Clawing its way onto UK and US cinema screens today is the supernatural horror movie, Evil Dead Rise. The film stars Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, and Nell Fisher, and follows the story of a young family and their encounters with a demonic force.
In the movie, Beth is a music technician who has recently discovered she is pregnant. Following this news, she sets off to visit her sister, Ellie, as well as Ellie’s children, Danny, Bridget, and Kassie.
Shortly after arriving at Ellie’s apartment, Beth and the family are caught up in an Earthquake which hits the building and causes some structural damage. This damage creates an opening in the basement car park, which reveals an underground vault.
After investigating the vault, Danny returns home with a strange book and an old record. Upon opening the book and playing the record (which contains a mysterious incantation), a demonic entity is unleashed which promptly attacks Ellie.
With Ellie’s body now under the influence of pure evil, she suddenly turns on her children and her sister. This leaves Beth to do battle with her sibling, in a gruelling fight for survival.
Written and directed by Lee Cronin, and based on characters created by Sam Raimi, Evil Dead Rise is the latest entry in the Evil Dead movie series. However, if you’ve not watched any of the previous instalments then don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about the existing mythology before embarking on this new helping, as this film is effectively a reboot of the series.
All that you do need to know, is if you enjoy horror, you’ve got some spare cash to pay for your ticket, and you park yourself in a comfy chair in front of the big screen, you are going to be in for one heck of a ride. Evil Dead Rise is gloriously entertaining, unashamedly brutal, and of course, deliciously evil.
The movie is 97-minutes of gruesome fun, with occasional moments of black humour, and buckets of blood. In fact, there is so much of the red stuff in Evil Dead Rise, that I would love to know what the blood budget is on this picture.
But crimson calculations aside, if you adore over-the-top, pant-wettingly creepy horror, designed to make audiences wince, then this is the film for you. As with the previous Evil Dead movies, this one makes no excuses about the dark places it goes to, and I expect long-time fans are going to love it.
Starting off with a pretty vicious prologue, Evil Dead Rise soon segues into much calmer territory to provide a nice little breather. From here the main story is put into motion, with all the new characters introduced.
These new characters include sisters, Beth and Ellie, as played by Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland respectively, and the trio of children in the shape of Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher). All of these characters are interesting to watch, and all of them are played by great actors.
Then, once the characters are introduced, all Hell breaks loose. The demonic entity possesses Ellie, she begins terrorising her family, and the screen becomes awash with gore.
From this point on, all bets are off and it becomes unclear who will survive this nightmare and who will be stabbed, maimed, or eviscerated. The only thing that is clear is that chaos and carnage will go hand-in-hand, and those who do make it through the night (including the audience) will be forever haunted by the experience.
In short: The film slowly, but surely, descends into a complete blood bath. While it might take a bit of time to set out its stall, once Evil Dead Rises gets going, it refuses to let up.
Eyeballs go one way, limbs go another, and anything (and everything) becomes a weapon or a torture device. This isn’t a movie for the squeamish, nor those with a fear of cheese graters or tattoo guns, so heed this warning accordingly.
As mentioned above, Evil Dead Rise has a superb cast, with Alyssa Sutherland and the young Nell Fisher really standing out. Sutherland is put through the wringer, playing possessed mum Ellie, while Fisher demonstrates she has the skills to stand toe-to-toe with her peers, despite her young age and lack of experience.
Evil Dead Rise marks Fisher’s big screen debut and I predict good things for her future, if she is given the right opportunities. Here she has proved she is more than capable of taking whatever is thrown at her, and what a great performance she gives.
But then, the same can be said about everyone else within the core cast, who are put through their paces as they get chucked around the screen or covered in bodily fluids. I’m not sure if the cast knew what they were in for when they signed up for this picture, but they sure as heck have run with it, and the results are there for all to see.
Outside of the cast, Evil Dead Rise boasts a solid script and smart direction from writer/director Lee Cronin, some great special effects, and a strong use of lighting and music. For fans of this particular horror series there are a few nods to the past which should raise a smile, and with an easy-to-follow story, as well as a bladder-friendly running time, this hits the mark and then some.
Evil Dead Rise is a horror film which has been made with care, and attention to detail, by someone with a clear focus and an intention to provide entertainment throughout. Newcomers will find it an easily accessible way into the series, while old hands will be pleased that Cronin has delivered something very satisfying.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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