Evil Dead Rise

EvildDeadPosterTo write or not to write, that was the question I asked myself in the theater over and over as the movie was running its course. When blood relentlessly poured into an elevator car, threatening to drown two victims, then I knew the answer. Supernatural events were occurring independently of the “deadites” (A franchise term for the demon-possessed folks). Therefore, Evil Dead Rise can qualify as a haunted house film.  I will explain in more detail as I “rise” to the occasion and write this review!

I saw this during the final stretch of the opening weekend. My Sunday evening (April 22) was filled with blood, gore and guts. How was yours?  If you have been following the film’s buzz, then you have probably already heard about it. It has been met with mostly positive reviews.

I enjoyed the film as well, but I can’t resist offering up some of what I will call “Old Man Dan Criticism”. By the way, I’m the “Old Man Dan;”  old not necessarily in years (I’m only fifty-two years young) but in tastes.

What are the critics saying?  I’ve taken the liberty to extract several adjectives from various reviews.  Some of these words might seem negative, but these adjectives have been taken from the positive reviews. Remember, the horror world can be backwards. Words sounding repulsive to a normal, clean-cut, model citizen are  in fact taken as compliments to a horror fan.

See for yourself:

Visceral , exhilarating, cathartic , unrelenting, gorefest (I think this was used as an adjective), eviscerating , merciless, jolting,  grisly, riveting , gruesome, manic, unhinged , gutsy, “effed-up”, disgusting, unpretentious, intense, horrifying, disturbing, twisted, sadistic

Aren’t those lovely, colorful words?  

Before we get to my words, let’s do a refresher on the Evil Dead Franchise. I know, you already know all there is to know about it. But that other person reading this article might not. So, let’s rewind.

Evil Dead Here at this Blog 

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this franchise. I dedicated quite bit of effort writing about Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn. It was a favorite of mine growing up.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the premise goes something like this: someone stumbles upon The Book of the Dead. Constructed in human flesh, written in blood, the book contains several passages that, when recited, invite flesh-possessing demons into our world. And you know what, they seem to always accept the invitation. I have yet to see an Evil Dead film where the unseen demons reply to the calling, “Not today, we’ve got laundry to do.”

The first film, Evil Dead, I praised for its low-budget appeal;  though amateurish in some respects, it came off as a noticeably passionate undertaking from a couple of filmmaker friends (Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell). The second I lauded for its mixture of horror and comedy, which was blended in such a unique way.

These reviews are part of a series I was doing on Haunted Cabins

Even though it is a book that is haunted and there is nothing intrinsically haunted about the cabin in which the horror plays out, I felt these two films were appropriate for this blog on haunted houses because:


  1.  Supernatural events occur in a self-contained environment (the cabin)
  2.  It meets my own criteria for “what is a haunted house”

                  There are other haunted house stories that focus mostly on the ghosts that haunt the house. The house is but their stage; a platform that enables these specters to show off their ghostly antics.  This “stage” can provide the perfect atmosphere for their performance if the lighting is gloomy enough, if the props and furnishings give the surroundings the right touch of “haunt”.

From Social Theory and The Haunted House

      3.  Wikipedia lists these films as part of the haunted house genre. Wikipedia is never wrong!

The third film, The Army of Darkness, I didn’t review. There is no house or cabin. Instead, franchise hero Ash Williams goes back in time to the Middle Ages to fight the undead.

The fourth film, Evil Dead 2013, is a remake of the original. More serious in tone, it is inferior to to its predecessors. I saw it but didn’t bother to review it.

Ash Vs. The Evil Dead is a series. Ash Williams is back, living in a trailer, and leading a life devoted to slaying the “deadites”. I’ve seen a few episodes. It’s an alright show but for some reason it just didn’t grab me.

Now in 2023, along comes another Evil Dead Rise. It doesn’t just come, it “rises”. Oooooo!

I would say this is a reimagining more than a remake.  The supernatural events take place in an apartment complex rather than a cabin. Therefore, the evil fun is extended to such spheres of eerie atmosphere as the hallways, elevator, and parking garage. The characters involve single mother Ellie who is raising three children. Two are teenagers, Danny and Bridget, and one is a young girl named Kassie. Their Auntie Beth comes to visit them. Danny discovers The Book of the Dead in a hidden vault within the apartment. It contains records that have the deadite-inducing passage. He plays the records and the evil spirits come. Teenagers! Always opening cans of worms.

The first one to turn into a deadite is Ellie. She turns into The Mommy from Hell!

This would have been a perfect film to include in my Haunted Apartment Series. Alas, I wrote this back when, and now is now so.. Well, that’s the way the building crumbles I guess!  Anyways, Evil Dead Rise meets my criteria as a haunted house film. The “haunting” occurs in a self-contained space. And, certain spooky things happen that go beyond a few possessed individuals. Lights flicker. The power goes out. Stereos power on and off on their own accord. And, as I mentioned in the beginning of the article, an elevator is overrun with blood.

My Thoughts on Evil Dead Rise

Okay, as promised, it’s my turn to spew words

I’m going to put on my old man skin now.  I do have other skins, mind you.  What the old man version of myself thinks may not necessarily reflect the views of the other skins. 

Okay, ready for some Old Man Dan bitching? Well, ready or not, here it comes – 

It’s too loud. It’s too fast. Slow down, deadite, slow down, ghoul!. I can’t even get a good look at you. Hey editor, can you let the camera do its thing before you cut to a new scene? Why is there so much loud music whenever there’s a scare? Let the objects on the screen do their job at frightening. Yes I jumped in my seat. Again and again. Too many jump scares crush my sitz bones. Gore and Splatter, Splatter and gore! And yet, here comes some more.I guess  more blood equals more horror and more horror equals better horror!  What is the cinematic horror world coming to? The film is over now, here comes the credits and ohh my head hurts. I’m exhausted and hyped up at the same time and, oh shit,  I have to go to work tomorrow. It sucks to be me! 

It’s true. I felt all those things I wrote above. In past reviews I’ve stated over and over how I like a patient camera, atmosphere over blast-o-sphere (blasting the audience with noise, blood, and jumps).  


This film is creepy as fuck! I like it that way. It’s more than just sensation-bombardment. Alyssa Sutherland  who plays Ellie,  a loving mother turned evil deadite, does an excellent job. Her facial expressions as a deadite are spot on. There are certain gory moments that are truly unexpected. They  caught me off guard and caused me to chuckle (nervously?) and exclaim “Holy shit!” And there were moments the film relied on tension rather than everything, everywhere all at once (oops, wrong movie).  Like when the kids and sister realize something is not quite right with Mommy Deadite but aren’t sure what is happening. She is quietly mumbling psychotic things as she fiddles around at the stove, frying up a dozen or so eggs, shells and all.

Then there’s the part where Mommy Deadite is locked out of the apartment but is able to slip into the vents. We, and the trapped apartment dwellers, hear the clang clang clang of someone or something making their way inside from somewhere behind the walls.  So it’s not all quick camera moves and screams and spatters.  Sometimes things “creep” along at a reasonable pace; as I said, creepy as fuck!

So, yes the film is saturated with “high-octane scares”, noise, jump scares and a hyperactive camera. But it puts all this together artfully if that makes any sense.

But is Evil Dead Rise as good as its predecessors?

Oh no. Un uh. No siree Bob. Sorry it just isn’t. 

Some other adjectives used by critics giving this film a positive review are “fun”, “comedic” and “Groovy!”

Yes, this film was fun. As fun as the ones that came before?  No.

Is this film comedic?  Sort of. Or..no not really.  Not in the way of Evil Dead 2 at least. If anything, at times, it tries to be like that. But, well, just no.

Is it groovy?  NO! That word is reserved for Bruce Campbell only. He uttered it. He is not in this film. He gets to keep it. Case closed.

And so closes this review.  Have a good day. Or Evening. Or Something.





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