Evil Dead 2: Special Edition review

Sam Raimi's Deadites are back on Blu-ray and look better than ever

Forget mega-budget blockbusters like Spider-Man and Oz: The Great and Powerful – for most knowledgeable film fanatics Sam Raimi will always be remembered as the man who gave us the Evil Dead trilogy.

Evil Dead 2 marks a notable turning point in Raimi's style as he steps away from the outright terror of the original and moves towards a mix of latex monsters and slapstick comedy – 'splatstick', if you will. It shouldn't work, but thanks to Raimi's direction and Bruce Campbell's central performance, it does. Brilliantly.

Picture: Visually, the 2008 UK Blu-ray release of Evil Dead 2 left rather a lot to be desired. We presume that the folks responsible had the misguided notion that it would be better to smooth out the grainy footage with a heavy dose of DNR. As usual, this had the side effect of virtually eliminating all fine detail and giving the material an oddly posterised look.

As such, this new Blu-ray release is a welcome treat for fans. Utilising the same AVC 1.85:1 1080p encode created for Lionsgate's 25th Anniversary US hi-def release, Evil Dead 2 finally looks like an actual film again rather than some weird CG abomination.

Native grain runs rampant through the entire movie (particularly in the many optical effects – which also mark a natural loss in clarity) and there's a massive amount of detail evident in every close up of Campbell's panicked face (see below for a comparison between this Special Edition and the original 2008 BD). Colour reproduction is also improved, capturing the vivid multi-colour hues of the film's cartoonish gore.
Picture rating: 4/5

2013 Special Edition Blu-ray...

2008 Blu-ray...

Audio: Despite the obvious limitations of the source material, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix does a reasonable job of living up to the film's acoustic aspirations. Surround use isn't quite as convincing as you might hope for, but there are more than enough scenes that take the film's manic sound design on a trip all around your speaker set-up.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: No matter how many times these films are re-released they always seem to arrive with new extras and this Special Edition is no exception. Alongside previously-released material such as the hilarious commentary, The Gore the Merrier doc, Behind the Screams slideshow and trailer, it also boasts a wonderful new 98-minute documentary, five additional behind-the-scenes vignettes, four stills galleries and a contemporary visit to the shooting locations.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: There's only one word that can accurately sum up this new hi-def outing for Evil Dead 2 – groovy!

StudioCanal, Region B BD, £23 Approx, On sale April 15