With "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" (citywide), young Detroit film maker Sam Raimi takes us back to that accursed cabin in the Michigan woods for more gore--and more laughs.
"Dead by Dawn" isn't so much a sequel as an elaborate replay of the original; happily, Raimi and co-writer Scott Spiegel's unflagging inventiveness and humor keep us from feeling we've seen it all before--even when we know we have.
Raimi is such a whiz at hurtling objects, you have to believe that the inevitable third installment is going to be in 3-D. Mysterious gusts of wind knock people around with tornado force. Trees uproot and take flight in lethal trajectories. But then trees can also choke, just as vines can strangle.
"Dead by Dawn" is also at times a kind of ballet of dismemberment. A possessed hand, hacked off in desperation, continues with a lethal, creepy life of its own. A rotting female corpse pirouettes elegantly, even though its severed head only occasionally stays on its shoulders. There are images of satanic grace that actually recall Bosch, thanks to the darkly mischievous power of Raimi's bizarre imagination (and a truly sensational design-and-special-effects team to give it full rein).