- Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Nell Fisher
- Lee Cronin
- Release date
- April 21, 2023
In 1979, Sam Raimi took his beloved yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale, a handful of friends, and a 16mm camera into the woods. Despite his limited resources and having a budget of less than $400,000, he made a film that would launch a beloved franchise with three movies…and two other films dressed up in Evil Dead costumes.
**UPDATE** It was recently correctly pointed out to me in the comments, that, unbeknownst to me, the teenage male character, Danny, is played by a 21-year-old woman. That’s just about the wokest casting there is.
Evil Dead Rise
Evil Dead Rise tells the story of a broken family who unwittingly summons an unholy terror into their lives after stumbling upon a copy of the skin-bound Book of The Dead (erstwhile known as the Necronomicon). They then find themselves in a struggle for their souls and lives, as they try to escape the ever-expanding rogues gallery of possessed friends and loved ones.
Evil Dead Rise is a poor imitation of its predecessors. This is a shame because it’s not for a lack of talent from the cast. Starring Alyssa Sutherland, who is best known for her role as Princess Aslaug in the History Channel’s Vikings, everyone gives a competent performance. Even the bit roles of various neighbors are performed adequately and they are treated as realistic people who find themselves in an extraordinary situation.
Unfortunately, the problems with the film are far more foundational. It suffers from a lack of imagination and is utterly devoid of the trademark tongue-in-cheek humor that has allowed the originals to stand the test of time. This failure falls squarely on the shoulders of its director and writer, Lee Cronin. Cronin’s inexperience is only matched by his predictability. Unlike, Sam Raimi’s unhinged zaniness, Cronin’s voiceless sequel relies on gallons of fake blood and a dozen Easter Eggs to wow audiences who he hopes don’t know any better.
On the few occasions when Cronin did actively try to pay homage to Rami’s film style, it was so jarringly different than the rest of the film and so hamfistedly shoehorned in, that I would find myself unceremoniously ripped from the film’s illusion by the allusion.
Even the performances, which I already stated were competent, could have been easily coached up by Cronin. There was never a sense of animal panic exuded by anyone (except maybe one of the neighbors…and that only briefly). Instead, the level of tension peaked and plateaued at about 6.5 out of 10 throughout most of the film. A director worth a d@mn would have been able to squeeze the extra juice out of this cast and could have certainly goosed it with some creative camerawork.
When the dawn arises and the shadows recede, Evil Dead Rise is a derivative and mediocre film better off forgotten. Do yourself a favor and watch the original trilogy or, if you are in the mood for a modern possession horror film that is at least better than this trite, check out The Pope’s Exorcist.
- **UPDATE** In a world in which actual Hawaiians are attacked as “not dark enough to play Hawaiians,” I don’t think that it’s too outrageous to take umbrage at a chick playing a dude. We dinged it pretty hard for this.
- The phrase “that’s culturally insensitive” is uttered without irony in reference to a question about drinking snake venom while on a trip to Bangkok. However, the rebuke is met with derision and the movie moves on. As an aside, snake wine made from fermenting venomous snakes and rice has been a part of Chinese culture for a thousand years.
- The same girl who is upset about perceived cultural insensitivity is seen painting a “save the planet” protest sign in another scene but it is a blink-and-you’d-miss-it moment” and climate change is never preached.
- The same girl has a mannish haircut. It’s impossible to tell if all of this is meant to be satirical. This being Hollywood, we’re erring on the side of it being woke…but I’ll prorate this and the two above it.
- In an early scene, a child (played by an 11-year-old but clearly meant to be much younger than that) is given a gift and told that it’s for “bad@$$ rock chicks.” This young lady then turns to her mom and “comically” says, “hey look, Mom, I’m a bad@$$ rock chick.” Because the willful corruption of the youth is great if it’s for a laugh, right?
- The dad is a POS who has abandoned his family.
- In the opening sequence, the only guy is an idiot.
OVERTLY NON-WOKE ELEMENTS
- Balancing out much of the aforementioned wokeness, one of the main characters finds out that she is pregnant, and, while she’s not happy about it, the moment that the unborn child is put in mortal danger, the audience hears its heartbeat, and the mother immediately comes to understand that she is a mother and she must protect the life inside her. Abortion is never hinted at as an option.
- The POS dad at least pays child support
- With the exception of the fellow from the opening scene, the remaining three guys who we see on screen are treated with respect and are heroic, if ineffectual.
- Even though this is a female-led film, none of the women are overpowered or perfect and wise beyond reason.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.