‘Evil Dead Rise’ movie review: A delightfully demented addition to Sam Raimi’s horror classic

The action in Lee Cronin’s film moves from the ubiquitous cabin in the woods to an urban setting without losing any of the blood, guts, gore or giggles along the way

April 21, 2023 06:18 pm | Updated 06:28 pm IST

A still from ‘Evil Dead Rise’

A still from ‘Evil Dead Rise’

There is so much fun to be had in Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment of the series, which started with Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead. There is blood (6,500 liters of fake blood according to writer-director Lee Cronin), eye trauma (not so much fun), sputtering elevators filled with blood, bare-hand scalping, drone decapitation and… let me see, oooh yes chainsaws and dismemberment by wood chipper.

Evil Dead Rise (English)
Director: Lee Cronin
Cast: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher
Runtime: 97 minutes
Storyline: Sisters, who have drifted apart, come together to fight an ancient evil

The movie begins with three happy campers, Teresa (Mirabai Pease), Caleb (Richard Crouchley) and Jessica (Anna-Maree Thomas), vacationing in a pretty cabin by the woods. Teresa is the studious one, reading Wuthering Heights while meat puppet Caleb plays with his drone and Jessica is apparently sleeping off a mysterious sickness.    

Lockwood’s horror from the Emily Brontë classic comes a calling as a not-so-melancholy voice says, “Let me in” before horrid things come calling. We go back a day earlier. Music technician Beth (Lily Sullivan) is visiting her sister, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), a single mom, living with her children, Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassi (Nell Fisher).

The apartment they are living in, Monde (an anagram of demon—cute no?) is falling to pieces and they have to vacate it by the end of the month. The children go out to get pizza while the sisters catch up with recriminations on both sides. There is an earthquake, which opens up a hole in the basement of the building.

Naturally curious Danny looks into the hole and finds a bunch of religious stuff including a scary-looking book and a couple of vinyl records. Knowing his mum is short of cash and figuring out the book and records could fetch some money, he brings them home.

Once he pries the book open—the wicked-teeth clamping should have given him a clue, but never mind—all hell literally breaks loose. Neighbours including the shotgun-wielding Mr. Fonda (Mark Mitchinson) and well-meaning Gabriel (Jayden Daniels) pitch in but cannot do much in the face of elevators filled with blood and demonic records.   

Evil Dead Rise is beautifully shot with several eye-catching sequences including the one with the carnage from the peephole perspective and the face caught in the slice of a murderous mirror. And that final iconic steady cam shot is just so, so good that you almost yell for joy echoing the scream of horror as the frame fades to black.

There is a dazzling timelessness to the film proving that evil like good is eternal. The final girl theme is upended and preserved in a jolly clever way. Sisters are all over our screens, from Elliot and Beverly in Dead Ringers to now Beth and Ellie and it is an interesting dynamic to explore. Go the sociological route or the psychological one, Evil Dead Rise offers a gorgeously gory riposte to the summer blues.  

Evil Dead Rise is currently running in theatres

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