Evil Dead II: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: November 15 , 2011
- List Price: $14.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
On a day when I also sat down to a viewing of The Human Centipede 2, I think I can be forgiven for thinking how sublimely ridiculously the “horror” in Evil Dead: 2 all seems today. But, this is really what horror is all about. I mean, the genre has always been steeped in the inane and the humorous, going way back to our recently reviewed The Phantom of the Opera from 1925 or the B-movie monster films of the 50′s. Evil Dead 2 manages to mix in all the over-the-top shock and theatrics from those eras with its own era’s blend of slasher bloodiness, making it a true long-lasting cult favorite with good reason.
Bruce Campbell, most recently of Burn Notice fame, stars as Ash, the sole survivor from a flesh-eating spirit attack who’s decided to high tail it to the woods with his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) and holed up in a secluded shack. Ash’s mistake, however, is playing a recording from a professor’s readings from the Book of the Dead, which awakens evil spirits that take over Linda’s body and threaten to claim Ash’s as well. The rest of the night is a gory, campy battle against the undead as the professor’s daughter and her friends arrive to help Ash do battle against the forces of evil that include flying eyeballs, chainsaws and zombies!
Saim Rami’s film is a marvelous blend of gratuitous gore, old school stop-motion special effects, and melodramatic campiness that is just perfect for a lighthearted horror marathon. In comparison to some of today’s humorless horror films, like Saw and Human Centipede, this is a breath of fresh air.
Evil Dead 2 will never look great, but it surprisingly doesn’t look as frighteningly bad as I thought it would! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself there.) The AVC/MPEG-4 transfer does have some areas where it looks a bit soft and a little noisy, but then there are many spots where detail is just so sharp and colors so vibrant, in particular the vermillion that really pops, that I have to give this a pretty high mark. Blacks are pretty deep as well and shadow delineation is good, although it could be a bit better.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack opens things up a lot in this mix with lots of discrete use of the surround channels and some hefty low frequencies in the LFE, but it sounds rather unnatural given the age and original quality of this recording. The mix isn’t as tightly held together as I would like it to sound, so overall balance is a little off. There are also hints of crackle here and there and sound effects tend to sound a bit shrill.
There is a hefty portion of special features offered up here, all diving into the production of Evil Dead 2, and most of them provided in high definition.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- 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 II (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
- Dead by Dawn
- The Chosen Ones
- Dead Effects
- Madman Sam
- Method to Madness
- Cabin Fever – A “Fly on the Wall” Look Behind the Scenes of Evil Dead II (1.33:1; 1080p/24):
- Evil Ed
- Deleted Scenes
- Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:09)
- Evil Dead II: Behind-the-Screams (1.33:1; 480i/60; 00:17:07) – Photo montage narrated.
- The Gore the Merrier (1.33:1; 480i/60; 00:31:51) – The making of Evil Dead II.
- Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
- Still Galleries (1080p):
- Advertising & Memorabilia
- Special Make-up Effects
- Stop Motion Animation
The Definitive Word
A horror cult classic that injects some much needed humor in a genre that has grown to take itself too seriously these days, Evil Dead 2 arrives on Blu-ray with a solid transfer and a good amount of supplements to keep the fans happy and entertained for hours.
Additional Screen Captures