The Evil Dead series has always had a reputation for blending dark humor and a high level of gore. Later sequels after the first movie leaned heavily on the comedy, but still manage to hold onto the horror elements along the way. And while the newest entry of the series, Evil Dead Rise, doesn’t have fan-favorite Bruce Campbell starring as Ash, it does go back to what made the Evil Dead stand out to begin with. Lots of suspense, a messed-up tale, and plenty of gore to make everyone squirm.
Things hit the ground running in this new Evil Dead movie, with a wild scare that will catch you off guard that takes place a day after the events of the story that’s about to unfold. The movie tends to play tricks on you in a variety of ways just like this, with camera shots and music that will have you waiting for something to happen, only to flip things around, and then catch you with a surprise when you least expect it. It’s the makings of great horror films, where you won’t be ready for what happens next. But when something does happen, it’s right in your face in all of its detailed glory, or rather goriness in some cases.
The story that we do follow is about a young woman named Beth, who visits her sister Ellie and her children after traveling around as a concert sound technician. Ellie and Beth have been estranged for some time, but a dire situation brings her back to seek help. However, Ellie’s children find the infamous Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead, hidden in an abandoned bank vault after an earthquake ruptures the building they live in. One of the kids, Danny, takes the book and some mysterious vinyl records that were stored with it back home, looking through the book and playing the records on his player. This causes the demonic forces from the book to arrive and kill Ellie, turning her into the walking and forcing Beth and the kids into a nightmarish struggle for survival.
There are many edgy things littered throughout the start of Evil Dead Rise before the dead begin to rise. Ellie and her kids are immersed in alternative and metal culture, which is played off with some humorous moments between the group before Beth arrives at their doorstep. Despite their hard edge and quips towards each other, the movie makes an effort to have you connect with them as the main group before things go crazy. The big standouts of the family are Nell Fisher as Kassie (the youngest daughter) and Gabrielle Echols as Bridget. The two of them do a great job playing off each other in various moments before and after things begin to happen with the Necronomicon.
Unfortunately, the weakest character of the group is Danny, played by Morgan Davies. While he is the reason things go sideways for the family after finding the Necronomicon, most of his scenes feel very bland. That is until the latter half of the film, where Danny has some better scenes. While he’s very important to the story because of how he finds the Necronomicon, the rest of his moments at the start are not great, mostly due to what feels like poor lines being delivered. There’s a specific point in the film where you can see the shift of where things for Danny get much better and a lot more interesting. But it does take some time to get there.
The absolute best part of Evil Dead Rise is Alyssa Sutherland as Ellie. Everything that happens to her character is a whirlwind of emotions, from the sweet moments with her kids to the horrific fate that awaits her. Alyssa fully dives into the role and really gets some big standout moments after being possessed. Her delivery of some dialogue will have you chilled and awaiting the big scare, but the timing she has in the crazy moments will always catch you off guard. The cinematography of the movie helps make some of her scarier scenes even better, especially when the camera angles are placed in ways that the Evil Dead series is known for. Among the reasons to see this movie, Alyssa’s performance is definitely one of the biggest.
But what is the other big reason to watch Evil Dead Rise? The fantastic rendition of all the gore once the killing starts, it’ll hit you hard. Some characters we meet throughout the film die in creative and bold ways that will have you wanting to look away, but you simply won’t be able to stop staring. Anyone who is squeamish and can’t handle seeing lots of gore in a movie will definitely have a problem watching Evil Dead Rise because the film doesn’t shy away from making the blood and guts pop out on screen. In both the figurative and literal sense, Evil Dead Rise will throw gore in your face.
And yet at the same time, it showcases some clever ways its characters can be hurt or killed without it feeling unceremonious. One scene will have someone trying to get away from being cut by a cheese grater, another scene will have shotgun shells being fired, and another an electric tattoo pen stabbing into someone. There’s variety in the danger and hazards that can inflict some real harm onto anyone, and you won’t be prepared for how it happens nor how it looks on screen.
There are a few minor hiccups in Evil Dead Rise that don’t bring down the whole movie, but end up being shallow. A number of characters you meet aren’t given much time or attention rounding out their character, appearing to be obvious fodder for the evil that lurks around. It becomes a little too obvious in some cases and downright silly, but everything is made up for toward the climax when things go down.
At the same time, a few of the actions taken by both Ellie’s kids and a few other characters do feel unbelievably stupid and are the cause of things getting worse for the family. While some of it can be explained as the naivety of kids or adults who are overly stressed, some of their actions are clearly the worst thing one can do in a given situation. Better explanations or changes could’ve been made to scenes like that, but as is they can feel unnecessary.
Evil Dead Rise is a movie that will satisfy fans of the series and scare the horrify anyone who hasn’t watched the previous films. It’s very loosely connected to the rest of the series, feeling more self-contained than anything else, so anyone can jump in and get a complete story. If you can easily overcome a fear of seeing lots of blood and guts, then you’ll find a well-made and scary horror movie that isn’t afraid to pass the perceived line of tolerance. It might not be as groovy without Ash Williams here, but it’s definitely a bold one that will scare you good.
Are you a fan of the Evil Dead series? Are you going to watch Evil Dead Rise anytime soon? Post a comment down below with your thoughts and let us know!
Evil Dead Rise
This movie has tense moments and plenty of great gore to thrill and horrify you. Some of the action is creative and the cinematography is excellent. There are a few aspects with some acting and story elements that dampen things a bit, but everything else works well in making a great new entry into the Evil Dead series. If you can handle the gore, you won’t be bored here at all.
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