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Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki
cast: Akiko Nakajima, Rie Kondo, and Shiro Sano

director: Izo Hashimoto

97 minutes (18) 2002 widescreen ratio 16:9
Eastern Cult Cinema DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by James Starkey
Given the success of the original film amongst horror enthusiasts and genre followers alike, Izo Hashimoto must have realised what a hard act he had to follow. To claim that the director had his work cut out would be far from an understatement. In the end however, it is not so much Hashimoto at fault but the truly mystifying plot - a plot that simply refuses to stand up to even multiple viewings.
   Aki Otani is a cinema projectionist who is haunted by visions of a strange and deformed child. She is also shunned by most around her given her shy and reclusive nature. What is rather surprising is Aki's penchant for stalking and horrifically murdering the prostitutes who ply their trade outside her place of work. One assumes that it is the influence of the ghostly child that leads her to indulge in such madness. As with the original in the movie, Hashimoto attempts to give the violence a cold and meaningless edge. Very little clue is given to the motive for the brutal attacks - the only similarity between them that the victims have their sexual organs removed. It would appear possible that the visions Aki is experiencing are that of her unborn child who perished at birth, and that she now wishes to punish those she sees as undeserving of what she never had.
   All of this is of course speculation as the fog that hangs over the movie is so thick as to leave the viewer scratching their heads right to the very end. Hashimoto introduces another rather bizarre character to the plot in the form of newsreader Eimi Kageyama. This individual associates herself with Aki but seeks to ridicule her in front of others for her withdrawn nature. Kageyama unwittingly, also heads the newscasts that frequently cover the brutal murders committed by her reclusive friend Aki. The relationship between the two is curious indeed, as is the behaviour of Kageyama's casual boyfriend Kurahashi. Although he is involved with the news presenter, he constantly makes passes at the vulnerable Aki who tries to spurn his salacious advances.
   In all honesty, it is difficult to comment on the body of the film, as there appears little interlude before another vicious and graphic murder. The violence contains none of the context or framework that the original Evil Dead Trap contained. Instead there is simply wave upon wave of murder sequences that are held together very loosely by the presence of the phantom child and its influence over Aki. Even Hashimoto's attempt to clarify the plight of his main character by having her visit a spiritual cult, fails. Little is truly revealed apart from the fact that something thoroughly unpleasant is stalking Aki's soul.
   In the tradition of Evil Dead Trap, this sequel contains one of the most mindless and idiotic endings ever to appear on screen. However, in this first outing (that had an equally awful conclusion) there was a sense of extreme disappointment at the end given the brilliant 90-or-so minutes that had gone before. With Hashimoto's effort there is no such lack of fulfilment. On the contrary, the ending to Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki is simply a rehash of the movie as a whole. A relative feast of ill-conceived set pieces ring-fenced by unceasing violence that more tires than compels. Somewhere in the background to this mess is Hashimoto - a director with undoubted ability lumbered with an unworkable project. By the movie's conclusion it's almost as if the actors are directing themselves and the man behind the camera has faded into a cloud of obscurity. This was unfortunately always going to be the case when one attempts to create a sequel to one of Japan's all-time greatest horror films.
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