Evil Dead Rise
While gorehounds may enjoy the film, this latest entry in the Evil Dead franchise leaves much to be desired.

Evil Dead Rise

Release Date: April 21, 2023
Runtime: 01:37
A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is 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.

Demonic forces terrorize a family in a dilapidated apartment complex in . Ellie () is a single mother living with her children Danny (), Bridget (), and Kassie () in an old Los Angeles apartment complex that is slated for demolition. The family is visited by Ellie's sister Beth (), who is always on the road as a guitar technician. Shortly after Beth's arrival, there is a massive earthquake, which uncovers an old bank vault, in which Danny finds an old book and various vinyl recordings. Upon opening the book and playing the recording, Danny unleashes a demonic force which possesses Ellie kickstarting a night of terror.

Evil Dead Rise Synopsis

A decade after the 2013 reboot, Irish director Lee Cronin writes and directs a new entry in the Evil Dead franchise, produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Unlike the previous films' cabin in the woods setting, Evil Dead Rise is primarily set within an urban apartment complex. The focus is on a single family fighting for survival after single mother Ellie becomes a possessed deadite. The result is much bloodshed as Beth and Ellie's children try to leave the apartment complex alive.

My Thoughts on Evil Dead Rise

More than four decades after their release, Sam Raimi's original Evil Dead trilogy remains cult classic films for their gory horror and slapstick comedy mix. Apart from the 2015-2018 sequel TV series Ash vs Evil Dead, both Fede lvarez's 2013 reboot and now Lee Cronin's Evil Dead Rise deemphasize the slapstick comedy of the franchise, in favour of playing the horror relatively straight, other than the occasional deadite one-liner. Depending on who you ask, this new direction either modernizes the franchise or removes what makes Sam Raimi's original films cult classics.

Evil Dead Rise was produced initially as an HBO Max release, only to get a theatrical release after positive test screenings. As such, there are no real notable stars, with the film being led by Australian actors Lily Sullivan (Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings). However, original star Bruce Campbell does make a voice-over cameo at one point during the film.

While I haven't seen the 2013 reboot since its release, I remember liking it for what it was. On the other hand, Evil Dead Rise feels like it is following a formula. Despite relocating to an urban setting, the film's plot has a very paint-by-numbers feel of naive character reads from the book of the end, other characters get possessed by demons, and it all builds to a super-gory climax involving a chainsaw. While the film will probably be enjoyed by the gorehounds in the audience, who don't care much about substance, Evil Dead Rise still leaves much to be desired.

Evil Dead Rise is so focused on continuing the franchise's dark and violent modern take that it can easily forget how fun the original Evil Dead films are. While Evil Dead Rise is still a relatively fine film, it doesn't have the same charm as the original Sam Raimi films. Instead, it is an ultra-gory modern horror film that is easily forgettable.

Trailer for Evil Dead Rise

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.