In the realm of horror cinema, “Evil Dead Rise,” written and directed by Lee Cronin, emerges as a thrilling addition to the iconic “Evil Dead” franchise. The filmmaker, known for his work on “The Hole in the Ground,” delivers a twisted tale that revolves around two estranged sisters, whose reunion is tragically cut short by the emergence of flesh-possessing demons. As they find themselves thrust into a primal battle for survival, they face a nightmarish version of family that tests the limits of their endurance and sanity.
A Legacy of Horror: The “Evil Dead” Movies
Before delving into the depths of “Evil Dead Rise,” it’s essential to acknowledge the legacy of the “Evil Dead” movies. This beloved franchise has garnered a dedicated fanbase, owing to its low-budget charm and the exceptional performance of Bruce Campbell, who became an emblematic figure in the world of horror.
The original “Evil Dead” movie, released in 1981, holds a special place in the hearts of fans for its ingenuity and creativity within budget constraints. Following its success, “Evil Dead 2” raised the stakes with a slightly larger budget, further refining the horror-comedy formula that fans adore. The third installment, “Army of Darkness,” embraced sheer insanity, taking the franchise to new heights.
“Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead” breathed new life into the series with its 2013 adaptation. The film garnered praise for its unapologetic gore and relentless terror, resonating with both long-time fans and a new generation of horror enthusiasts.
Family Terrors Unleashed: “Evil Dead Rise”
With “Evil Dead Rise,” the focus shifts to a deeper emotional setup, unlike the previous films that centered on friends and romantic partners. The movie chooses to explore the dynamics of family relationships, a choice that sets it apart from its predecessors.
As the story unfolds, the estranged sisters find themselves facing an unthinkable horror—having to confront their own flesh and blood, now possessed by malevolent forces. This unnerving twist adds a layer of intensity to the narrative, tapping into the innate fear of having to harm or defend oneself against a loved one.
The Duality of Violence: A Comparison with the 2013 Adaptation
While “Evil Dead Rise” delivers its share of gore and satisfyingly gruesome moments, it adopts a more tension-based approach compared to the 2013 adaptation. Some might argue that the 2013 version presented more violently explicit scenes, inducing cringes from the audience.
In contrast, “Evil Dead Rise” chooses to be more restrained in its depiction of violence, possibly to appeal to a broader audience. Although it might seem like a step back in terms of brutality, the movie compensates with a gripping pace, outstanding cinematography, and superb performances.
A Visual Feast and Stellar Performances
One of the most striking aspects of “Evil Dead Rise” is its remarkable cinematography, which elevates the terror to new heights. The visuals add depth to the horror, creating an immersive experience that pulls the audience into the nightmarish world of the film.
The cast’s performances, led by Alyssa Sutherland, are undeniably strong. Sutherland’s portrayal of the possessed character stands out, adding a spine-chilling element to the movie. Notably, a riveting sequence involving her and some residents in a high-rise, viewed through a peephole, is both eerie and captivating.
Innovative Use of Setting: The Apartment Complex
The movie’s setting within an apartment complex allows for creative scenarios that keep the characters entangled in a constant struggle for survival. The film utilizes various locations within the complex, including hallways, elevators, and the parking deck, to great effect. This approach keeps the audience engaged and engrossed in the characters’ harrowing journey.
Nods to the Franchise: Easter Eggs for Fans
For ardent fans of the “Evil Dead” franchise, “Evil Dead Rise” sprinkles references and nods to previous films. While these Easter eggs add an element of nostalgia, they also provide a sense of familiarity and anticipation for seasoned viewers.
Critique: The Bookended Sequences
One aspect of the movie that may raise questions is the inclusion of the bookended sequences. These opening and closing scenes appear to have little relevance to the main narrative and could be perceived as merely serving a particular production requirement. While visually captivating, these sequences may leave audiences wondering about their significance.
In Conclusion: A Gory and Thrilling Adventure
In retrospect, “Evil Dead Rise” proves to be an entertaining addition to the “Evil Dead” franchise. Although it may not match the comedic charm of Sam Raimi’s classics, or the sheer brutality of the 2013 adaptation, the movie stands out as a fast-paced horror with outstanding practical and visual effects.
If you are a die-hard fan of the “Evil Dead” series or simply seeking a pulse-pounding horror experience, “Evil Dead Rise” is worth adding to your watchlist. Brace yourself for a chilling journey into a nightmarish world, where family ties take on a terrifying new meaning.