Dissecting 'Evil Dead' PART 2 (Analysis, References, Easter Eggs) - Evil Dead Week: Day 7

 By: Heather Seebach

**The following article is intended ONLY for people who have already seen Evil Dead. It contains explicit, detailed spoilers**

This is a continuation of part 1: read that first if you haven't already!

Because I know people love their Easter eggs/references, I have highlighted them in bold for easy finding.

The New Rules

I'm going to take a moment to discuss the Deadite "deaths" here. I'm a bit of a deadite Nazi, but I have come to accept this film has laid down new rules. However, I get concerned when it does not follow its OWN rules. Case in point, Olivia is stopped by bludgeoning and then deadite Natalie is stopped by...blood-loss? According to the film's own rules, the possessed can only be stopped by burning, live burial, or dismemberment. However, based on the trailers - where I see a LOT had clearly been cut out - I know there has to be a scene where David chops up his girlfriend Natalie with a chainsaw because this never happened:

So if indeed that scene occurred, who knows what else is missing and could fill in the gaps! An actual Olivia death scene perhaps? The final version is also missing that great scene of Mia singing "We're gonna get you, not another peep..." in the cellar! I was dying to see that!

 Furthermore, television ads for the film showed a quick glimpse of Mia walking down the road in a red dress and boots (seemingly the shot in this poster). This HAS to be after the final scene of the film, but it was never shown! Why?!? Can this really be related to the NC-17 thing? I am dying to see the original director's cut not only for the uncut gore but possibly for these missing scenes. 

 So these inconsistencies with the rules of Evil Dead bug me, but I feel like the movie is not getting an entirely fair shake thanks to censorship. I'll touch on this issue again in the next section.

The Third Act

At this point in the original films, the hero would be by himself fending off the deadites. Instead, Mia is returned to her human form and she becomes the hero - kinda like Ash did in ED2 but her changing back is a lot more complicated here.

After Natalie is gone and Eric is half-dead, David decides he will burn down the cabin, but ultimately opts out when Mia sings their mother's lullaby to him (not unlike Henrietta in ED2). David then decides to go into the cellar and retrieve his sister. Here we get a geektastic Raimi-style workshed montage as David prepares a kit for Mia. When he opens the cellar door, it felt like ED2's "Let's go carve ourselves a witch" moment without the Ash machismo, of course. David brandishes a flashlight, not a chainsaw. Probably a little in-joke there.

After being thrown around like a rag-doll in true Ash-fashion, David is able to subdue deadite Mia with tranquilizer. Eric finally succumbs to his wound, including a new Scotty-esque one in his abdomen. David takes Mia outside to be buried. Lightening strikes a tree at the spot of the grave (very reminiscent of the originals). What follows is probably my least favorite part of the film. Not the burial - that's fantastic, especially Mia tormenting David through a plastic bag. It was suffocating for me just watching her pretend to asphyxiate.

"Mother hates you, you know. And she waits for you in Hell."

Once the burial is complete, though, he digs her back up and successfully revives her using epinephrine-filled syringes and a car battery. It's a bit silly, and it suggests that possession can be "cured" this way. Again, the classic fan in me is screaming, but the reasonable side of me says, Chill, this is a new version, new rules. If this movie followed classic rules, burial wouldn't do shit (just look at Henrietta, she was buried in the fruit cellar). Still, I never imagined this movie's own "live burial" route would mean the person would die instantly and, if revived, is cured. It's that simple?

So as I said, not a fan of that. However, without it, we never would've gotten the awesome final sequence. So David and Mia are about to leave, but zombie deadite Eric shows up and stabs David in the neck. David sends Mia outside and sets the cabin on fire. It begins to rain blood on Mia and a female creature referred to as the "abomination" crawls out of the ground. Some have said it looks like something out of J-horror, but the first thing it reminded me of was the Medeiros girl at the end of [REC]! Of course, the final film again doesn't do it justice because it's so dark. Check out this clip to see how creepy this thing actually is!

Mia hides in the workshed and looks for a weapon. There's a funny little moment when she first goes for a machete, then sees the chainsaw and reconsiders. The film also pokes fun at another horror trope when Mia finds the chainsaw is out of gas. She finds some gasoline in a water bottle (that's a callback!) and we're on! I wanna mention I fucking love the shot when the creature comes through the workshed floor and the camera sort of zooms and quickly pans on Mia's terrified face. It's a gorgeous Raimi-esque (but still unique) moment.

The part when Mia is hiding in the workshed and the machete slices her knee is probably the most I cringed during this movie. I am a tough one to affect, but that - ugh - like a large paper cut. So she gets outside and hides under a jeep with the chainsaw. When the abomination approaches, she chainsaws its legs off. The jeep gets pushed on top of her, though, trapping her hand. Then, in a moment that perhaps tops 127 Hours, Mia is forced to rip her smashed hand from the vehicle - the practical gore here is, wow, awesome. If you were not convinced its practical, see this clip.

Finally,  the creature crawls its way toward the now one-handed final girl groaning "I'll feast on your soul!" And with Evil Dead fans in the audience practically saying it for her, Mia replies, "Feast on this, motherfucker!" and cuts the things' head - then torso - in two with the chainsaw. You can see the great dummy used for this effect in the above clip. It's pretty spectacular and such a satisfying moment for ED fans and horror fans in general.

Speaking of the abomination, though, I want to point out that it was portrayed by a guy named Randal Wilson. Similarly, the deadite version of Henrietta in ED2 was also portrayed by a man (Ted Raimi, in fact). 

I was pretty content with this scene, and I assumed the female creature was the same girl from the prologue and the tree rape scene. However, I recently noticed that Wilson's credit on IMDB is as "Abomination Mia". That was supposed to be Mia? Whaaa? Well, the book prophesied that it would rain blood when 5 souls were taken. Based on this, I originally wondered why Mia's soul counted, since she "came back." Perhaps this is tied in - maybe her soul was not truly returned and the abomination is some kind of "Evil Mia" like Evil Ash?? I'm totally speculating here, though, because all this is so poorly explained. I was okay with it until I saw this abomination Mia business! Now I wonder if that is true and if so, wtf?! That never came across to me at ALL.

I'm not sure how much of that (and other issues) I can blame on a poor script versus MPAA meddling. The film was finished then hit with an NC-17 and forced to cut things down. So I'm sure this must have hurt the film's continuity. 

UPDATE: Yes, after a THIRD viewing, I can see that the deadite girl was Mia all along (even screamed like her in the "rape" scene), and as IMDB says, the demon at the end of Abomination Mia. Watching it again, I could see where it was Levy (shots of its face), specifically the burns.

So here's a recap of moments in the ads but not in the final cut:

- David using a chainsaw on someone

- Mia singing "We're gonna get you..."

- The shot of Mia (in red) stumbling down the road and falling to her knees.

 - Mia saying "Cut it" (as opposed to don't cut it) with this face

- A lantern being splashed with blood ala the original lightbulb (presumably in the workshed chainsaw scene we never get to see)

The End Credits

There's a lot to love about the end credits. Of course, if you hate the film, they're probably your favorite part because it's over. But for the rest of us, there's a sexy montage of blood spatter and great music that reminds me of the Dexter opening credits. It's quite lovely. In the second part of the credits, we hear Knowby's tape recording and see a listing of FAKE SHEMPS! Yayyy! And when the screen goes to black, we see the silhouette of a familiar chin - Bruce turns to the camera and says, "Groovy." Yes, its simple as fuck but still satisfying for the old fans.

Is There Really No CGI?

Alvarez readily admitted that the prologue's fire was CGI for actor safety, but all the gore and creature scenes were achieve with practical FX and sometimes camera tricks and composite FX. I think some people complaining about the film's "computer generated imagery" don't know the difference between CGI and composite shots. The CGI bitching reminds me of the people who thought/still think Alien 3 is riddled with CGI. Yes, those FX look hokey, but it's not CGI, those were puppets, do your damn research, people! Anyway, I'm seeing a similar trend here.

Nobody claimed this movie was made without the help of computers - they promised no CGI gore. And on that they delivered! I have yet to find any evidence to suggest Alvarez was misleading us there. The b-roll footage helps with that, too. Even if there was CGI, isn't the whole reason we hate CGI because it looks fake? So if I can't tell the difference, they've done their job anyway! But I definitely believe the claim.

Miscellaneous Notes/Easter Eggs 

 - There is a moment when David says they should wait until the sun comes up to leave. Eric replies, "We'll be dead by then." (That is to say, dead by dawn). 

- Is this movie a commercial for duct tape or what?

- I think that lullaby Alvarez wrote for Mia is actually quite beautiful. "Baby, little baby, I'll write you every day..." Awww. 

- There is a reference to the original's blender gag when the scene begins with a close-up on Natalie slicing through meat.  

- The timeline is so vague in this that it could be a prequel or a sequel, who knows? The car is there (covered in weeds) and the cabin burns, so maybe it's post-Ash. But did the Book of the Dead come back? Or is this a different book entirely?

- Check out the film's soundtrack, it's pretty great.

- When Olivia, David, and Eric are talking about Mia on the front porch, Eric has a deck of playing cards - a little nod to that famous scene in the original. In fact, Alvarez said there is a moment when the cards are thrown into a corner and the ones facing up are the cards Cheryl named when she got possessed! “Two of Spades! Jack of Diamonds! Jack of Clubs!" He said there is no close-up, but it's there. Personally, I never could find the cards in the corner at all, but I still love Fede for bothering to put that in there. It's something I would totally do, too, if only to amuse myself. 
Final Thoughts

Ultimately, I feel like this movie delivered on what I asked - a practical gore-filled romp. If not for the history and expectations of something called Evil Dead, this film would be more widely loved. It's not ground-breaking and it could never come close to Raimi's films, but it's still a fun new addition to the series. 

This is a movie specifically made by Evil Dead fans for Evil Dead fans. But it seems to be pleasing a lot of mainstream audiences as well, which is great! Horror needs more love, especially passion-driven horror like this! This is the kind of horror movie that sorta reaches across the aisle by wooing general audiences without simultaneously insulting the intelligence of dedicated genre fans. Obviously, it's not perfect, but it's a good time at the cinema if you dig blood and viscera. 

I added a part 3 after I saw the film a third time. It has even MORE analysis, Easter eggs, etc. You can find that here.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Evil Dead Week Articles!

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