“Return of the Evil Dead” – Chris Luedtke

Ah, the second installment of the Blind Dead quadrilogy. I must admit, I have myself slightly excited about this series, which I think is good when it comes to sequels. For most films, I don’t like hearing about sequels, but with the horror genre, it’s almost expected, and why not? It’s always fun watching people get slaughtered left and right systematically by a hockey-masked woods dweller. Okay, this isn’t Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any better or worse than any of its sequels. Rather, I would have to say that Return of the Evil Dead has done everything right and even upped the ante on its predecessor.

Return of the Evil Dead finds itself in a rural Portuguese village during the annual celebration of the defeat of the infamous Templar Knights. After 500 years, their reign of terror has not been forgotten. But do the Templar Knights ever have a surprise for the village…Yes, that’s right, the Templars are back for vengeance on the village. They aren’t able to see, but they are able to kill their victims through the sounds of their screams and footsteps. As the Templars pick off the villagers one by one, a small group takes refuge in the cathedral and makes a last stand against the undead knights.

Does the plot sound familiar? If not, then you obviously haven’t seen George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. A small group in the village become trapped in the cathedral and fight for survival against the Templar Knights. But can they get along even for a little while, just to stay alive? I’d put 10 to 1 odds against them that they can’t. The building of tension isn’t as good as it could have been. There are a couple of disputes that really put some bitterness into character relationships, but overall, there is less focus on that and more on what the next move the Templars are going to make.

Those who are fans of the last Blind Dead film but wished for a little more are going to get exactly that. There is way more of the Templar Knights here, and this one is much bloodier than the last one (which wasn’t a hard task to accomplish). The Templar Knights basically tra-la-la-la-la their way into town and run the party the way they see fit; that’s a nice way to get things going. Before this, however, the film doesn’t go anywhere. Instead, it sits around and messes with the history of the last one, which is a damn shame, because I liked the Templar Knights story in the first one more (the way the Templars were killed was so much more gruesome). It tries to set up some hatred between characters, and then the slaughtering begins. Still, this isn’t a huge setback.

No one character in here is going to make a lasting impression on you. There are the bastard villains versus the hero and heroine versus the Templar Knights. The film wants to set itself up to be a three-way death fest, but it ends up having a larger focus on the Templar Knight crisis, while once in awhile spouting out some “A doesn’t like B because of C” bullshit. Again, it helps, but when it comes down to survival, it’s only there to lessen the dullness of the more boring parts.

If you liked the first of the Blind Dead series, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t like this one. It’s got almost everything the first one does, minus the consumption of people. For some odd reason, the Templar Knights don’t eat anyone in here. I don’t really know why. Instead, their swords are used. Eh, I guess that’s not bad. Not as bad as the ending anyway. Yeah, the ending is pretty much a copout here. But try to look past that and at the finer aspects of the film. Just stop it before it stops itself, because once you reach that ending, you’re liable to throw a

Rating: ★★★☆

-Chris Luedkte

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