The unholy words of the Necronomicon have been spoken once again, unleashing a new reign of Deadites in Evil Dead Rise, the next chapter in the war on evil. Gas up your chainsaw, load your boomstick, and come get some!
Official Synopsis: A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose 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.
Where normally we would dissect the plot of the movie more, in the case of Evil Dead Rise, this is a film that you need to go in spoiler free. We are not going to talk about major plot elements or disturbing scenes showcased in the film but there are, of course, elements to the film that one should expect from an Evil Dead film.
If you’re familiar with the Evil Dead franchise, you know you’re in for a wicked wild ride. Evil Dead Rise wastes no time plunging the viewer into the sinister world of the Evil Dead.
While Evil Dead Rise does borrow some of the old formula of the previous installments, including the confined space, it also introduces enough new elements to keep things fresh for fans of the franchise.
For instance, instead of being locked in a cellar, our primary Deadite is locked out of the apartment. Even though elements of the film are similar to what we have seen before in the franchise, Evil Dead Rise manages to deliver its own take on the story while staying true to what has made this franchise so unique. It hits the right balance of familiarity and freshness for Evil Dead fans.
The film focuses on Beth, who has come to visit her sister Ellie in the soon to be condemned Los Angeles apartment complex where Ellie lives with her three children. This claustrophobic setting, though different from the familiar cabin in the woods, effectively keeps the characters in one location as they find themselves trapped within the apartment. The apartment building allows for a new, creative twist on the isolation and paranoia essential to any Evil Dead story.
Like all Evil Dead films, an ancient evil is unleashed through the reading of the forbidden text – in this case, one of three Necronomicons. The film pays tribute to the lore introduced in Army of Darkness, in which it was revealed that there are three books. That means that the book in Evil Dead Rise is not the same book featured in the original film.
The revelation that this particular Necronomicon is different from the ones featured in the previous films opens up many possibilities for expanding the Evil Dead universe. This twist adds layers of depth to the Evil Dead mythology in a way that feels consistent yet fresh. What other mysteries does this Necronomicon hold? The possibilities are intriguing and unsettling.
It also leads to the idea that this film is part of the canon of the Evil Dead universe instead of a stand-alone installment. This isn’t simply a reimaging of the story but, rather, the first chapter in the introduction of another Necronomicon, one that had been safely hidden away while its compatriots have been racking up the body count.
Similar to all installments, a recording of the inscriptions inside the infamous Book of the Dead is played and, as one priest points out in the film, it’s called the Book of the Dead for a reason. (Make sure you pay close attention to the voices on the recording, as one of them will surprise you.)
And once these words are uttered, a familiar evil is unleashed on these poor, unsuspecting souls, with Ellie becoming the unwilling host in a scene that delivers a unique twist on a familiar scene.
After becoming possessed, Ellie stumbles back into the apartment in a scene showcased in the film’s trailer and, once she arrives, Evil Dead Rise has no pause button. It never stops long enough to let the viewer take a breather. If you are somebody who covers their eyes during the scary stuff and only looks when the moment has passed, then you will be covering your eyes from this point on.
And, that being said, the film wastes little time introducing the book and the hell that follows with it. From the cold opening, which introduces us to a group of friends in a cabin (because, try as you might, it’s not Evil Dead without a cabin scene), to the introduction of our primary characters, to the discovery and reading of the book, you’ll find that Evil Dead Rise utilizes its run time.
Most people will compare Evil Dead Rise to 2013’s Evil Dead. This will likely be due to the serious and darker nature of the film, as opposed to some of the other previous installments in the franchise, such as Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, which leaned heavily into a more comedic take on the story, especially the latter.
And, well, attempting to compare this film to the original 1981 The Evil Dead would just be impossible as no film in the franchise will ever be able to compare to the film that started it all.
While this film does take on a serious tone, it also shouldn’t be compared to the previous films because it shows it has the ability to stand on its own while also paying homage to the Evil Dead films before it. This is evident through the multiple easter eggs spread throughout the film.
The film is packed with disturbing imagery, cringe-worthy moments, and Deadites galore. It proves itself as a worthy installment in the franchise. While Evil Dead Rise won’t dethrone the first three installments in the franchise, because nothing can compare to the original trilogy, this film is a worthy addition to the franchise and will hopefully serve as the first chapter in a brand-new trilogy. With this new book and evil out in the world, the possibilities for future films and an ever-expanding Evil Dead Universe are opened up.
While Beth will never be able to replace Ash Williams, she proves that she knows her way around a chainsaw (because it’s not Evil Dead without a chainsaw).
Overall, Evil Dead Rise accomplishes what any successful sequel should: it builds upon the source material that audiences love while also bringing something new to the table. The result is a fresh take on a classic franchise that will leave fans hungry for more. Evil Dead Rise provides gory evidence that evil’s reign will continue to rise again and again.
Make sure you check out Evil Dead Rise but be careful you leave with your soul intact.