Director: Lee Cronin
Cast: Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Nell Fisher, Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols , Anna-Maree Thomas, Mirabai Pease, Jayden Daniels , Richard Crouchley, Billy Reynolds-McCarthy, Tai Wano
Runtime: 1 hr 37 mins
Rating: R21 (Violence and Gore)
Released By: Warner Bros
Opening Day: 20 April 2023
Synopsis: Moving the action out of the woods and into the city, "Evil Dead Rise" tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, played by Sutherland and Sullivan, 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.
A random voice from the shadows of the cinema piped in over the end credits, "One of the best Mother's Day movie, lah!" There's nothing more flawed and perfect than families and the latest addition to the Evil Dead film series depicts it gorily well.
Evil Dead Rise shadows a maladjusted family that goes about their day-to-day life and their monotonous evening is interrupted by a guest and an earthquake before the Book of the Dead, also known as Necronomicon, is discovered. Road-weary Beth (Lily Sullivan) pays an overdue visit to her big sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) who’s a single mom with three kids (Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols and Nell Fisher) residing in a cramped LA apartment.
Let’s delve deeper to deliberate if it’s a mediocre horror or balls to the walls kind of horror?
The evil unfurls in a cabin in the woods where the entire mood of the quick-paced family gore fest is established, before moving into the city. Looks like horrors are now rooting for an upgrade where they move out of the woods and into the city, endorsing a closer-to-home feel which we absolutely have no qualms about.
Many horror movies present an underlining subtext that covers real world issues. This fifth generation of the 1981 horror classic reflects on the hardships faced by a single mother and how the head of the household can be mentally, emotionally, physically and, ahem, spiritually taxed. It’s no joke that even in a possessed state, mothers would take the time out to whip up a meal for their darling kids. Now, that’s a mother! But with the price eggs now, that one scene in the kitchen was extra disturbing to be honest. So, if you have been complaining about your mum as of late, think again.
Speaking of which, Alyssa Sutherland kicks it out of the park when embodying the mother's role. The Vikings actress’s sinister smile and uncanny demeanour accentuated by her elfin features make her the pick of the bunch to play this particular role. Lily Sullivan does an equally outstanding job in slipping on the final girl's boots and not forgetting Nell Fisher who steals every scene that she's part of. Big props to the rest of the cast who execute remarkably well in fending off the deadeds. Coming to which, Morgan Davis who plays Danny, an intuitive teen that sights the Necronomicon in the depths of a bank vault, is the first transgender in a mainstream horror film.
Even though this latest instalment of the iconic horror by Sam Raimi doesn’t come with chock-full of horrific jump scares, it has the perfect measure of possession, gore at its core and light-to-moderate humour set in a new city scape to satiate a true-blue horror fan, thus making it still an Evil Dead movie at its core. And in the same vein, you can’t possibly have an Evil Dead film without the chainsaw, can you?
While the plot predominantly unfolds in the apartment building that once housed a bank, thankfully it doesn’t get too claustrophobic. The dark and dingy interiors of the LA apartment lends an urban decay feel with the colour tones that set the moods up for some ominous, not- your-everyday event.
What makes this 96-minute American supernatural number stand out from the rest of the Evil Dead franchise is, it tugs at our heartstrings and makes us feel bad for the family, which we aren't related to in any way, shape or form. Why? That’s because, if it can happen to an unassuming person coming from a broken home trying to make ends meet, then neither of us are safe. And that sticks with us even after the movie.
On a somewhat lighter note, let's take a moment to appreciate the title card. Evil Dead Rise has one of the dope title card that boasts unsettling imageries combined with sounds that pierce right through us.
Another note-worthy aspect of the requel would be, although it may appeal to both first time casual fans and franchise ‘loyals’, they've used more than 1700 gallons of fake blood in the making of this film and if you aren't good with blood and puke-inducing scenes, it would be best to show yourself out. That's because you need to buckle up for truckloads of haunting convulsions, projectile vomit and bloodbaths.
With the shaky POV cam, blood-soaked recreational activities with glass, bizarre-coloured bodily fluids and the elevator scene, Lee Cronin definitely understood the assignment. It doesn’t exactly take us back to the other Evil Dead movies for comparison purposes, but it does pay homage to the previous instalments.
If you haven’t clapped for a trailer in a long time, now’s the right time to put your paws together for this one. The timeless classic, Que Sera, Sera that plays in the background sets the tone for the entire runtime by offering us a hint of the subject matter. And if you feel that everything is spoilt for you in the trailer itself, you stand absolutely corrected!
And whoever wrote the dialogues need a bloody (pun intended) cookie, for they were dripping heavy with sarcasm, wit and pure evil. There is a difference between good horror and evil horror and this intense flick has straight-up savage demonic lines (with some feeling Stephen-Kingy) interweaved into the plot that best represents the latter. If you are craving a horror number that will snap you out of clichés once in a bloody moon, this is it!
(Invite yourself to the reunion of the ill-fated sisters and meet the mother of all evils. The gorier the merrier, isn’t it?)
Review by Asha Gizelle Mariadas