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Rated R · 85 minutes
Sam Raimi's 1987 sequel to his furiously kinetic 1983 horror, with resurrected demons battling the usual assortment of human incompetents. The effects are just as delirious this time around, but the nightmare poetry has vanished, along with the sense of archetypal purpose and narrative inevitability that held the jack-in-the-box original together. Everything's so show-offy and literal that nothing really matters beyond the self-conscious display of technique: it's like a chopping-block adaptation of Edison's old Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, without the excuse of primitive experiment to justify the arbitrary flailing about. The pop-up humor and smirkiness suggest Raimi's aspiring to the fashionable company of the brothers Coen, though on the basis of this strained effort I'd say he's overshot the mark. With Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, and Kassie Wesley.

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