Ash, the sole survivor of The Evil Dead, takes his girlfriend Linda to a secluded cabin in the woods where he plays back a professor’t tape recorded recitation of passages from the Book of the Dead. The spell calls up an evil force from the woods that turns Linda into a monstrous Deadite, and threatens to do the same to Ash. He is force to single-handedly battle the legions of the damned.
Fans of the movie will be pleased to see that Studio Canal have managed to port over Lionsgate’s 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray transfer over to the UK which will please the masses of the Region B Evil Dead fans.
The transfer, especially when compared to the original UK release from Anchor Bay, is superb. Presented in 1.85:1 1080p with an AVC encode I’m pleased to say this has never looked better.
Colours are much more noticeable on this brilliant transfer, the dirt on Ash’s shirt for example look more grubbier than it ever did. The few bright visuals that we do get, look very good on screen and the detail is much more crisp than before. We get to see much more defined detail from the caked-on mud on Ash’s face, the beads of sweat on his brow are much more prominent and the possessed faces of the Deadites show so much more detail than before. Blood is deep and dark and stands out much more than I remember it from the DVDs, the reds are fantastic. Watch the infamous ‘cutting off the hand scene’ and you’ll see what I mean. The black levels I found to be just as good if not better than the daylight visuals, adding great depth. When Ash steps into the darkness, it really does heighten your sense of fear, much more than it did before.
If you’re a grain fan then you’ll be pleased to know that the transfer is full of the stuff…… and it looks all the better for it! It keeps the film looking gritty and dirty and doesn’t let the film lose it’s natural look. This is without a doubt the transfer we have been waiting for in the Region B section of the world for the folk who don’t have a multi-region Blu-Ray player.
I did notice some motion blur in the more fast paced scenes, but other than that I really cannot say a bad word for the transfer. I’m a huge fan of the movie and this is the best it has ever looked.
Studio Canal have given us two options. One being a fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and the other being a LPCM 2.0 track, which is not available on the US disc.
The first thing that jumps out straight away is that the dialogue is very much quieter than the rest of film, especially the screams, laughter and shouting from the monstrous counterparts. I don’t think this is a problem with the disc itself as I remember this always being the same from the old Anchor Bay DVD that I used to own.
The surround mix is good if a little underwhelming. Due to the age of the movie and the source track for the film the surround mix was never going to be the best to fill a full 5.1 track. We do get odd tastes of good surround use, especially when we get the swirling vortex but don’t expect a track as good as good as we would expect from a film made more recently. The bass is very punchy and does give your sub a nice little workout, but does sometime overpower the rest of the soundtrack.
The score in the film is a very haunting soundtrack that when you hear it is very typical of this type of horror film that brings you into the movie. The lingering strings are spooky but much like the dialogue is very quiet and subdued, overpowered by the sound effects from the Deadites.
The LPCM 2.0 that seems a nice little exclusive is also very good but I did prefer the mix on the 5.1 track.
Studio Canal have done a great job by porting over all of the extras from Lionsgate’s 25th Anniversary release from the US.
Extras (all presented in HD unless specified)
Audio Commentary (With director Sam Raimi, star Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spigel and make-up artist Greg Nicotero) – This is the same commentary that has been doing the rounds since the Anchor Bay DVD and it’s terrific (as is any commentary featuring Bruce Campbell)
Swallowed Souls – A 98 minute making of documentary!!! This covers everything you ever wanted to know about the film. I won’t go into too much detail as this is a fantastic documentary that needs to be watched
Cabin Fever – A collection of footage shot on set by Gren Nicotero, which shows just how much fun was had whilst shooting the film
Road to Wadeboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood – Does what it says on the tin. Returns back the film location and we see how it’s changed
Behind the Screams – A slide-show of production images, with narration by producer Tom Sullivan.
The Gore the Merrier – The vintage 30 minute look into the makeup effects of the movie.
This is a superb set of extras that is going to please all fans!
I must also have a special mention for the menu screen. Ash’s possessed severed hand appears and urges you to make a selection from the menu screen. Just leave it and wait and see what delights he brings he to help you make up your mind.
Studio Canal are going to please many fans of the Evil Dead series by porting over the US Blu-Ray for us all to enjoy. The transfer is superb for the film, the soundtrack is excellent and the extras are fantastic. This is a great package that is going to be tough to beat.
Being a huge fan of the Evil Dead series, this was an absolute joy to revisit. The film is one of the greatest horror movies made in my opinion, and one I enjoy even more-so than the more serious first movie. Evil Dead 2 has some great black comedy moments where Bruce Campbell really shines as the B-Movie hero that he is. The film has some great scares, some fantastic gore and is one of those horror movies that you will always remember.