A Hooked On Horror Review: Evil Dead Rise
Updated: May 6
Evil Dead is one franchise that keeps hitting the mark. Let’s be honest, they may have even got better as the franchise has gone on. Sam Raimi’s little indie horror has come on long way since 1981, gaining a cult following and birthing a series of films, games and a kick-ass TV series. And whilst I’ll admit I had one or two gripes with this film, it is another fantastic entry into the franchise that will disgust and entertain both horror and Evil Dead fans alike!
A reunion between two estranged sisters gets cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.
It's an explosive and very direct start to the film, Cronin sets the dark, bleak and sinister tone of this film early on and sticks to it. If you’re hoping for something closer to the original films and Ash vs Evil Dead, you’ll be a bit disappointed. Whilst it is very in keeping with the whole aesthetic and tropes fans have come to love (and expect) from Evil Dead it very much follows the darker and slightly more serious tone as the 2013 film. There are a few good comedic moments in there, but Cronin wants you to cringe, wince, gag and potentially even vomit watching this. And I’m all for it, makes for some wonderful viewing.
Story follows similar format as its predecessors of course but incorporates its own little backstories and storylines that just make for a better movie overall. There are a few things I’d like to know more about and a few things I feel they’ve purposely been used to start laying the groundwork for even more exploration into this gory, disgusting, gross and macabre universe. The Book of the Dead featured is different again, I can’t go into too much detail here but there’s a bit of an explanation which could potentially lead this franchise to multiple other places. I won’t say anymore- just go watch the bloody film (pun intended)! One of my complaints lies with the pacing of the film. With such an impressive opening it sort of lulled for a bit after before it picked back up again. However, I am very happy to admit when it did get going it did not let up- it came at you balls out with both barrels.
Cast were a delight to watch, I can imagine they must’ve had an absolute blast making this film. The three younger cast members (Nell Fisher, Morgan Davies and Gabrielle Echols) were brilliant; it would be nice to see them in a few more horror films going forward. Lily Sullivan was superb, her character’s development and journey whilst caught up in this utter chaos was great. She was a badass throughout as well, some great sequences and Final Girl moments.
There was one stand out star in Evil Dead Rise though- Alyssa Sutherland take a bow, she was outstanding in this! Stole every scene see was in, honestly couldn’t take your eyes off her. As far as Deadites go Ellie is definitely up there with some of the best. Fingers crossed Sutherland starts pursuing more in this genre as it would be fascinating to see what she could do regarding some stories and characters. It would be cool to see a future film bring some of these characters back further down the line, but from the way it ended I have a feeling they may go a different route.
Of course, when anyone talks about Evil Dead or anything concerning Evil Dead there will always be one big thing that comes up- the wonderful kills, deaths, maiming, torture, dismemberment, gore, special effects, etc. Raimi set one hell of a standard back in the day, and it feels like each entry into the franchise has always tried to one up the previous ones and feature something truly memorable (in a gross and repulsive way of course) scene or sequence. And Evil Dead Rise well and truly delivers on all fronts.
The gore was on point; you could tell you were watching an Evil Dead film. As were the kills and deaths in it…as well as a few other things. There are two things in this that really got to me and made me wince. Again, I won’t go into detail as they are a treat for any horror fan… I just won’t be going near a cheese grater for a little while. The special effects and make-up were spectacular, always great seeing films still utilising practical SFX- there’s just something special about it, especially in this genre.
Overall, this is another fantastic addition to this beloved horror franchise. Whilst I enjoyed this one, I wouldn’t say it was better than the 2013 film. That would be my ranking-
Evil Dead 2
Ash vs Evil Dead
Army of Darkness
Evil Dead (2013)
The Evil Dead
Evil Dead Rise
Even though Evil Dead Rise falls last in my ranking, it isn’t to say this isn’t a great film- this is one franchise I just feel hasn’t dipped in quality yet. So, putting them in any kind of order is a tough call.
It pays homage whilst expanding and exploring the wonderfully f*cked up world of Evil Dead and doing a few things that haven’t been done in this franchise before. They did a lot throughout and with the way the film ended, there are multiple different routes the franchise could take, and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to see what comes next!