“Evil Dead Trap 2″ is a lot like its predecessor in that the final third is very different from the first two thirds. The beginning and middle acts really focus on Aki, an overweight wallflower who is so self-conscious that it’s obvious she’s let people tell her how to feel and act her whole life. It’s a remarkably brave performance by Shoko Nakajima. This portion of the film (minus the disemboweled prostitutes that occasionally pop up) feels a lot like the provocative 2001 French drama “À ma soeur!” (“Fat Girl”). In fact, seeing “Evil Dead Trap 2″ made me wonder if “À ma soeur!” director Catherine Breillat hadn’t seen this film before making her own; the tone is that similar.
Equally important is Aki’s friend named Ami (“Emi” in the version I viewed) who is a television personality who used to be a well-known pop singer and still has the ego and vanity as a holdover from that period of her life. It’s an odd relationship the two of them share; Aki is the complete antitheses of Ami, and is treated almost as her pet.
Then there’s Ami’s boyfriend, a married man who also wants Aki. Before the film’s end, the stories of all three people (and a strange phantom child frequently seen by Aki) will merge in very bizarre ways.
While it is not necessary to see the first “…Trap” film to understand this one, they both share a major character, as evidenced by this film’s complete international title: “Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki.” It’s not a big budget film (although I’d like to see the bill for the oil cans full of fake blood they must have used – this may be the bloodiest film I’ve ever seen), but it isn’t as gritty as the first “…Trap”. That one felt like a 1970’s Italian exploitation flick; this one shares production values closer to 1980’s American slasher films.
It’s not quite as good as the original, but it’s freaky as hell in it’s own right, and worth a look if you’re in the least interested.
Pros: Incredible amounts of blood. One compound fracture that made me cringe. Terrific performance by Shoko Nakajima. A very well done “Xtro” inspired moment.
Cons: There are no likeable characters in this film, which makes the mood incredibly bleak. With the exception of Hideki, it really has nothing to do with the first film (which was chock full of Evil Traps that maEde people Dead), so it will probably be a bit of a letdown for people watching these in order.
Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 looks inside a projection booth, if you’re curious.
“Evil Dead Trap 2” (1991)
Also known as: “Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki”; “Shiryo No Wana 2: Hideki”
102 Minutes; Japan
Not Rated, but easily equivalent to an R for explicit violence, gore, nudity, and sexual content.
Shoko Nakajima (Aki Ootani)
Rie Kondoh (Ami Kageyama)
Directed by: Izô Hashimoto
Viewing Format: Import DVD