Evil Dead Rise Review

Evil Dead Rise is a great new instalment in the franchise that allows everything else that came before to exist, while giving it a new spin.

PLOT: Beth and Ellie, two sisters who have grown apart, are brought back together on a fateful night when Beth stops by to visit her older sister and her kids; Danny, Bridget, and Kassie the youngest.  Things take a turn when budding DJ Danny decides to play some very, very old records they’ve discovered and the mother of all evil is unleashed.

REVIEW: The Evil Dead franchise has been a part of the horror genre for 42 years, even longer if you count the film Within The Woods.  In that time the franchise has focused a lot on Bruce Campbell’s reluctantly heroic final guy Ash Williams.  Even the remake, released ten years ago, managed to include Ash at the very end.  But the times they are a changing and in Evil Dead Rise, Ash Williams is not a part of the story, even though Bruce Campbell is an executive producer and does show up in a fashion (no spoilers here). 

And you know what?  Ash not being a part of the bloody festivities is totally okay as Evil Dead Rise stands on its own with new characters facing a very, very old menace and it does it awesomely.

Written and directed by Lee Cronin, Evil Dead Rise expands the universe of the Evil Dead in a smart way that allows literally all of the iterations to exist.  It’s not a remake, reimagining, or a reboot.  Evil Dead Rise is really a sequel or another chapter in the inked in blood book of the Deadites.  That isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of nods and easter eggs within the film…there a lot.  Which adds to the fun for fans who have been loving these films for as long as we have.  

Evil Dead Rise

Cronin was joined in the endeavor by not just Bruce Campbell but Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert who were also producers on the project.  And you can tell that there was a lot of love for the series from not just the original gang but Cronin and his crew as well.  

Evil Dead Rise moves the action from the woods (for the most part) and heads into an apartment building in the middle of the city.  While you may think this would lessen some of the fear aspect for the demons you have obviously never seen The Shining or Demons 2Evil Dead Rise makes the most of what becomes a very confined feeling space and set.  The look of the film is surreal in some spots, using camera angles and lighting to create a dark and sickly mood.

Evil Dead Rise manages to introduce and give you the history of the main characters fairly quickly and does it well.  But it doesn’t waste a lot of time getting to the nitty gritty and once it starts it doesn’t let up.  The film is a brisk 97 minutes and it GOES.  No one is safe either once mom Ellie is transformed into one of the most disturbing and terrifying female monsters I’ve seen in a while.  Actress Alyssa Sutherland is fantastic in this and she worked with Cronin and his team to create not only parts of Ellie’s look but also her movements.  It’s extremely effective and I feel like a lot of fans are going to love it.

Lily Sullivan is also great as Beth who has to fight what was once her sister but also protect her sisters children from what was once their mom.  It’s as messed up as you think it is and honestly even worse than you can imagine as the night from hell rolls along to an ending that would make every therapist in the world’s head explode.

The Necronomicon (a.k.a. the Book of the Dead) featured in Evil Dead Rise is a different book than seen in previous Evil Dead films.

Honestly everyone does a great job with Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols and Nell Fisher all keeping the tension and terror ratcheted up while trying to stay alive.  Nell Fisher is particularly great as the youngest, Kassie who just makes you want to hug her and keep her away from all the bad things as she witnesses pretty much all of the bad things you could see.

Evil Dead Rise is uniquely a very female horror film.  It has female centric leads with a number of horrific scenarios that include aspects of motherhood and sisterhood in ways that only an Evil Dead film could.   Oh, and lets not forget the MVP of the movie, the cheese grater.  Yes it’s as cringe inducing as you could hope and Lee Cronin should be locked up for thinking of that scene.

Evil Dead Rise was originally supposed to be released as an HBOMax streaming exclusive but due to the test audiences reactions it was moved to a theatrical release and it absolutely deserves it.  This is the type of movie you should watch with an audience of fellow horror fans who will get every in joke and who will scream and applaud at every gory moment right along with you.  

Oh, and it’s the first horror film in say…30 years to give me a nightmare where I woke up yelling for my mom.  And once you see the movie you’ll wonder why the hell I was doing that because you really should be running away from mommy…she’s with the maggots now. Evil Dead Rise hits theaters everywhere April 21st

Evil Dead Rise was reviewed out of the HorrorHound Weekend Convention.

The creature designers at Odd Studio have shared images of the Marauder creature from Evil Dead Rise - which is now on physical media

Evil Dead Rise

AMAZING

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About the Author

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Jessica was raised on a diet of Dark Shadows, Doctor Who, and a lot of things she saw way too young. She’s been writing for nearly a quarter of a century about the world of entertainment and her own fiction (and that sound you heard was her bones turning to dust.) Jessica loves being a JoBro as well as creating content for her site/channel/Podcast Fangirl Magazine/Fangirl Radio. Her favorite things are writing, movies/tv, video games, reading, and trying to summon the ghost of Vincent Price.