‘Evil Dead Rise’ – Review
It’s time to fear the dark because the Deadites are back, and bringing the blood-curdling horror that is certain to make you shiver and squirm in Evil Dead Rise, an all-new re-imagining of the Evil Dead franchise that amps up the gore factor!
In the fifth Evil Dead film, a road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment. The sisters’ reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie’s building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons, and thrusting Beth into a primal battle for survival as she is faced with the most nightmarish version of motherhood imaginable.
Regarded as a cult classic of the horror genre, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is a franchise that fans continually return to again and again. And with every sitting a new level of horror awaits. Now Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin brings a fresh and brutal approach to the franchise that re-energises it for a fresh audience and takes the terror of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to a whole new level. Both writing and directing, Cronin sets Evil Dead Rise up as a classic siege movie as a single family has to deal with the consequences of the Deadites full-on. And it’s a horrific and emotional rollercoaster of a picture.
When it comes to the horror, Cronin doesn’t muck about and within the opening frames of this picture, the director gets down to business with the butchery. From here the narrative builds quickly, and it’s a creepy and unnerving watch as the demons come out. And they’ll be plenty of moments for the audience to jump. But Cronin doesn’t just take a horror for pure shock value tact, there’s a narrative at work in this picture and his incorporation of the grimy, dirty art location courtesy of art director Nick Connor and the freakish cinematography of Dave Garbett help to amp up the chilling nature of the picture. While not wanting to run into spoilers, I will also say that Cronin’s twisted level of creativity also needs to be praised and this is a picture that literally ‘gets under your skin’.
Caught in the centre of Evil Dead Rise are actresses Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland as estranged sisters Beth and Ellie. And both of them are in for a hell of a trip with this picture. Sullivan is rebellious rock girl Beth, who when faced with an unexpected revelation surprises Ellie while rocking up at her door. Both Sullivan and Sutherland undergo quite a transformation in this picture, and Sutherland becomes one hell of a crazed and brutal figure when she succumbs to the power of the Deadites, and she’s one hell of a mommy monster! Sullivan’s Beth on the other hand has to find her ‘momma bear’ quickly in order to combat her cursed undead sister, and soon all hell breaks loose!
While the focus of Evil Dead Rise is its unrestricted horror, there is a strong thematic overtone and exploration of motherhood and its ideals. This is especially prevalent in the character of the rebellious Beth who thrust into the most demonic of situations has to call upon all of her strength of will and maternal instinct to rise to the occasion, chainsaw in hand. Cronin and his team also dissect the evil feminine of the ‘possessive mother’ with regards to the undead Ellie, who having been consumed by the Deadites is willing to literally drag her children to hell along with her. This thematic subtext keeps Evil Dead Rise interesting and elevates it above any mere horror film which is only concerned with the shocks and scares.
But it wouldn’t be Evil Dead Rise without a good serving of blood and guts, and this film is simply a piece of cinematic gore overload. As reported by Cronin, over 6,000 litres of fake blood were used throughout production, and it shows! The horror factor is maxed out in Evil Dead Rise and there are plenty of moments that will lead audiences to squirm, chief amongst them the ‘cheese grater’ scene that let out an inaudible shiver from the audience. And it’s a pretty gross moment. And this being an Evil Dead movie, well there’s some good ol’fashion broomstick fun, along with the presence of a very mean chainsaw….and do heads roll.
Evil Dead Rise is one gnarly midnight watch that horror fans will eat up, and get ready for the nightmares because I can tell you, these demons will really haunt your dreams.
Image: Warner Brothers Pictures