EVIL DEAD RISE
Starring: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher, and Anna-Maree Thomas
Director: Lee Cronin
Although I enjoyed the darker turn of 2013’s Evil Dead, this iteration feels much more in line with Sam Raimi’s vision. There’s a nice mix of horror and levity, and it’s all tied together with some seriously bloody kills. The story itself may be fairly basic, but director Lee Cronin makes the most of it with some creative decisions (ex: shooting scenes through the apartment peephole). It’s not overcomplicated, just a fun horror film to watch in a dark room. Most importantly, though there are callbacks to the franchise’s earlier efforts, it stands alone, making it accessible even to those uninitiated to the Evil Dead universe.
I’m a fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise, and while Evil Dead Rise has the vibe of a basic supernatural horror, the commitment to the mayhem elevates it to an unadulterated delight. Director Lee Cronin mixes in Raimi’s style of camp, but in smaller portions, so it feels like a personal touch rather than a 90-minute homage. I have a high tolerance for gore, but this movie is so gnarly that there were moments when I had to turn away. I kinda wish the family stuff was better, but I still had a disturbingly good time.
As a relative newcomer to the Evil Dead franchise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Evil Dead Rise, but the more I sit with the film in my mind, the more I’d like to take the ride again. Noticeably imperfect but oh-so-in-tune with the spirit of the material, the film’s ultra-gory, low-camp style is perfect for a 90-minute slasher with some truly brutal sequences (an elevator scene stands out especially). I won’t say I loved it, but I had a damn good time, and if for nothing else, Lily Sullivan’s performance is a reason to go again.