Film Review: Evil Dead Rise (2023)

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Todd Martin 05/13/2023 Film Reviews


A woman’s reunion with her sister (and her sister’s kids) sours after her sister is possessed by a demon and proceeds to go on a homicidal rampage.


I was so hyped to see Evil Dead Rise after I saw the creepy teaser and was even more excited after I saw the official trailer the next day. I have always been a huge fan of the Evil Dead movies (the first one legitimately scared the piss out of me when I first saw it as a kid) and thought the newest installment looked nothing short of amazing. My expectations were mighty high for it, so I went to see it on opening night hoping it wouldn’t let me down. It didn’t and I dug it for the most part, but at the same time I realized it wasn’t without its flaws.

The premise is basic, but it’s fun at the same time. Beth goes to see her sister Ellie and her family and before you know it, Ellie is possessed after one of her kids finds the Necronomican and before you know it, all hell breaks loose, and the bodies start piling up. I thought it was cool that the people beahind it changed the location from a cabin in the woods to a high- rise apartment building in the big city, and immediately it made me think of Demons 2 (which I love) that takes place in pretty much the same setting. While we do have a few scenes that take place at a cabin, the majority of the film takes place at the apartment complex where the characters and their neighbors live, and I thought that this was a great choice as it makes things a little bit different from the other movies. It was refreshing seeing this movie take place in a totally different location and it works for the most part.

One of the biggest strengths of the movie is the fact that it is violent and bloody as Hel. Ellie doesn’t play around when she takes out her victims and I had a blast watching her go to work. The death scenes are quite awesome (the one involving her ripping out someone’s eyeball with her teeth comes to mind), and the gore and blood is outstanding. If you’re a gore hound like me you won’t be disappointed, and I’m actually surprised that they got away with an R rating at times as things get more than a little brutal more than once (cheese grater, anyone?).  If you are a fan of blood and fun death scenes (as well as mostly practical effects as opposed to crappy CGI) you will be totally satisfied with Evil Dead Rise.

I also really dug the characters as well. Lily Sullivan does an awesome job as Beth, and you can’t help but root for her and want her to make it out alive. The same can be said for Alyssa Sutherland, who absolutely rules as the film’s unwitting antagonist Lillie. Sutherland is amazing and it is obvious that she had a blast bringing the character to life. I also liked her kids Danny and Bridget, but the real -stand out when it comes to her offsprings is Nell Fisher, who plays the youngest daughter Kassie. This kid is adorable (especially because of the lisp she has), and unlike most kids that appear in horror films she isn’t annoying. Unlike Newt from Aliens, Kassie just doesn’t stand around and scream at the top of her lungs and is actually likable. I also thought that neighbors that appeared in the movie were good too, and I wish that they had done more with them as it is obvious as soon as we meet them that they are just there to be fodder. In general, I cared about these characters and wanted them to survive, and there isn’t a single unlikable one in the entire film if you ask me.

On the downside, the movie isn’t without its issues. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I was hoping that it would be and I thought that it would at least creep me out a little bit, but it didn’t. I also thought that the whole pregnancy subplot with Beth was unnecessary, and the stuff that takes place at the cabin in the beginning (and toward the end) could have been taken out completely and it wouldn’t have mattered because it doesn’t really add anything to the movie in general. Speaking of the ending, it felt really rushed and forced to me and it seemed like Lee Cronin-the writer/director-was struggling to find a way to connect what happened at the apartment to what happens at the cabin and could have done a better job finding a way to connect the two.

Overall, though, I really dug Evil Dead Rise. It was a lot of fun for the most part and I loved all the little nods to the previous movies that pop up from time to time. While it does have its problems, they are nothing major and didn’t prevent me from enjoying the movie in general, and I have a feeling that a lot of other viewers out there will feel the same way. If you are a fan of the Evil Dead movies, you will no doubt enjoy it as it is a fine contribution to the series if you ask me. Check it out when you get a chance, you will definitely have a good time with it.

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