The Evil Dead franchise has been among the most iconic horror movie series of all time. It all started in 1978 when Sam Raimi released the short Within the Woods, which led to five terrifying movies and a wild horror-comedy television series. What sets it apart is the no nonsense horror elements infused with comedic undertones. As with the other movies, the plot for the latest edition titled Evil Dead Rise follows the sumerian literature Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, which ends up unleashing evil upon a group of people.
Some New Tropes, Some Old
While most of the movies in the series focus on a group of young friends stuck in a cabin in the woods; the latest installment, Evil Dead Rise, takes the evil to an apartment in a residential building for a change. It also makes certain creative choices which end up being very rewarding. For instance, while the movie has the opening scene of the evil traversing in search of a host, it’s not situated in a forest full of swamps, vines, and trees anymore. Instead the setting is an almost empty residential building in the middle of an empty street, post an earthquake, in the middle of rains.
The vines that slowly and in the creepiest fashion take over the body of the victim, possessing them to give medium to the murderous spree has been the staple of the franchise. They’re nowhere to be found in the latest evil uprising. The vines have been problematic and controversial, being linked to sexual harassment in past iterations, so their replacement with electric wires is a fresh change. Perhaps, one of the strong points of the movie is the interplay between the tropes, as it does begin and ends up being in a cabin in the woods movie at last, bringing evil closer to its home.
A Bloody Carnage For The Ages
Anyone familiar with even 1% of evil dead media knows that it’s all about the blood, gore, and excruciatingly painful to watch deaths. And Evil Dead Rise absolutely delivers. The opening scene sets the tone in an intense manner, it’s probably the best opening for any horror movie in a long while. Evil literally rising while ‘Evil Dead Rise’ in blood red color is all over the skies? Sign me up! It immensely helps that the soundtrack is haunting, discomforting and loud, especially during the title sequence, when it’s disturbingly unsettling. The plot moves away from a bunch of youngsters trapped in a cabin to a family stuck inside an apartment – a single mother with three children, her sister and some neighbors with children of their own.
It’s painful yet exciting to see the carnage unfold between the members of a family. Horror as a genre has roots in unabashedly putting down the institution of family or organized religion or anything heteronormative, and Lee Cronin’s directorial follows suit. It’s a whole other debate whether the usage of so much blood of rain is needed or not. Though as fans of this long time franchise, scenes involving an elevator filling up with blood, bloody rain during the finale, chainsaw, and other unspeakables tortures to characters is a part of the charm, evoking so many reactions from the audience.
A New Scream Queen Expands The Lore
In all the evil dead movies, the evil gets passed on and there are multiple possessed people to deal with. There is little to no possibility to anyone who’s not Ash (the protagonist of the original) to actually stand out. Evil Dead Rise again differs, bringing Alyssa Sutherland to the status of the new scream queen. Playing the role of a single mother dealing with three kids and certain difficulties in life, there is obvious rooting for everything to become better for her. But once she’s turned, there’s no going back. After all, the tagline on the posters is mommy loves you to death.
As an actor, Sutherland gives one hell of a terrific performance, scary to an extent that her facial expressions and delivery of dialogues (be it threats, vile insults, or fake-acting like the good mommy) is much scarier and effective than the makeup or at times, the kills themselves. There’s a lot to unpack in Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and Evil Dead Rise takes up the responsibility as evil takes a new form, fresh out of the pages, unleashing a new abomination.
The Further Expansion of the Evil Dead Universe
The film definitely benefits from not churning out sequels every other year. In fact, the last movie was a decade ago when Evil Dead (2013) simply restructured the series, serving as a reboot and also a continuation of the series from the 1980s. Given the latest movie ended back in the woods, there’s a chance that we might get back for future sequels. There has been consistency in maintaining the originality as well, through the scenes that are set in a different context but serve as a throwback to the iconic moments of the original trilogy, which by all accords, is a promising development.
It doesn’t hurt that after good box office numbers and positive critical reception, there are talks of continuing Ash’s from the original trilogy or Mia from the 2013 reboot, with movies releasing every few years. In a year where films like M3GAN, Scream VI, John Wick: Chapter 4 already served a lot of blood and gore (to some extent), Evil Dead Rise is here to say, “This is how we do it!” The use of over 6,500 liters of fake blood stands true to the claim. If you want to catch up, here are the movies – The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), Army of Darkness (1993), Evil Dead (2013), and Ash vs Evil Dead (2015-18) are available on different streaming platforms.
Evil Dead Rise is currently playing in theaters near you.