I'm the first to admit that I'm no expert on far-eastern cinema, but having seen and enjoyed the first Evil Dead Trap I was curious to see its sequel. However, it must be said that Evil Dead Trap 2 is pretty much a sequel in name only and bears little resemblance to the first one.
The story centres around three characters, each with their own agenda and hidden motives. There is Aki (Shoko Nakajima), who is a cinema projectionist and also has a penchant for slaughtering young women and removing their ovaries (which provides an excuse for some fairly horrific bloodletting). These murderous impulses apparently stem from the fact that Aki once had an abortion and this is her warped way of seeking vengeance. Next up we're introduced to Emi (Rie Kondoh), Aki's friend who has a married lover, Kurashi (Shiro Sano). Emi is a strange girl who works as a reporter, and whilst reporting on the murders seems to get some kind of sexual kick from seeing the mutilated corpses. Then there's Kurashi, who has something of a dark and enigmatic past and when he impregnates Emi, things take a macabre and sinister turn.
I shan't reveal more of the plot than that, to do so would be to take away the viewing fun of potential viewers. However, as is often the case with Asian cinema, it's all rather fragmented and surreal with nothing being clearly explained. That's not to say that that's a bad thing, in this case it works in the film's favour, creating an atmosphere of dread and horror, always hinting at something we don't fully comprehend. Whether it's a cultural thing or not, I don't know, but many of these Asian films often leave me scratching my head in confusion, and this film is no exception. I sort of got the gist of the plot and understood what was going on to a point, but certain aspects of the story had me more than a little bewildered. Having said that, that's half the fun - if there's one thing you can be sure of going into an Asian film, it's unpredictability. You can also be sure that some of the imagery is going to be extreme and violent, and Evil Dead Trap 2 more than delivers in that department. The finale is literally blood-soaked and provides a rather gruesome payoff, which was a clever little twist, I thought.
It would be unfair to compare this film to the first, as they are both entirely separate entities bearing no likeness to each other. However, given a choice, I preferred the first one, as it had a darker ambience to it than this film. Having said that, Evil Dead Trap 2 was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Unearthed Films have presented the film in 1:66:1, which looks just right. The image quality isn't the very best I've ever seen, but it's still fairly good. The audio provided is a basic Dolby Digital 2.0, but it gets the job done adequately. The subtitles are presented nicely and are easy to read, which makes the film easier to follow. All-in-all Unearthed have done a very nice job with this DVD, and there are no major complaints. It's devoid of any noteworthy extras, but that's a minor gripe.
To summarise, it's an extremely interesting film with some graphic imagery and surrealistic plot turns, but is never dull for a moment. The actors are excellent and really draw you into the story and into their dilemma's - Shoko Nakajima almost has you feeling pity for her character, even though she's a serial killer!
I would highly recommend seeking out this film, and although not quite as good as its predecessor, it's still an excellent film and worth a watch.
Review by C J
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