LifeIsXbox’s Evil Dead Rise Review | It’s been 10 years since the 2013 reboot graced our screens with an Evil Dead movie. The 2013 reboot scored relatively well with most viewers enjoying the horror and gore that modern cinema brought with it. But older than that, this year marks the original trilogy’s 30th year, and what better way than to release a new movie in the franchise with Evil Dead Rise. Evil Dead Rise is a sequel to the original trilogy and is a faithful, and horrifyingly gory new film that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I have done my best to keep this review spoiler free, so feel free to read on knowing it won’t ruin any major plot twists.
Evil Dead Rise is Directed by Lee Cronin, and Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Evil Dead Rise stars Mirabai Pease, Richard Crouchley, Anna-Maree Thomas, Lily Sullivan, Noah Paul, Alyssa Sutherland, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher, Billy Reynolds-McCarthy, Tai Wano, Jayden Daniels, and Mark Mitchenson.
What We Liked!
- A Faithful Sequel | There was a lot of speculation running up to the film’s release this week about whether this was going to be a reboot or a sequel in the Evil Dead franchise. But having now watched the movie, I can report that this film is very much a sequel. It builds off of the original trilogy of films from 1983 and completely ignores the 2013 reboot. The horror has also been moved from the woods and into the city. Despite being a sequel, you will be hard-pressed to find any characters from the previous films here. What this film does, is take key elements from past films, and fill the gaps from 30 years ago. Despite the very different setting featured in this film, the director and writers have made it very recognisable by ensuring that the lore, the Deadite Mother, and other aspects from the original films are in here. It is very clear that the creators behind the film want you to know that this is an Evil Dead movie.
- The Cast | There is a very large cast in this movie, all of which are newcomers to the series. Each character does a great job at selling their acting abilities to the audience and making us believe that they are one big happy family. The chemistry on screen that each character has is perfect. Each time they had to contend with the Deadite Mother, I worried for them. The film does an excellent job at making you care for each of these individuals and part of that
- Suspense & Horror | When I mentioned in the intro that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, I wasn’t joking. The film, after a brief set-up, is quick to throw you into the build-up of horror and tension. What starts off as a slow decay of a woman infected with a demonic parasite, quickly spirals into a gory mess of trying to stay alive. The film does a great job of luring you into a false sense of security before getting you when your guard is down. Think about how many times you’ve watched someone looking in a mirror, they close it and the angle shows off someone standing behind the actor with a sudden booming sound. Evil Dead Rise, definitely plays into tropes like this but doesn’t execute them. What it does is play into the audience’s intelligence. It knows you are expecting something, and while I am usually great at spotting these sorts of scares, this film caught me off guard nearly all of the time.
- The Demon | The Deadite Mother played by Alyssa Sutherland has to be one of the creepiest movie characters I have seen in a long time. Not only is her uncanny appearance disturbing, but her acting that goes alongside it is just straight-up sinister. The facial expressions, the vacant stares, the mumbling to herself, and the screaming all amount to one horrifying experience. Honestly, anytime she was on screen, my skin crawled. It is quite a detraction from previous Evil Dead entries in the series, and making this a singular entity that terrorises the rest of the cast is definitely a unique touch. Not only this, but the setting is a lot more claustrophobic this time around, and the cast doesn’t have the luxury of having wide-open woodlands to run around in. This really helps with some of the key scares in the film, with the bathtub scene being especially creepy.
- The Gore | It just wouldn’t be an Evil Dead movie without gore, and boy let me tell you, does this movie have it! Slashing, cutting, and decapitating are all here, ready to be witnessed without any shying away from the camera. It’s not for the faint of heart, or for the squeamish. You need to know going into this movie, that there is going to be a lot of blood and a lot of gore. Some of the set pieces created by Lee Cronin are always fully utilised, and I was never fully able to fall back into my chair.
- The Music | The music in Evil Dead Rise is perfect. It captures the right tone from the very beginning of the movie and carries itself throughout, both tricking and toying with you. There are many points throughout the movie where you will not hear anything at all, and then suddenly, blaring out loud as the Deadite Mother chases the protagonists around. It works really well with the horror and suspense building and is the other half of the formula for scaring you so well.
- The Ending | I struggled to decide whether I put something down in this section or not since I don’t want to include any spoilers. Let me say this. The ending, whilst not bad, doesn’t set itself up to imply any sequels or if there will be more in the future. What I liked about the original films, is that it was always apparent there was a bigger story at play and that there was more to the story. Evil Dead Rise frames itself as a single story that can exist on its own or as part of something bigger. While I am sure that future movies will be solely based on the success of this movie, it is without a doubt that Evil Dead Rise will do some serious numbers at the box office.
- Not like its predecessors | There was always a level of comedy that could be found in the original trilogy, something that you could take a quick breath from when recovering from a fright or a recent gory scene. Ash had a way of delivering lines with a sense of suave attitude. After all, he was a ladies’ man and someone who found silliness in the most common things. For example, after chopping his hand off and replacing it with a chainsaw, he would fire it up and say the word “groovy”. Who does that? Going into Evil Dead Rise, I was expecting there to be at least some cheesy one-liners, with a little attitude and some toned-down seriousness. However, Evil Dead Rise sets itself a little too far apart in this area and takes itself seriously throughout the 93 minutes. It’s not a bad thing, but I think fans of the original will be expecting something.
What we Disliked
- No Cameos | Those expecting to see the likes of Bruce Campbell reprise his role as Ash are going to be very disappointed. The only tie that Bruce Campbell has here is that serves as one of the film’s producers. It’s a shame because, with 30 years in the franchise, I would have loved to have seen a reference, or an after-credit scene involving him somehow, but sadly there isn’t. While the director has stated that Bruce Campbell is “hidden” in the movie, there is no actual scene with him in it to look forward to.
You’ll love this if you liked: Evil Dead, Ash vs Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell
Evil Dead Rise has proved that you can make an Evil Dead film without the tropes of the previous ones before it. Despite having almost no ties to the original trilogy, Evil Dead Rise manages to work well in its new setting creating an engaging, scary, and downright gory tour de force. While some people might not like the new direction has taken, it proves that even 30 years later, the Evil Dead franchise still has more up its sleeve.
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I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.