I appreciate this film. I appreciate the circumstances in which it was made. Ultra-low budget controversial critical successes by upstart young punks are always fun. I like the demon forest tracking shot. I like several scenes in the film. That possessed pencil stabbing part makes the world a better place. However, the prevailing mood of the film keeps me from liking it as a whole.
It’s obvious that Sam Raimi wanted this film to cause a stir. This desire is understandable. First film, big break, young people, whatever. However, Raimi’s eagerness to shock often steers his film into unpleasant territory. There were several moments in The Evil Dead that caused me to make this face, and by the last act, I found myself wishing that the film would end already. A bit mean-spirited, is what I’m saying. So I appreciate it, but I don't really like it. And yes, I am fully aware that, at the ripe old age of 20, I sound like your stick-in-the-mud sunday school teacher when I say that. Get off my lawn.
Anyway, I have revisited this this film more recently to see if my view has changed. It hasn't. I still really like this movie. It's a slicker and more even product than #1. This is partly because of the increased budget, but it's also because I think Raimi made some tonal adjustments that better suit the subject matter. Where as The Evil Dead wants to disturb you and make you uncomfortable, Evil Dead II wants to make you laugh. It goes so ludicrously and knowingly over the top that it doesn't come across as mean-spirited. Possessed hands and their subsequent chainsaw replacements. Harryhousen-esque ballet dancing headless corpses. Laughing furniture. So on. It just works. And it's scary. This film is also full of some awesome cinematic showing off, which is always fun.
In conclusion, this shot.