Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki (Shiryô no wana 2: Hideki) (1992)Beware of the "box" cutter.
The movie is very much a victim of style over substance and is difficult to decipher even after the end credits have rolled, even the numerous trailers released promoting the film seem unsure how to describe the events. Is it a serial killer, a killer baby or simply demonic possession? Evil Dead Trap 2 looks and feels beautiful and Hashimoto takes a number of chances that many other directors would stray away from. Multiple scenes are filmed with the picturesque urban backdrop being the main focus as the storyline happens around the edges. Shôko Nakajima is a non-traditional choice for a leading lady but she adds to the sentiment of the film in the contexts being created. There is also an underlying social commentary aspect blaming the depravity of society for creating sick people in a sick world obsessed with death yet flippant to it's effects. Some people pull themselves together, like sexually-frustrated conjoined males probably have to, whereas others resort to murder.
The character development is very female driven and, rather than weak females often portrayed within this culture of films, the villains flutter their Japanese eyelids to get what they want before slicing each other with box cutters and projectionist scissors to eliminate competition. The driving force for the violence, albeit subtle initially, revolves around sex and babies. There are a few sexually tense yet cryptic happenings and a number of symbolic references to lady baby chutes. Some of the symbolism is more subtle than the fact the serial killer steals ovaries and leaves intestines hanging between the legs of victims, but it is often apparent. Maybe even the choice of box cutter as a weapon is a pun.
The story is quite confusing and, despite being laid out quite chronologically, it manages to jump all over the place, often losing focus and often interrupted by bouts of the bizarre or peculiar character interactions. The Hideki connection seems like an afterthought and is tucked in around the edges of the rest of the film as if this was a deliberate attempt to get a film released off of the back of an already established horror. Occasionally the story jumps back into the realm of more traditional horror, more reminiscent of Italian rather than Asian, but these scenes tend to be to drive the Hideki aspect while avoiding explicitly explaining his involvement other than he was an evil baby.
Despite the inconsistencies, Evil Dead Trap 2 manages to remain engaging throughout, almost hypnotising. It provides some quite tense scenes amplified by beautiful splatter and brutal deaths. The violence is ramped up considerably towards the end and at the same time the story becomes even more disjointed and dreamlike. This works well as by now the interest is firmly on the aesthetics rather than the plot so the savagery can acceptably be a bit more creative without detracting from the overall ideas already established. A few victims are found still twitching as their life slowly drains from the place that their ovaries once were, extending the torment for the audience. Other gore bouts can be quite quick and vicious, the bone revealing arm snap springs to mind followed by removal of the now expendable limb by it's owner. The gore scenes can be quite horrific but are always executed within an artistic setting that complements the crimson violence.
As a sequel, Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki is quite unexpected. The original jumped between genres but this film takes the disorientation quite a few steps further and the focus is quite different. As a film unconnected to its namesake and an artistic piece more accessible than most arthouse pieces, this is very impressive and a welcome change.