Lee Cronin‘s Evil Dead Rise takes the Sam Raimi’s horror franchise to all new places, and there’s no rhyme or reason behind it. There’s no mention of the deadites, and some new world building has me believing they’ve existed since time immemorial! Even though plenty of character and visual aesthetics from the classic exist in this latest, they felt tacked on than worked into the tale.
A certain formula has to be followed. Characters have to be introduced, the Naturom Demonto needs to be found, and the terror gets awakened. The early movies didn’t go far in terms of what it means to unleash the demons in the psychological sense, but here, we’re treated to a deeper story:
Beth (Lily Sullivan) is pregnant, and she hopes to get some help from her sister. Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) may well not be the right person. She’s a single mother raising three kids–Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher). She’s not without her problems too; her husband left her, and if that’s not enough, the L.A. apartment she lives in is condemned, and she really should move.
After an earthquake opens up a concealed chamber, what’s hidden there shouldn’t have been removed! Danny doesn’t know better, but yes, it’s easy to blame him for the chaos that’s soon to come. In fact, this movie is unrelenting in terms of wanting to make me squirm! Sulliven is great when she turns, but ultimately, I thought I was watching a horror movie version of The Joker (from Batman) than scared of her being a Deadite.
When compared to the original, which was more of a traditional let’s scare the socks off the viewer’s feet, this film follows all the beats–including all the familiar fancy camera tricks. As for adding to it, I recognised the bits from The Shining and perhaps even Hellraiser. It didn’t make for a better film. I really wanted more out of this work than what was presented. Since we were given a tease with the 2013 take about Ash (Bruce Campbell) possibly returning after the credits, that went elsewhere with the excellent television series. Although that’s probably off canon, I’m glad more cinematic work is planned as long as Sam Raimi is executive producing.
As for all the backstory that’s revealed, we do hear Campbell’s voice, but it’s not the same character! All I can hope for is that we have more details unfold in the same vein as Ghostbusters: Afterlife. I like to know about all that’s been done to stop the deadites from destroying the world in the past rather than the future. Cronin’s script implies groups throughout time have attempted to summon the dead, only to find they can’t be controlled.
Although what’s presented is a different kind of demonic apocalypse without the seminal character involved (for now), will that lead to a unified front where Beth will find others who have conquered their demons, so to speak? While this work is a change of pace for the franchise, it no longer has the Campbell charm. That is, there’s no sugar in that camp to make this continuation a certified hit.
3 Stars out of 5