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Review: Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Directed by: Lee Cronin

Premise: A reboot of the Evil Dead series. A family living in an apartment building discovers an ancient book of demonic incantations. They must fight to survive an assault of evil spirits.

What Works: Evil Dead Rise is a new incarnation of the horror series. It does not appear to be connected to the original Evil Dead film series nor is it associated with the 2013 remake. However, the filmmakers understand the appeals of the series. Evil Dead has never been about metaphors or explorations of the human condition. The films have historically been gory thrill rides and that’s what the filmmakers deliver here. Evil Dead Rise is intense with plenty of ghastly shocks. The new film has a few great make up effects especially when the evil is unleashed and the mother of the family is possessed. The filmmakers also demonstrate some audacity by putting a family, including children, into harm’s way. Evil Dead Rise puts some emphasis on its characters, more so than the original picture, and the family feels real. The complex relationship between the adult sisters (Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan) gives the family some sense of history and actress Nell Fisher impresses as the youngest of the siblings. Comedy was a distinguishing quality of the original Evil Dead series. Evil Dead Rise isn’t as broadly funny as Sam Raimi’s pictures but it does possess a morbid sense of humor that enhances the horror.

What Doesn’t: Evil Dead Rise is vicious and gory but the film is not very scary. The film doesn’t create an atmosphere of dread. There’s very little tension in between the outbreaks of violence. The movie is a barrage of violent episodes that becomes monotonous. There’s little sense of escalation. Evil Dead Rise also fails to scare because of the lighting choices. The movie often looks murky and has a washed-out color palette that’s not very interesting to look at and muddles the action. As the fifth movie in this series, it is incumbent on Evil Dead Rise to do something new with the material. Aside from changing the location, the new film adds very little to the formula. Once again, a recording of the Necronomicon resurrects the evil and a group of people fight off a siege of possessed beings. It all feels rote. We’ve seen this before and done better.

Bottom Line: Evil Dead Rise is an Evil Dead movie. It provides viewers with exactly what they’d expect from this franchise. The filmmakers don’t even try to do anything new. It doesn’t have the unique sensibility of the original film nor does it expand the series as Army of Darkness did but Evil Dead Rise competently and successfully accomplishes what it’s trying to do.

Episode: #946 (April 30, 2023)