Evil Dead Rise featured

Review: ‘Evil Dead Rise’ is a Blood-Splattered Crowd-Pleaser that’s Worthy of the Iconic Horror Franchise’s Legacy

April 20, 2023Ben MK

Horror movies have a long and storied history in Hollywood. But when it comes to films that have helped to shape and redefine the genre, few have attained the cult classic status that Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness have. Blending body horror and slapstick comedy in a way that has influenced legions of filmmakers, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy would go on to see itself reborn in 2013, with a reimagining that relaunched the beloved franchise with intense gore and nail-biting scares. And now, a decade later, that legacy takes another bold step forward with Evil Dead Rise, as an unwitting family finds themselves trapped in a life-and-death battle with the ultimate evil.

Taking the story out of the cabin-in-the-woods setting that the series has become known for, Evil Dead Rise follows Beth (Lily Sullivan), a guitar technician who spends most of her time on the road. But when an untimely visit to her estranged older sister Ellie's (Alyssa Sutherland) condemned Los Angeles apartment just happens to coincide with the city's latest earthquake, it sets into motion a series of events that will have her fighting tooth and nail, when the quake reveals a long-forgotten subterranean vault in which one of the three volumes of the Naturom Demonto has been entombed for the last century. Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, the ancient book of demonology and spirit possession proves too tempting for Ellie's son, aspiring DJ Danny (Morgan Davies), to resist. However, after bringing the forbidden tome back to his family's 14th-floor apartment unit and letting curiosity get the better of him, it quickly becomes apparent that some things are better left undisturbed.

Faced with a malevolent demonic entity that possesses their mother and turns her against them, Danny and his sisters Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) and Kassie (Nell Fisher) are thrust into a hellish waking nightmare, as the aftereffects of the quake prevent them from fleeing their apartment. Their only hope for survival lies with their aunt Beth, who must draw upon her own maternal instincts to protect her nephew and nieces from succumbing to the same fate as her sister. Burdened by her own guilt and forced to confront not only her own personal demons, but the demon that has taken and corrupted the form of her own flesh and blood, Beth must use every potential weapon she can get her hands on — from a pair of sewing scissors to a chainsaw — to defend herself and her family from the unholy evil that is determined to have them all dead by dawn. But will she manage to stave off their sinister, supernatural attacker? Or will the entity succeed in swallowing all of their souls?

Written and directed by Lee Cronin, Evil Dead Rise isn't for the faint of heart. Following in the footsteps of Fede Alvarez's ultra-gory Evil Dead reboot, this is a movie that takes full advantage of its R rating, unleashing plenty of gnarly violence and copious amounts of bloodshed upon its audience. Whether it's the film's effectively foreboding prologue, in which a couple of characters meet grisly demises within the first few minutes, or the blood-soaked climax, in which an industrial strength wood chipper features prominently, there's no shortage of dismemberments, decapitations and wince-inducing scenes of self-mutilation involving everything from broken glass to the whirring blades of a drone. Yet, it's the way the sequel pays crowd-pleasing homage to its predecessors that makes it truly worthy of the Evil Dead moniker and the four-decade-old legacy that goes along with it.

Suffice to say, hardcore horror fans won't be left wanting. For whether you're a longtime Deadite admirer or a newcomer to the franchise, the result accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. A visceral, blood-splattered, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride from beginning to end, it doesn't try to reinvent what has come before, but instead smartly integrates those elements into an original story that stands tall on its own merits. Like the majority of movies in the genre, though, it also leaves the door open for a potential followup — and seeing as how Evil Dead Rise is destined to become a cult classic in its own right, it's only a matter of time before the dead rise again.

Evil Dead Rise releases April 21st, 2023 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, and some language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 37 min.

You May Also Like