17th Jul2023

‘Evil Dead Rise’ Blu-ray Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher, Alyssa Sutherland, Lilly Sullivan | Written and Directed by Lee Cronin

Evil Dead Rise doesn’t do anything to reinvent the wheel or try anything too groundbreaking but reminds us how fun an Evil Dead film can be. It takes us back into the world and shows the horrors of demonic possession, keeping the blood thirty delights of the original. It may be nothing new, but Evil Dead Rise is another good entrance into the world that Sami Raimi built 42 years ago.

This time around the cabin in the woods is swapped for an apartment block in LA. The premise almost remains the same, however. You find a book bound in human flesh and open it, what’s the worst that can happen? Well, that’s exactly what the characters here find out. Three siblings (Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, and Nell Fisher) living with their single mother (Alyssa Sutherland) discover a demonic vault buried beneath their apartment block. Naturally, one of the three siblings investigates and discovers not only the flesh-bound book, but a handy set of vinyl to go along with them. The vinyls are the audiobook version of the demonic book, so the eldest of the three siblings decides it’s time to give them a listen. The voice that echoes through the speakers summons the demon eye POV shot we’ve seen before, it races into the apartment block where it finds the sibling’s mother. From there chaos ensues and the siblings, along with their aunt (Lilly Sullivan) must fight for their survival.

Evil Dead Rise takes a premise we’ve seen before and drags it away from the deep woods and throws it into the depths of the city. Suddenly this demonic world that only happens to people foolish enough to book a trip away to a lone cabin in the woods soon becomes something that can happen right where you live. It brings a whole new level of fear to the series and situation (one that’s been in many more horrors than Evil Dead). The location not only provides new thrills but new kills. All those household tools that are just lying around make a hell of a weapon in the hands of a demon. With all the wine glasses, scissors, and cheese graters, it turns out nothing is off limits and nothing gets left to the imagination. There was always a sense with the original Evil Dead movies that whatever crazy disturbing things you could think of, can now be shown in a movie. Time after time in the original you’ll find yourself questioning if they’re really showing you what you’re seeing, and if they’re allowed to show you that. Now in Evil Dead Rise they continue that legacy, and the kills keep on coming. They get bigger and bigger, gorier and gorier, taking every new scene to the next level. So, just when you think you’ve seen it all, Evil Dead Rise shocks you again. It also has enough subtext to not just be all about those gruesome kills. It has its voice to tell us about motherhood, and bonds of family, and just how far those bonds will have to go to survive.

There are also enough callbacks throughout for fans of the originals to be satisfied, and enough for new fans to jump right in without seeing anything before. Without spoiling too much there are two performances of demonic possession that will make your stomach crawl. Added to those performances are some of the best makeup and visual effects in any recent horror movie. Together it creates a truly terrifying onslaught of horror, one you’ll find yourself asking how anyone will possibly survive this bloodthirsty night, and if they’ll all be dead by dawn. The other highlight was the demon summoning scene itself. The sound mixing and editing through the scene created one of the most haunting scenes I’ve seen this year. One that I can’t stop thinking about. The scene itself possesses you from the moment you’re locked in it, and you’re not sure whether the demon will lock itself onto a character in the film, or to you.

It’s a new start for the series that takes it away from the woods and shows these horrors can manifest themselves anywhere. Meaning nowhere is safe. The world of Evil Dead has always been an exciting one and although this breaks no new ground, it’s a great time that has something for every horror fan. The only question that remains now is where does the series go next? Evil Dead on a boat? On a train? In hotel? Exactly where will the Book of the Dead open next? I can’t wait to find out.


  • Exclusive audio commentary with director Lee Cronin
  • Lee Cronin’s short film Ghost Train

**** 4/5

Evil Dead Rise is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD.


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