The Evil Dead series successfully resurrects itself yet again for its fifth iteration
I’ll admit it: I’m a fraud. Prior to watching “Evil Dead Rise,” I hadn’t seen a single one of the movies in the “Evil Dead” series, let alone watched three whole seasons of the associated TV show. Still, I can appreciate a good bout of over-the-top hacking and slashing just like any other “Evil Dead” fan, and “Evil Dead Rise” sure did deliver.
“Evil Dead Rise” follows Beth (Lily Sullivan) and Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), along with Ellie’s three children, as they battle the forces of hell unleashed upon the land by an evil book, the Necronomicon. Along the way, there is plenty of eyeball popping, limb hacking, blood gushing and corpse burning as Beth desperately tries to save Ellie’s children after Ellie is possessed and turned into a walking, talking murder machine.
I went into this movie blind, with absolutely no sense of what to expect. From the opening scene one thing caught my eye: the movie looks good. I don’t know what magic cinematographer Dave Garbett cast on this movie but the camera work and shots are actually pretty decent. They capture the feel of the movie pretty well, with appropriate use of crooked Dutch angles and lighting which fits the dark tone of the film.
First things first: this film features a horrifying amount of gore throughout, making use of an impressive 6,000 pounds of the stuff to fantastic effect. Furthermore, the gore is pretty realistic and impactful. It isn’t just for the shock factor. “Evil Dead Rise” incorporates gratuitous amounts of gore into various scenes, like in a scene where a character almost drowns in blood as bodies pile up in a hallway.
So, action - check, over-the-top gore - check, but what about the actual story? Well, after watching “Evil Dead Rise” with the utmost attention, I can definitively conclude that it does indeed have a plot, albeit a quite confused and bog-standard one.
The story is just okay, with events seeming to just happen conveniently as the plot needs them to happen. For example, the Deadite possessing Ellie conveniently forgets that there were other ways to get into her own apartment building other than the front door. Additionally, as much as the film focused on violent deaths and gore, endlessly throwing side character after side character into a meat grinder didn’t really make for the most interesting dialogue.
This brings us to the screenplay, which leaves much to be desired. The children are much too calm about the whole situation, given that their mother just turned into a literal zombie who is actively turning their neighbors into mystery meat. The lines from the undead can also be a bit over the top. When zombies are trying to slut-shame the main character into submission, I think something in the script has gone wrong.
The acting is also not the greatest. Aside from Sullivan and Sutherland -- who do excellent jobs at portraying both the hero and villain of the story -- the other children aren’t great at showing natural emotions. Their performances feel forced, and especially emotional scenes feel off with the children around.
That said, I don’t think anybody was going to see “Evil Dead Rise” expecting “Citizen Kane”. The movie is a bloody mess, and it was made to be that way. While there’s no denying the script is sloppy and the plot full of holes, the movie is still brainless, gory fun.
“Evil Dead Rise” is basically just one long extended bloodbath, with various references to demons and fisticuffs galore. “Evil Dead Rise” is best enjoyed (quite fittingly) by turning your brain off and just enjoying the flying body parts and pasta sauce on screen.
“Evil Dead Rise” was released on Apr. 21 and is now playing in theaters, including Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX.
Alexander Liu. Hi, I'm Alex (he/him) and I'll be a staff writer for SCO this year. I'm passionate about public policy and international relations. In my free time, I enjoy drawing and watching terrible rom-coms. More »