The Evil Dead franchise remains a cult classic of the horror genre with its influences still being seen to this day. A remake of the first film was attempted in 2013, and while it was moderately successful it didn’t exactly reignite the franchise. Evil Dead Rise is another attempt at reanimation, this time in favor of its own original story rather than a direct remake. The film still fits right in with its predecessors. Fans of the franchise will enjoy the return of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and deadites as they terrorize a new and unexpecting family. Buckets of blood seep into every crevice. Evil Dead Rise is horror in its most basic and raw form and will send shivers down your spine. The franchise is alive and well again.
Music engineer Beth (Lily Sullivan) learns that she is pregnant and visits her sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) for comfort and advise. Ellie has her hands full however, raising three kids alone in a small and rundown apartment. After a sudden earthquake opens a big hole in the foundation in the parking garage, her son Danny (Morgan Davies) goes exploring and discovers a mysterious and creepy book hidden away among the rubble. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he accidentally unleashes a demonic entity that attaches itself to Ellie. With her sister now possessed, it’s up to Beth to protect the family and save them from this hellish nightmare.
Evil Dead Rise is not for the squeamish. It’s been revealed that director Lee Cronin used 1,700 gallons of fake blood in the making of the film, and I believe it. Blood and other bodily fluids flow freely throughout its brisk 97 minute runtime. It’s gory but never to the point of being gratuitous. Although it definitely tiptoes that line. What makes it so effective is the practicality of it all. From the massive amounts of blood to the prosthetics, everything fits perfectly together like a horrific puzzle. The deadites look and feel real, immersing you in this terrifying world. The sound design is phenomenal as well. In one memorable scene, one of the possessed characters is eating a wineglass. It starts with her back turned to the camera and all you hear is the crunch of the glass in her mouth. As she turns, you see the red-stained glass in her hand as shards and blood drip down her mouth. The final coup de grâce is seeing the glass pierce through her neck as she swallows. It’s the small details, like seeing the skin stretch before finally breaking, that make the film so effective. Evil Dead Rise isn’t as scary as it is shocking.
To be honest I was never really all that scared or tense throughout Evil Dead Rise. That’s not a bad thing. I still cringe at the thought of having a cheese grater rip the flesh from my leg or vomiting up maggots and bile. The horror film hits you in a visceral manner that lingers long after the credits have stopped rolling. It attaches itself inside your brain like a possessed demon. The visuals, sounds, and performances all contribute to why the film is so successful in that regard. For fans of the franchise, there are also plenty of references and little easter eggs that make it an Evil Dead film and not just some horror copy cat. Cronin takes what Sam Raimi created and does his own thing with it while still honoring the source material. There’s a scene early on in which Ellie becomes entangled by elevator cables as the demon tries to gain control of her that is reminiscent of the controversial tree scene from the original The Evil Dead. It doesn’t take things too far, but you can see its origins and how its evolved. It offers an enticing horror film for fans of the franchise and newcomers alike.
Evil Dead Rise is a return to form for the franchise. It’s bloody, gruesome, and with just a touch of slapstick humor for good measure. It’s been nearly a decade since the last film in the series, but it’s been worth the wait. Fueled by top notch bloody visuals and spine-tingling sound design, Evil Dead Rise rises to the occasion. It might not scare your pants off, but it will definitely have you thinking twice about reading from any skin-wrapped books locked by teeth in the future.
Evil Dead Rise is horror in its most basic and raw form and will send shivers down your spine. The franchise is alive and well again.