imposed here to The Evil Dead means that the Necronomicon is still around and waiting to be unleashed here, plus it’s simply Ash and his gal Linda (Denise Bixler replacing Besty Baker) who end up taking a trip out to the woods this time out. Before you can even begin to murmur a hopeful “Groovy,” things turn to shit and Ash is again having to get his hands dirty.
Of course, you’re likely well aware of all of that and how it pans out – after all, this is a movie that is now over 30 years old – so you’re probably here to see what the craic is with this new 4K release and just whether it’s a must-have purchase.
Where the 4K treatment itself is concerned, Evil Dead 2 has never looked more brilliantly bonkers. The vibrant gore is enhanced, the atmosphere of the eerie, misty locale added to wonderfully, and the element that benefits the most from this Ultra HD transfer is the practical SFX work on display in the film; the 4K helping us to get an even clearer look at some of the cheese-tastic practical special effects work at play.
At times, giving a crystal-clear sheen to an old favourite from decades prior can leave a movie looking exposed, flawed and will showcase just how poorly made said film was. Here, the 4K transfer only serves to make you appreciate the work of the SFX crew headed up by a certain Greg Nicotero. Of course, said practical work is all delivered with a nod and a wink, as Raimi goes to town with a slew of visual gags in the tone of the Three Stooges, whilst the iconic work of Ray Harryhausen is also another clear referencing point for Evil Dead 2.
Depending on what market you scour for your purchases, you may have seen a 4K region free Evil Dead 2 release floating around last year. Now, though, there’s a straight-up Region 2 UK release for the 4K transfer of the picture. For the special features of this release, again some of you may have encountered this bonus material elsewhere over the years. Still, that doesn’t stop these extras being a whole load of fun; the standouts being the chat track from Raimi, Campbell, Nicotero and producer Scott Spiegel, and the almost-new Bloody and Groovy, Baby! featurette that includes contributions from heavy hitters such as Guillermo del Toro and Edgar Wright.
All in all, Evil Dead 2 takes all of the scares, gore, humour and insanity of 1981’s The Evil Dead and amps it all up to 11. To this day, the sequel still stands as an utter triumph and Sam Raimi’s greatest work. For those looking to add some groovy gore and soul-swallowing shenanigans to their 4K collection, Evil Dead 2 is a must-have addition.
Special Features: Audio commentary / Bloody and Groovy, Baby! tribute featurette / Cabin Fever: A Fly on the Wall featurette / Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location featurette / The Gore the Merrier: Making of Evil Dead 2 / Interview with Bruce Campbell / Trailer
EVIL DEAD 2 – 4K / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SAM RAIMI / SCREENPLAY: SAM RAIMI, SCOTT SPIEGEL / STARRING: BRUCE CAMPBELL, SARAH BERRY, DAN HICKS, KASSIE WESLEY DePAIVA, DENISE BIXLER, TED RAIMI / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 4TH