Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2 is not only an insanely comedic counterpart to its more serious (and tree-rapey) predecessor, but it's a great sequel that keeps what terrified audiences six years beforehand and expands on ideas related to the Necronomicon, a book that, when read aloud, summons the undead. Here, the undead is actually a sole entity with no real flesh until the climax of the movie. The less we talk about that flesh form, the better. It is far more intimidating as this formless being we sometimes see from its own perspective, as it knocks downs trees and doors to reach its target. There's a musical chant that accompanies the being, ascending demonically as it gets closer. When it reaches a target, it torments and swallows the soul of the body, then occupies the body, becoming a zombie. The zombies themselves look like those of Dawn of the Dead, but the Evil Dead franchise is where top-speed zombies are introduced. There are jump scares and there is blood. Blood does not bleed out of bodies. It blows out like an oil well. The first time it happens -- when the hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) shoots his possessed, severed hand -- is timed so well that, despite how sick the red and black blood looks, I laugh.
The undead can possess inanimate objects too. For the first half hour, Ash is all alone in the cabin, aware of the danger that's waiting to consume him. The undead controls the piano so it plays by itself, a mirror so that Ash can rival his own reflection, and a deer head to taunt Ash when his chair collapses. Ash sometimes wakes up to "discover" he was only dreaming. Instead of determining whether his sanity is shattering or the undead is just toying with his mind, I laugh along with the antics. That deer head scene is flat-out slapstick. First, the deer head cackles at Ash, then a lamp, clock, bookcase, every object in the room. Then Ash laughs with the undead, and entertains it some more. For more evidence of slapstick, again, Ash fought his possessed, severed hand, with violence straight out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Once other people enter the scene, the film drags for a little while. I don't expect anyone except my hero to live. That's okay, because before the climax, Ash becomes a classic action star by attaching a chainsaw to his handless arm and exclaims some catchphrases. And when a portal is summoned to send the undead to another dimension, the film ends on a science-fiction/fantasy twist you would see in a Twilight Zone episode. I have loved this film for so long that the cons don't mean a thing to me. The fast-paced cinematography, claustrophobic setting, and psychotically silly violence are all I need for comedy-horror.