HOLLYWOOD—I have always been a fan of filmmakers Sam Raimi. Why? He went to my Alma Mater and this guy was taught by the same professor that I learned tips about the art of screenwriting. Raimi first blew onto the screen in the horror genre with his cult classic 1981 flick “Evil Dead” that gave audiences the introduction of the Deadites and the Book of the Dead. The special effects from that movie weren’t great, but it was bloody as hell and gory as hell.
That has become a trend to see that blood, in its excessive format in the franchise that became more horror comedy with “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness.” The 2013 remake starring Jane Levy was freaking fantastic and I loved every second of it. I wish we had a direct sequel to that movie, but we have a new installment with “Evil Dead Rise.” What I enjoy that I am slightly seeing a bit more in horror is examining the bond between family – in particular siblings. We saw this work quite well with the 2022 version of “Scream” and its sequel “Scream VI” that was released last month.
“Evil Dead Rise” examines the relationship between estranged sisters Beth (Lily Sullivan) and Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland). Beth is the irresponsible one of the two, who is constantly on the road with musicians as a guitar technician. Ellie is the more mature sibling, who happens to be a tattoo artist, who has been attempting to reach out to her sister, as she battles a divorce and raise her three children Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). However, when Beth discovers she might be pregnant with child she comes to Los Angeles seeking the advice of her older sister before chaos unfolds.
An earthquake unleashes access to a secret location underneath the apartment building where, Danny discovers from dusty records and the Book of the Dead. Let this be a lesson to all when it comes to the genre of horror, if something is locked away in a region where no one is expected to gain access to it; it is like that for a reason. This holds especially true for a book that has razor sharp teeth preventing it from being opened and absorbs your blood when it spills on it.
Despite the pleas from his sister Bridget to leave the book alone, Danny goes exploring and it leads to the unleashing of the Deadites who quickly possess Ellie in an elevator in disturbing fashion per “Evil Dead” expectations. What unfolds next is plenty of blood, guts, more blood, vomiting and a bunch of violence that will leave you squirming or cheering in the movie theater. Look, I’m a fan of the horror genre, but even for me, some of the violence and gore in this flick is a bit much, but I’m aware of what comes with any “Evil Dead” movie so I expected it.
However, if you’re not familiar with such territory, it will leave you cringing because a character chews glass, we see that glass emit from the body, we see plenty of vomiting, dispatching of body parts, eyeballs, blood gushing from any and everywhere and plenty of more. “Evil Dead Rise” does a stellar job of developing these characters in a short time period and we become invested in them, especially sisters Beth and Ellie. Beth takes on the role of protector of the children, as Ellie finds herself possessed and delivering a performance that is absolutely spine-tingling and uneasy as hell.
There is some neat camera work at the hands of director Lee Cronin that unfortunately is teased in the actual movie trailer. The pacing is efficient and the terror is just a good ole time. Kudos to the flick for a fun opening that ultimately ties to the movie, which I won’t spoil. Could a sequel be underway? Without a doubt after its box-office performance, but where the filmmakers choose to take the narrative, I think the opportunities are quite endless.