Watch Evil Dead Rise
- 1 hr 37 min
“Evil Dead Rise” is the latest addition to the “Evil Dead” franchise, which has a remarkable track record of consistently delivering quality horror movies. This can be attributed in part to the involvement of series creator Sam Raimi, who is known for his discerning approach to selecting filmmakers to helm these groovy blood-soaked films. However, the franchise's success can also be attributed to the simplicity of its premise, which consistently works well, with the exception of the wacky “Army of Darkness.” The movie is directed and written by Lee Cronin, an Irish filmmaker who made his debut with the 2019 movie “The Hole in the Ground,” which also dealt with sinkholes and parental issues. Cronin’s style is closer to Fede Alvarez, the director of the 2013 “Evil Dead” remake, than to Raimi's live-action cartoons, but he shares with Raimi a devilish imagination. “Evil Dead Rise” is set in downtown Los Angeles and moves away from the typical “cabin in the woods” setting of the previous films. The story follows a single mother named Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) who is possessed by a Deadite early in the movie. Ellie then tortures her children, including Kassie (Nell Fisher), who is quite young. This adds to the movie's gruesomeness, as it features a lot of violence towards children. The first act of the movie suffers from exposition and set-up, which takes away from the simple and elemental nature of the previous “Evil Dead” movies. This act also introduces Ellie's sister, Beth (Lily Sullivan), and an earthquake that opens up a hole in the parking garage floor, where Danny (Morgan Davies) finds a safety deposit box with some mysterious records that unleash the horrors that follow. However, once the movie gets going, it doesn't let up, offering a loud, giddy, and packed-house-at-midnight type of experience. Cronin uses jump scares and “look behind you!”-type of gags to punctuate this pummeling bloodbath, and one scene in the film’s middle section is sure to inspire a lot of yelling at the screen in multiplexes around the world. The physical performances of the relatively unknown cast are impressive, and the gnarly gore is expertly executed. The film's premiere at SXSW was accompanied by cheering, hollering, and genuine screams of fright from the audience. Not everything in the movie works. The pregnancy subplot comes across as being written by a man, and the cold open is so random that an explanatory scene had to be added to the end of the movie. However, “Evil Dead Rise” is an absolute blast once it gets out of its own way and delivers the bloody goods that audiences have come to expect from the franchise. Overall, “Evil Dead Rise” is a worthy addition to the “Evil Dead” franchise. While it may deviate from the series’ elemental simplicity, it makes up for it with its gore, physical performances, and scares. Cronin proves himself to be a capable director who can stand alongside the previous filmmakers of the franchise. With an enthusiastic response from the SXSW audience, “Evil Dead Rise” promises to be a horror movie that will be talked about for years to come.