Evil Dead Rise [Film Review]

Evil Dead Rise
Released: April 20th, 2023

Director: Lee Cronin
Starring: Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Nell Fisher, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies

The housing crisis spills into horror as the residents of an apartment block are being evicted so the building can be torn down. With only a month to get out and currently, no luck finding somewhere new to live, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) – a mum of three – is attempting to pack their life into boxes when her sister Beth (Lily Sullivan) arrives on her doorstep.

Beth has just found out she’s pregnant and comes to her sister for help, not realizing her sister has needed help herself over the past two months. Her husband walked out and thinks co-parenting is sending child support payments. Ellie sends the kids out to get pizza so they can talk when an earthquake hits, creating a sinkhole in the parking garage leading to the old bank vault below. Danny (Morgan Davies) immediately jumps down to have a look and sifts through a box of old documents where the aspiring DJ picks up three vinyl records from the 1920s. Another room has a giant Jesus statue and a tomb-like structure with hundreds of crucifixes hung above it. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would leave this alone but it’s a horror movie so obviously, it needs investigating and anything found must be taken home and that’s just what Danny did.

Back inside their apartment, Danny goes straight to his room and is not at all bothered by the fact this book seems to be made of flesh or that it has teeth and hastily attempts to pry it open before cutting himself, then listens to the records and BAM…the shit is hitting the fan and his poor mother is the first victim. Horror movies are a great advertisement for birth control. Children will be the death of you.

The film grabs your attention instantly with it’s delightfully gory opening sequence as we watch three young adults having a weekender in the wilderness which ends in bloody mutilations and possibly the coolest title reveal ever, but then the story lags a bit as we backtrack to the night before and what led to the latest round of demon possessions. It’s a bit like REC meets Evil Dead with the apartment block setting but I’m guessing they have amazing sound insulation if nobody on the other floors could hear what was happening. Speaking of sound – this movie is really fucking loud! Not jump scare loud, just all over loud. I have never been to a movie screening and wished I’d had earplugs before.

I don’t normally bitch about trailers but I really wish movie companies would stop showing us all of the best parts a film has to offer, because something like the grater scene should have had me writhing in my seat with empathy pains, but because I knew it was coming it wasn’t as effective and in general doesn’t leave much to be wowed by when you watch the actual movie. It’s a cool movie, it just would have been a whole lot cooler if something was left to shock me.

Director Lee Cronin has shaken things up, taking the evil out of the woods and dumping it into the city where the victims are potentially endless, while also staying respectful to the films that came before with references to both Sam Raimi and Fede Alvarez versions of Evil Dead. While the plot seemed to have a lot going on in the first act with no resolve – such as the relevancy of Beth’s pregnancy which seems to inflict a heap of pain without a demon around and why a bank vault is hoarding items that should most definitely be in the Vatican basement – there is no faulting Lee’s genius for the sheer amount of creative brutality against his characters. Projectile vomiting, gallons and gallons of blood and literally no body part is off limits. Something is bound to make you cringe!

Review by Katie Torrance
Rating: 4/5

Evil Dead Rise is in cinemas this Thursday, April 20th through Warner Bros.
Grab your tickets here

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