Evil Dead Rise Review: Horrifying Return

10 years after the previous entry in the franchise, Evil Dead Rises finally hits theaters. This Evil Dead Rise review will go over what makes this horrific and twisted addition such a great return and why we should hope for more sequels.

Evil Dead Rises Review: Horrifying Return

Longtime fans of the Evil Dead franchise have a lot to look forward to in this follow-up. The setting is a bit of a departure though. Evil Dead Rise takes place in the city rather than the spooky woods. In terms of the lore, however, it’s all still here and as terrifying as ever. Neither Sam Raimi nor Fede Álverez return, instead handing the reigns to Lee Cronin. This movie was originally set to be released straight to streaming services similar to another horror classic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Because of the positive Evil Dead Rise reviews from test screenings though, the film made its way to theaters.

So how is this latest entry? The last Evil Dead film released in the theater was in 2013. It was a film that embraced the more horrific elements of the series and downplayed on the comedy. Evil Dead Rise is similar in that regard. In my opinion, it’s a huge strength as it delivers a terrifying carnival ride of a film.

This will be a spoiler-free Evil Dead Rise review for those that haven’t seen the film yet.

Evil Dead Rise is now in theaters.

Evil Dead Rise – Official Trailer (Green Band)

Story – The Dead Rises

Evil Dead Rise follows a family in Los Angeles who come by a sinister book. Curious about what the book entails, the family tries to open up and learn more about it, unknowingly unleashing an evil entity. Afterward, the family’s goal is to make it out of the apartment complex alive. There’s nothing complicated about the story here. The film has a short runtime, so not a whole lot is explored narratively in the film. That being said, there is a lot of Evil Dead lore here that fans of the franchise will be able to pick up on

Dead literally rises

Dead literally rises

That’s not to say that Evil Dead Rise doesn’t have any meat on its bone. It’s just not the main focus. What Evil Dead Rise does offer in return is pure gore and terror. For those that were hoping for some campiness, there isn’t a whole lot of that in this film. I personally preferred the terror a lot more than comedy as I feel like it can sometimes downplay some serious moments. It was never something I had to worry about here. The simplistic story works and lends more time to the director to focus on other aspects of the film.

Characters and Performances – Unusually Endearing

Most of the meat comes from the characters. After a brief introduction to the evil that the film centers around, we’re quickly introduced to Evil Dead Rise‘s main cast. They each had a moment at the beginning of the film that quickly went over their interests or beliefs. Kassie (Nell Fisher) for example cuts up dolls and uses them to ward off spirits while her brother Danny (Morgan Davies) dances to loud music. The final sister, Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) is the glue that holds them together while their mother, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), is stressing and preparing for the future. 

This family is in for one hell of a night

This family is in for one hell of a night

We’re introduced to these characters at a hectic time alongside Auntie Beth (Lily Sullivan) who visits her sister. Each one of these characters and the performances were great. Both sisters, Ellie, and Beth, each had the most to play around with out of the cast. Due to how the story plays out, these two characters change drastically from where they were at the start of the film. Their performances are terrifying and oftentimes desperate. They both easily carried this film and I loved every second they were on screen. If I had to choose though, I think I’d give the nudge to Alyssa though as I was always curious how her performance would go as the film went on. She was absolutely brilliant.

Pacing and Editing – Unnerving Stares

Evil Dead Rise moves at a quick pace and once the ball starts rolling, it doesn’t let up. Sitting at about an hour-and-a-half for runtime, it makes sense in a way. As there isn’t a whole lot of story, most of this runtime is essentially filled with nonstop gore and action. The pacing is a bit of a double-edged sword with one side being sharper than the other. While the quick pace makes the film fly by, there aren’t a whole lot of moments where we get much development for characters. We see enough of the characters to care about what happens to them but not enough to feel too sad about some of their fates.

This is one terrifying presence

This is one terrifying presence

What helps the movie also fly by is the editing of it. It’s a film that is stitched together almost perfectly. There aren’t a whole lot of jump scares here which means the film relies heavily on the terror presented on the screen. There aren’t many cuts. These twisted scenes are often lingered on but never feel overstayed. What needs to happen generally happens quickly. As the audience, you sometimes close your eyes or flinch at some of the moments wishing they’d go by even faster. It’s pure terror-inducing fun.

Cinematography and Sound – Deafening Bellow

The setting is a stark departure from the woods that Evil Dead fans are accustomed to. This time, the location takes place in an apartment complex in Los Ángeles on a rainy night. The idea of the film taking place in LA sells on the idea of a more populated and perhaps safe location as opposed to the woods. It isn’t though. Evil Dead Rise does a fantastic job of showcasing the apartment in a way that makes the streets seem safer. The building is darkly lit and worn out. It’s not completely abandoned, but there are vacancies that the other residents talk about adding to the sinister feeling you get when watching the film.

This place looks worse than the woods

This place looks worse than the woods

Another aspect of the film that adds to this sinister feeling throughout is the sound. At times, it’s aggressively loud. At first, I thought this was the theater itself, but it wasn’t. Most moments including dialogue were leveled correctly which means these often loud noises were on purpose and were used to add more tension to the already horrific scenes. Loud banging, screaming, and even shooting gave very little room for the often quieter moments in the film. And even in those quiet moments, there were still moments of dread due to the voices of the demons. 

Have you seen the film? Do you agree with this Evil Dead Rise review? Let us know!

This horror ride of a film immediately gets into the terror and doesn't let up for the entire runtime. It's a perfect return for the Evil Dead franchise as well as for returning fans or new ones. Although there are some moments where the film could have slowed down to flesh out characters, there's sufficient meat here to make you care enough about how the characters will fare.
  • Quick Fun Pace
  • Terrifying Kills
  • Brilliant Acting
  • High Tension
  • Little Character Interactions

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