EVIL DEAD TRAP 2
Directed by Isou Hashimot
Cast: Shoko Nakajima, Rie Kondoh & Shiro Sano
1991/102 mins/Color/Dolby 2.0 Stereo
1.66:1/Japanese/Japan/NTSC All Region
Review from the Unearthed Films DVD
This may sound odd, but despite the fact that I'm not a fan of EVIL DEAD TRAP, I was still very interested in seeing EVIL DEAD TRAP 2. Why? Because with the unpredictable nature of Asian horror, you never know what you're going to get, so I just had to check out the film.
EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 is a sequel in name only, baring hardly any resemblance to the first film. This story focuses on Aki (Shoko Nakajima), an overweight and shy young woman who works as a projectionist in a movie theater. She is friends with Emi (Rie Kondoh), a former music star who is now a reporter for a local TV station. Emi introduces Aki to her new boyfriend Kurahashi (Shiro Sano), a married man who has a very troubling homelife. As these three get to know one another, a strange romantic triangle forms. Meanwhile, a serial killer is stalking young women, and Emi covers these grisly murders for the news. As the murders escalate, Aki begins to see a strange young boy everywhere she goes. A boy who has black eyes.
Every time I watch a foreign film, there's a feeling that I may not completely understand the story, due to translation issues or cultural differences. When that is combined with a confusing and ambiguous film like EVIL DEAD TRAP 2, things gets really incoherent. Is this a serial killer movie? Is it a ghost story? Is it a drama about relationships? I'm not sure. The film appears to be all of those, and yet none of those at the same time. The movie never centers on one story long enough for the audience to get a complete grip of what's going on. It could be said that the movie has a dreamlike structure, but that would still leave too many questions unanswered. We do learn that each character has a dark and mysterious past, and the origin of the young boy is hinted at, but the movie never quite gives us enough to latch onto. (Having said that, if the movie was truly about what I think it was about, then EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 is truly a missed opportunity that someone else needs to explore.) While EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 does contain some murder scenes, and there is one cringe inducing moment at the end, the film is nowhere near as bloody as EVIL DEAD TRAP. And the scene during the finale which attempts to link the two films simply feels tacked on. The worst thing about the film is that it's boring. Of the 102 minute running time, there's only about 30 minutes where something is actually happening. To the film's credit, the scenes involving the boy are very creepy, but they are too few and far between. Also, there is a certain level of sleaze here that goes beyond the gore and sex, that makes the movie somewhat unnerving. While EVIL DEAD TRAP wasn't a great movie, it was a fun film that had a very clear narrative... up until the end. EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 is a muddled mess that wastes a potentially good scenario in favor of boredom.
EVIL DEAD TRAP 2 comes to DVD from Unearthed Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.66:1, but the transfer is not anamorphic. (For more details on why this transfer isn't enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, visit: http://www.unearthedfilms.com/news.html). The image is sharp and clear, but there is some noticeable grain in some shots. Also, the digital transfer has brought out some of the defects in the source material, such as light scratches and black specs. For the most part, the colors are good, but they look slightly faded in some shots. There are some trace elements of artifacting, but these don't really hurt the picture. The only real problem occurs at the 32:57 mark, where the shot becomes noticeably pixellated and shimmery, as if the master had just changed. This anomaly lasts until 33:21 and then vanishes. The DVD carries the original Japanese Dolby 2.0 stereo audio. This audio provides clear dialogue, which is accompanied by some good stereo effects. The yellow subtitles are clear and easy to read, save for the 1:09:39 mark, where they are suddenly too wide for the screen for one line. The DVD contains the original trailer for EVIL DEAD TRAP 2, letterboxed at 1.66:1, as well as bonus trailers for other Unearthed titles. There is also a Photo Gallery which contains 14 stills. I typically don't comment on the packaging for DVDs, as I'm usually just glad to have the movie, but the front cover for this DVD is particularly questionable, as it appears to be a picture of nothing.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©
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