Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)



Critic Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This high-octane semi-sequel to Sam Raimi's cult hit The Evil Dead has nearly eclipsed its predecessor's reputation thanks to an endless barrage of hyperkinetic camera acrobatics, rapid-fire editing and "splatstick" gore effects ... not to mention a truly goofy performance by Bruce Campbell. Nearly the entire storyline of the previous film has been re-shot and presented in a drastically condensed form within the first few minutes: rock-jawed but clueless "hero" Ash (Campbell) now visits the mountain cabin only with girlfriend Linda (played here by Denise Bixler). Upon arrival at the cabin, Ash discovers the Sumerian Book of the Dead, the ritual dagger and a reel-to-reel tape containing the professor's translations of the book's hieroglyphics. The incantations summon an unseen, growling spirit from within the woods, which bursts into the cabin and takes possession of Linda's soul. Ash is forced to decapitate her with a shovel, after which he buries her in the forest. At first dawn, Ash tries to make his escape, but is promptly set upon by the spirits, given a solid thrashing and nearly possessed himself, saved only by the arrival of sunlight. Cut off from the outside world, Ash is forced to hole up in the cabin and wait for the next demonic onslaught -- which arrives sooner than expected, led by Linda's rotting corpse. After being bitten by Linda's chatty decapitated head, Ash's hand becomes independent of his body and begins pummeling him repeatedly. The story then jumps to a local airport, where the professor's daughter Annie (Sarah Berry) and her partner Ed Getley (Richard Domeier) have just arrived with the missing pages to the Necronomicon. They employ a cranky pair of local rednecks, Jake (Dan Hicks) and Bobbie Joe (Kassie Wesley), as guides to lead them through the dense woods to the cabin ... where, at that very moment, Ash is removing his belligerent hand with a chainsaw, creating yet another ambulatory foe. Driven to the brink of insanity, Ash fires blindly at a noise outside, unaware that the new arrivals are Annie and company. Bobbie Joe is injured by the gunshot, which incurs the wrath of Jake, who knocks Ash senseless and locks him in the fruit cellar. Believing her father was murdered by Ash, Annie plays the rest of the professor's recording to learn the truth, and discovers her possessed mother was buried in the same cellar -- and not exactly resting in peace. This touches off a string of unbelievably gruesome (and hysterically funny) events, including Henrietta's transformation into a stop-motion creature (reminiscent of a Ray Harryhausen creation), Ed's sudden metamorphosis into a toothy, levitating ghoul, and Ash's climactic confrontation with the forest demon itself. The obvious glee with which Raimi and company present this cavalcade of slime-drenched monstrosities and Three Stooges pratfalls makes it impossible to take seriously as a horror film, but Evil Dead 2 is nevertheless essential viewing among connoisseurs of truly demented cinema. The film's sardonic coda opened the way for a slightly less successful sequel, Army of Darkness.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 4, 1998
Rosebud Communications Releasing


Bruce Campbell
as Ash, Ashley J. Will...
Sarah Berry
as Annie Knowby
Ted Raimi
as Possessed Henrietta
John Peaks
as Prof. Raymond Knowby
Lou Hancock
as Henrietta
Snowy Winters
as Dancer (Dance sequen...
Josh Becker
as Fake Shemp
Scott Spiegel
as Fake Shemp
Sam Raimi
as Knight
Kassie Wesley
as Bobby Joe
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

Critic Reviews for Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (10)

Just when things start getting too grisly, Raimi rushes in with a hilarious, sendup joke to remind us that all this blood and guts is meant in spooky Grand Guignol fun.

Full Review… | October 1, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Evil Dead 2 is, pardon the expression, consistently lively -- a ghoulish splatter comedy that uses wildly excessive gore to provoke the kind of shock that lies between a laugh and a scream.

Full Review… | October 1, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Evil Dead 2's rampant inventiveness and manic energy have ensured that it will endure as a cult classic.

Full Review… | October 1, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Good acting would not have served the material well, since it would have diluted the comedy quotient and made the campy elements seem cheap and cheesy.

Full Review… | September 21, 2007
Top Critic

A flashy good-natured display of special effects and scare tactics so extreme they can only be taken for laughs.

Full Review… | September 21, 2007
Top Critic

The pop-up humor and smirkiness suggest Raimi's aspiring to the fashionable company of the brothers Coen, though on the basis of this strained effort I'd say he's overshot the mark.

Full Review… | September 21, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn


Pretty amazing how universally loved this film seems to be. Upon further inspection from today's point of view it's way too silly to be scary and way too gory to be taken seriously. Of course that's all intentionally so. Still, the film did not age well. It still works as a set-up for the awesome third part, but if you really measure this for coherence, character development or dialogs, there is nothing rewarding here. Instead of get a lot of plastic demons and fake blood. Entertaining, but stupid.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Not really a sequel but more of a different remake of the first one, yet with superior special effects and camera movements - and it is much funnier, especially with more bizarre physical humor that includes a squealing possessed hand and a hysterical Bruce Campbell.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn Quotes

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