Evil Dead Rise
evil dead rise | lee cronin | lily sullivan | nell fisher | alyssa sutherland | possession | possessed | ritual | remake | the evil dead | united states | new zealand | ireland | mirabai pease | richard crouchley | anna-maree thomas | noah paul | gabrielle echols | demon
Film: Evil Dead Rise
Director: Lee Cronin
Writer: Lee Cronin
Starring: Lily Sullivan, Nell Fisher and Alyssa Sutherland
This is a movie I was both intrigued by and excited for. The former because I heard this was going to be a continuation of sorts to the Evil Dead series. I’ll get back to what I think there. I was eager about this prospect. This was one that I saw at the Gateway Film Center during opening weekend as well. I’ve also given it a second watch on Max for my end of year list as well.
Synopsis: a twisted tale of two estranged sisters who reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.
We start this off at a lake house. Hanging out there is Teresa (Mirabai Pease) along with Caleb (Richard Crouchley) and his girlfriend Jessica (Anna-Maree Thomas). The latter is cousins of the former. What was supposed to be a fun weekend turns into a nightmare. We then shift one day into the past to find out how the events led to what they did.
Beth (Lily Sullivan) is in town and works as a guitar tech for a band. She learns that she is pregnant. It doesn’t seem planned. She seeks the aid of her sister, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland). Her sister lives with her three children, Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). They have problems of their own though. The building they’re living in is rundown and set to be demolished. They don’t have a new place to go yet.
The sister shows up to spend time with her family and figure out what she should do about her situation. What she learns though is that her sister has problems of her own. She can’t just drop them to help her like she usually does. Ellie’s husband left her so that makes things worse.
When this night doesn’t seem like it could get any worse. An earthquake hits. The children were out to get pizza and in the parking garage when it happened. It opens a hole in the ground. The building used to be a bank before being converted into apartments. Danny goes down there and finds odd items. There are a few records being kept in a safety deposit box. He also discovers what looks like a tomb with crosses and other religious items. There is a hole in the bottom and he reaches in. He finds an odd book inside. He takes these items when he shouldn’t.
Back up in the apartment, the family settles in. Danny and Bridget try to open the book, but it needs blood. He decides to listen to the record. What he doesn’t realize is that he unleashes supernatural forces. Their existence then becomes an even worse nightmare when they’re trapped on this floor.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start with my breakdown is that this isn’t a sequel in my opinion. This is more of another remake/reboot. We are introducing different lore while having nods and homages to the series here. That’s not to say that I hated this. If anything, this feels more like a hybrid of Sam Raimi’s films with the remake.
I’ll get then into why I think this. We have a new take on Necronomicon. There’s even a different name. It doesn’t have a face on the cover. It does have these teeth or claw-like things on the side. Danny cuts himself and his blood causes it to open. It also seems to pay homage to the original and sequel where those had tape recordings being played. This has the records. I did like that touch. What is interesting is that it seems like religious figures did the translations, which also is a solid change. They had this material locked away and was forgotten. It makes me think that the forces at play here had a hand in the earthquake to free them. That goes back to things happening in the original.
It is from there that we get a brutal movie. This is where it feels like the remake to me with how far it goes. That’s not to say that The Evil Dead or the sequel don’t have this. Just not on the level of the remake. This version also has a family instead of just a group of friends. There is an added dimension that the mother saying horrible things to her children. It also makes it harder for them to hurt those that are possessed. This also has another wrinkle. I like the characters better here so that makes me feel bad when things happen to them. That goes for the remake, not the original series. I’m not as annoyed with how the summoning happens either.
I think then I should go over to what works the best here, which is the effects. I’m assuming that we are getting a combination of practical and CGI. It looked to me that they went heavier with the practical with the latter there to enhance. Looking at the poster, I assumed that the smile was done with CGI so I was worried. Watching this, I don’t think that is the case. The poster just looks that way. I was impressed with the effects. They made me cringe with different things that they did. If there was CGI, then it is fine. It didn’t stand out or hold anything back. I also thought that the cinematography was good. They paid homage to the movies of the past with how the camera moves. They also use this to make the audience think one thing and go another. That made me smile. Other than that, I think the soundtrack fit what was needed. The creepiness of the voices of the possessed was good. The use of the record adds another touch as well.
All that is left to go into would be the acting. I think that our family is good. They are distinct characters. I don’t dislike any of them. They also play being possessed well when needed. This includes Sullivan, Sutherland, Echols, Davies and Fisher. I’d also say that Billy Reynolds-McCarthy, Tai Wano, Jayden Daniels and Mark Mitchinson are solid as neighbors. Pease, Crouchley and Thomas also set the tone with their cold open as well.
In conclusion, this is a fun and gory re-imagining of a classic. This feels like it is borrowing the dark elements of the original series and combining aspects of the brutality to the previous remake. I don’t mind this setting up the new lore, but I did hear that this was going to be a sequel of sorts. I’m curious if we will get another to bridge that. Something I didn’t even bring up was setting this in a high rise. One drawback is that I think they should have utilized more of the floors. I digress there though. I did like the fact that we have a good reason for a limited cast. The performances are good. The effects are on point and this is well-made. I just enjoyed my time here. I would recommend this to horror fans for sure.
My Rating: 8 out of 10