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Evil Dead Rise (2023) Review

This is a review for the 2023 movie “Evil Dead Rise”. The fifth instalment in the Evil Dead franchise, coming ten years after the 2013 reboot – Evil Dead Rise continues the trend of creating a movie that leaves you feeling like you need to take a long shower.

What is Evil Dead Rise about?

Evil Dead Rise takes the Evil Dead story out of the woods and into Los Angeles. It’s the same formula as most of the previous movies. Everything is normal until somebody finds a terrible book and accidentally releases a terrible evil. Typically, the cast of this movies has been a group of friends on a trip in the woods. Rise spins this on its head – instead giving us a loving family in a rundown apartment complex. Instead of frat bros as cannon fodder, we have children. What hasn’t changed, however, is the level of gore. This movie is impressively vile.

If you haven’t already visited the Evil Dead franchise, you may want to consult our article detailing what to watch before you delve into the latest entry.

Where does this movie sit in the wider franchise?

This is the second movie in the franchise to not be directed by Sam Raimi, with Lee Cronin in the directors chair. There’s a lot less humour than the original trilogy, but it doesn’t ever feel like this film has forgotten its roots. It takes itself seriously, but there is an element of silliness and camp to the whole thing.

As a whole, it’s difficult to characterize the Evil Dead franchise. All four previous instalments are very different from each other. The Evil Dead (1981) was a kind of serious, but goofy horror movie. Evil Dead II (1987) was a goofy, but kind of horrific movie. Army of Darkness (1992) was just a straight-up comedy, with lots of gore. Then the soft reboot in 2013 went for a more serious horror movie, but with some comedic undertones and references to the past.

Evil Dead Rise feels like it takes itself slightly more seriously than the 2013 remake. It, also, doesn’t include quite as many call-backs to previous instalments, which was a risky move to take – but it works.

For more on how this movie compares to previous entries, check out our Evil Dead ranking.

Evil Dead Rise (2023) Review

Evil Dead Rise is an excellent horror movie.

It opens with a bang, giving us a classic taste of Evil Dead action before pulling back and introducing us to our main cast. The first act of this movie, before things start going wrong, was surprisingly fun. Despite the lack of horror, it was clear from watching what was going to come. You’d see a pair of scissors pushed under a desk and know that would come back later. You’d spot a wood chipper in the parking lot and you’d know what vile things were coming later in the movie. Not only that, but the cast were genuinely very likeable and the bond between the siblings felt believable. It hurt, somewhat, knowing that they were about to get put through hell (quite literally).

Once the action starts, it doesn’t take a break. Viewers are presented with creative gory set-piece after creative gory set-piece. Nothing quite impacted me as significantly as some of the worst parts of the 2013 remake, but it came close – which is impressive. There’s no reliance on jump-scares, not that the series has ever had that problem, but it remains scary throughout.

The only part that left me slightly disappointed was the ending. A big part of the joy with previous entries of this series is when the protagonists gets the upper-end and suddenly, it turns from a horror movie to a quippy slaughter-fest. This movie doesn’t necessarily have that, or at least not much of that. The one-liners are weak and there’s not enough chainsaw. It’s, also, possibly the bleakest ending of the series with the exception of the alternative Army of Darkness ending (which I’ve just now learned isn’t the real ending).

Will there be a sequel to Evil Dead Rise?

It’s difficult to say what’s next for this franchise, but it’s hard to believe that this will be the last entry. This franchise has been going for over 40 years.

One interesting call-back that this movie makes is to the “three Necronomicons” from Army of Darkness. We now know where all three of these books are (one with Ash, one with Mia and one in Los Angeles), which does mean that if there was a sequel – we would expect it to connect to one of these. It would be groovy to see a union of the survivors from previous movies.

Who should watch this movie?

If you’re a horror fan, you’ll love this movie. If you’re a passionate Evil Dead fan, you’ll enjoy this movie – as long as you can get over the new cast.

However, if you’re squeamish and horror isn’t your thing – stay well clear. This is one of the grossest, bloodiest movies to hit the big screen in a while. If that sounds awesome to you, then jump right in; but if that sounds like a nightmare, trust your instincts.

This was a review for Evil Dead Rise (2023). Did you think this movie was groovy or were you left missing Ash? Let us know in the comments below.

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