Evil Dead Rise is a gore-soaked joyride for fans of the franchise

by Gordon Shelly

Evil Dead Rise continues the saga of one of the craziest and goriest film franchises over the last fifty years. It is directed by by Lee Cronin and produced by Sam Raimi, the creator of the original Evil Dead trilogy. The film is a continuation of the franchise, but with a new set of characters and storyline.

The original Evil Dead film was more straight horror with some comedic elements and moments of pure terror. The next movie, Evil Dead II, really kicked off the horror-comedy sub genre and Army of Darkness was barely horror at all, really more reminiscent of the comedy/horror crossovers of Abbott and Costello than either of the prior movies.

Stylistically, Cronin takes ownership of the franchise, more closely resembling the (very well-done) 2013 reboot rather than any of Raimi’s original movies.

Evil Dead Rise has a slow build as it sets the stage, but quickly proves to be a thrilling and terrifying experience. The film follows Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), who lives in a low-rent apartment building and has three children. Early in the movie (no spoiler here) she is possessed (as happens in these movies) and proceeds to subject her children to mental and physical torture.

The early stages of the movie present multiple storylines which threaten to bog the movie down, but ultimately once thing get started, they never let up.

Cronin, who has proven himself as a talented horror filmmaker with his debut feature The Hole in the Ground. He brings a fresh perspective to the franchise while staying true to the essence of the original films. Additionally, having Sam Raimi on board as a producer most likely helped the movies stay true to his vision/

Another aspect that sets Evil Dead Rise apart from its predecessors is its setting. Instead of the usual cabin in the woods, the film takes place in a high-rise building, which adds a new level of tension and claustrophobia. The location also allows for some creative kills and set pieces that we haven’t seen in the franchise before.

Along with franchises like TerrifierEvil Dead, has become synonymous with gore and creative kills. While it doesn’t disappoint in this realm, story is always secondary. And, Cronin understands this much more so than the Terrifier filmmakers, who just get the second movie going and going and going, to the point where the gore was no longer surprising or shocking – it was just there and I couldn’t wait for the movie to end. However Evil Dead Rise gives us plenty of shock and awe in the gore department but also knows when to call it quits, closing out the movie in just 97 minutes (with credits).

While the original Evil Dead trilogy had Bruce Campbell as its iconic protagonist, the new film features a fresh set of characters played by rising stars Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan. Both actresses have proven their talent in previous projects, and it is interesting to see them take on the horror genre. We will see where they go from here, what they choose next, and if they choose to find a home in this realm.

Campbell does not make a visual appearance in the movie, but his voice is heard at one point in a well-placed cameo.

Overall, Evil Dead Rise is a worthy addition to the franchise. With its talented director, unique setting, and talented cast, the film is a standout horror movie if high tension and excessive gore paired with demonic possession is your thing.

While there are always risks involved in continuing a beloved franchise, the carries the torch nicely. While it is not as strong as the 2013 entry, it’s a solid movie and does right by the franchise. Evil Dead fans should be pleased and excited about a revival of the series.

This is definitely the type of movie that encourages audience reaction and is more fun with friends.

Gordo’s Grade: B