The original Evil Dead Trap was definitely an oddball Japanese horror film if I’d ever seen one. For one thing, it felt a lot more like a CAT-III HK flick than it did a film out of Japan. It had over-the-top death scenes, a low-brow synth score reminiscent of John Carpenter and Italian Giallo, and an ending that came out of left field and slapped me across the face. While it’s not the best film ever, I did find it to be a lot of fun, so I had always been interested in seeking out its sequel. Titled Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki, it’s a completely different beast than the original, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Aki is an introverted, overweight young woman that works nights at a local cinema as a projectionist. Her best friend, named Emi, is a TV idol-turned-news reporter that couldn’t be more of a polar-opposite to Aki. She continually tries to break Aki out of her shell, but the urges fall on deaf ears. It just so happens that while neither of them knows it, they do have on thing in common: the rash of young women being murdered and eviscerated around Tokyo. Emi is finding much success reporting the story, and Aki is the one doing the killing.
One night, Emi introduces Aki to her boyfriend Kurahashi, and while Aki doesn’t give him a second look, he’s strangely intrigued by her; his continued quest to attain her is consistently denied. Outside of the fact that she’s a murderer, he also doesn’t realize that her aversion to men stems from an abortion she had some time in the past. As the murders continue, Aki begins noticing a young boy in the theatre she works in, on news reports about the murders, and elsewhere in her every day life. Upon meeting with a psychic, a name is revealed to her: Hideki. Could he be the ghost of her aborted baby? And if so, then why does he apparently live with Kurahashi?
While I don’t know for certain, the original Evil Dead Trap had to have been a money-maker, as there’s no other reason why Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki has the EDT moniker slapped on it. It bears no resemblance to the first film, and is altogether something unique. Something tells me the idea of a woman going off her rocker after having an abortion didn’t conjure visions of dollar signs in the producers dreams, so they decided to release the film as a sequel to Evil Dead Trap, hoping fans of the first would run out to see it. I can’t help to think that a lot of them had to have been shocked and letdown with what they got, but if you toss out the association made by the films title, it’s actually quite a good film.
With an open mind, you’ll find that EDT2: Hideki is a surrealist nightmare, where reality and fantasy merge to create a narrative derived from pure madness. The film does a great job of making you second-guess what’s actually happening and what isn’t, although it does come at somewhat of a cost. The final act of the film is a shocking contrast to everything that came before. For the better part of the film’s runtime, it comes off as a murder-mystery featuring a woman that is haunted by a past abortion. The film never really leads on just how disturbed she truly is, and when the final portions of the film hit you in the face, it’ll feel like a right jab from Mike Tyson in his prime. Those for a penchant for the bizarre and are willing to accept the turn will get a hell of a kick out of it, but I can easily envision many becoming frustrated with the film once the proverbial shit hits the fan.
EDT2: Hideki owes a lot to the delirious fever-dream insanity of early Dario Argento. The framing, lighting, and atmosphere screams Argento’s name, and the soundtrack, which sounds like it came right off of a Goblin record makes it hard to deny the influence Argento had on director Izô Hashimoto. The original also had flourishes of Argento throughout, but I felt it was much more pronounced here. Hashimoto has also done a very good job at creating a film full of unstable, depraved characters. While Aki may be the focus of the film, Emi is an insecure, broken woman who only keeps Aki around to make herself feel better and gets sexually aroused at murder scenes, while Kurahashi seems to be unable to become emotionally attached to anyone, as evidenced by a scene where he’d rather eat than make love to a woman. These characters help give the entire world the film takes place in an utter feeling of despair and uneasiness.
Having finally seen Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki, I sincerely believe the film gets a bad rap. I fully understand why someone looking for more of what they found in the original would be disappointed, and those looking for a standard horror/thriller would be as well, but I can’t see any adventurous cinephile not being able to find something to appreciate. It’s far from perfect, but its perversely entertaining nature makes it well worth checking out for the venturesome viewer.
Unearthed Films’ release of Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki is a pretty good one for a film such as this. While it would have been great if it was anamorphic, the film is presented in its original 1.66:1 letterboxed aspect ratio and for a film from the video age, it looks really good. There are a couple shots that look quite worn, but those are few and far between, and for the most part the print is clean and clear. A short photo gallery and a trailer round out the disc.
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