Released: 20th April
Seen: 20th April

Evil Dead Rise Info

In 1979, Sam Raimi ran off into the forest with a bunch of his friends (including the chin-tastic Bruce Campbell) to make a feature length version of his short film Within The Woods. It was an insane idea made on a microbudget with effects that Sam made up on the fly, people got injured on set and for some reason they decided to strap a camera to a plank of wood and have two guys run through the swamp carrying it to get the shot. It was the kind of filmmaking that would make insurance agents weep and it ended up creating the 1981 film The Evil Dead.

The Evil Dead is still considered (quite fairly) one of the scariest films of all time and it led to a franchise that has somehow managed to never drop in quality. It’s changed tone several times, sometimes being comic horror, sometimes action, in the TV series it just did whatever it could get away with but every entry has been nothing short of fantastic. Even when the franchise got remade, which tends to end badly in any franchise, the remake is still considered absolutely great and signaled that the franchise lost none of its edge. So with the release of Evil Dead Rise, will this franchise finally stumble? Hell no, it’s going to keep going along and being as intense as ever in the most glorious way possible.

Evil Dead Rise takes place in an apartment building on the verge of condemnation. One of the few residents still there is Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three kids, Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). They’re trying to pack for their now mandatory move and deal with the aftermath of Ellie’s separation when Ellie’s younger sister Beth (Lily Sullivan) turns up to visit. What should’ve just been an awkward family visit turns horrific when a series of events leads one of the kids to stumble upon the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in a hidden room underneath their building and read from it, which unleashes the demonic evil creatures that possess the occupants of the building and begins what can only be described as a chaotic nightmare.

Evil Dead Rise picks up on the tone and style set down by the 2013 reboot of Evil Dead and places it in a high-rise building, a setting that frankly has been hungry for demons to run through since 1986’s Demons 2. With the exception of one scene set in a cabin in the woods (the opening scene, which allows them to slip in a few classic Raimi-esque fly-through shots and a few of the usual Evil Dead trademarks) the entire film takes place in a squalid apartment on the higher floors of this dilapidated building, giving everything a sense of aged destruction and isolation that the normal cabin scenario would provide. It gives the main cast a reason why they have to stay in one location with all the insanity happening and it does so pretty quickly, allowing the tension to start building basically the second the infamous Necronomicon is opened.

Evil Dead Rise (2023)
Evil Dead Rise (2023)

While there are a few brief moments of comedy, mostly from the twisted jokes that the deadites make just before they do something truly demented, the tone here is pitch black and there’s a constant feeling that anyone is up for grabs. In most horror films there’s an almost unwritten agreement that under 18 year olds will probably be safe but there is no such promise here, indeed the audience is almost dared to wonder which one of the non-adults will be first to have their souls swallowed by the demons running about. It feels unsafe, every character could be at risk and even when the film makes clear who has been chosen to be the final girl in this scenario, there’s still never a promise that she’ll make it to the end. It feels brutal, which is exactly what you want from this kind of film.

You also want a film like Evil Dead Rise to open up as many packets of the red stuff as they can get their hands on and oh glory, they found a lot of it and spray it around like it’s nothing. From insane shots of possessed people puking up fountains of blood to an elevator scene that makes The Shining look tame, there’s no holding back here and every single droplet of the red is well earned and used to its full potential. There are so many great moments that are just designed to make the audience wince in anxious sympathy pains, so many creative visuals that will haunt your nightmares and make you amazed they managed to put all of this on screen. 

Sticking largely to one floor of the building, the cast of this film is small (largely kept to just the main family and a couple of neighbours who we barely see) but they manage to make for a compelling time. While it might’ve been fun to see a floor-by-floor massacre filled with deadites, that’s not what this film does. This film sticks to one small family and fucking with them for two hours and it’s horrifying and intense and endlessly enjoyable for people who are into that sort of thing (I am one of those people who are into that sort of thing). Obviously, if the more intense gory side of horror isn’t your thing, then this might not work for you as well, but also you probably aren’t running out to the latest Evil Dead movie anyway.

If you do run out to Evil Dead Rise though you’ll be treated to a set of glorious performances by a cast who really manages to have great chemistry and, when the time comes, absolutely revels in the cruel comic value of the deadites. Each time someone is turned into a deadite it feels like an event, they get a moment to really do something gloriously messed up and push the film even further. The climax of the film is especially gnarly with a disturbing final sequence that leaves everyone just soaked in gore, as they bloody well should be.

Evil Dead Rise is just another fantastic entry into a franchise that does not miss. It’s twisted, sick, gory, suspenseful, demented and a little nuts and it does all of it with style. It’s jaw-dropping, hell it’s tearing off your jaw and beating you to death with it because it can and it enjoys it. There’s a sense of dark enjoyment here that makes it an insanely good time. Evil Dead Rise rises to the occasion and surpasses every expectation you could have for it, truly glorious in every way.


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