Skip to content
Home » The Evil Dead series: Ranked

The Evil Dead series: Ranked

This is a ranked list of all film entries in the Evil Dead series, including new entry Evil Dead Rise.

Evil Dead is, arguably, one of the most consistent horror film franchises going. Forty years, five films and arguably not a single bad entry. Nevertheless, it’s still good fun to pick a favourite and least favourite from an exceptionally good franchise. With two soft reboots, some wacky sequels and a lot of nostalgia – it’s impossible to create a list that everyone would agree with. However, this is my opinion for the top 6 entries in the Evil Dead film series.

5. Army of Darkness (1992)

Far from a bad movie, Army of Darkness takes the lowest spot because of how different it is. Dropping all pretence of horror, Army of Darkness gives us a deadite-slashing medieval comedy. It’s absurd and extremely enjoyable, though it does feel a little out of place amongst the other entries in the series. The franchise has always had an air of silliness to it and you have to respect this movie for taking that to new extremes.

Don’t confuse a lack of horror for a lack of gore, however. Between the cheesy one-liners and the slapstick antics are some extremely gruesome set-pieces. It’s an extremely fun ride and at a swift 1 hour and 21 minutes, it’s a quick one too.

4. Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Evil Dead Rise is the latest movie in the series and while I absolutely loved it, it would feel wrong to rank it higher at this stage. There’s a good chance that it will end up crawling up the list, but it needs to prove that it can stand the test of time first. Rise takes us out of the cabin in the woods and into a rundown apartment building. It takes us away from college students and makes us watch as a mother attempts to slaughter her own children. It’s one of the most brutal and horrific entries in the franchise and possibly plays itself the straightest.

However, it’s also the one that stands on its own two-feet the most. As a standalone movie, this could be one of the strongest and it will be interesting to see what it does for the franchise going forward.

You can read my full review of Evil Dead Rise here.

3. The Evil Dead (1981)

It hasn’t aged flawlessly, but Raimi’s debut is still a masterpiece. Unapologetically low-budget and cheesy, it introduces us to all of the staples of the series and is, ultimately, responsible for everything that comes next. At times, it doesn’t seem clear whether we’re supposed to be laughing at or with the movie (something which doesn’t really become clear until the sequel) and the series did feel the need to retcon a lot of this movie’s events.

However, the impact of this entry to the franchise (and to horror, as a whole) cannot be overstated. The low budget effects only lead to it feeling grittier and more authentic than modern day CGI horrors.

2. Evil Dead (2013)

It feels sacrilegious having this higher than the original, but I adored this film. A 2013 reboot of the film, without Raimi at the helm, was always a risk but this movie paid tribute to its predecessors while also taking an entirely new direction for the franchise. Evil Dead shakes up the formula a little bit and plays things straighter than the original trilogy, with the most disgusting set-pieces in the franchise. The ending, alone, makes this one of the best horror movies out there.

Yet, despite the new direction, it is incredibly faithful to the original and full of references. It, also, doesn’t allow itself to take itself too seriously – capturing a very similar atmosphere to the original movie. Rebooting this franchise was an incredibly different task, yet it was done masterfully.

1. Evil Dead II (1987)

Previously, I said that the original Evil Dead was the one that started it all. That’s not entirely true. Evil Dead II is a continuation of the original movie, though not without retconning a lot of the original details. It gives us a much campier look at the franchise and in doing so, gives us one of the best horror movies ever created. The characters are more iconic, the set-pieces more creative and one of the most iconic endings in movie history.

The original movie may have introduced elements such as the chainsaw and Ash’s “groovy” catchphrase – but it was this movie that made them iconic.

This was my ranked list for The Evil Dead series. Do you agree with it, or do you passionately disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *