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Film: Evil Dead Rise

Director: Lee Cronin (2023)

Genre: Horror/Thriller/Fantasy

Why You Should Watch It: Must-watch for super fans of the Evil Dead franchise, perfect for anyone who is terrified of using a cheese grater.

 

The marketing team in charge of releasing Evil Dead Rise knew exactly what they were doing when they released this film for streaming in time for Mother’s Day. My family and I were anxiously awaiting for this release, and though we really wanted to see it in the theater, I was glad to be able to watch it from the comfort of my own home. Even though my husband fell asleep right after the opening credits, I had a great time watching it in the dark with my teen sons.

What I really liked about this new iteration of the beloved Evil Dead franchise was the change of scenery. As much as we all love the classic cabin in the woods setting, it’s been done to death. While Evil Dead Rise opens with a cabin on the lake, the majority of the story takes place in an apartment complex, creating a whole new kind of urban terror. Where the original films leaned on the remoteness and terror of the deep dark woods, Evil Dead Rise utilizes how scary it is to be trapped in a modern setting, and how even if you are surrounded by people and technology, help can still be very far away.

Evil Dead super fans will be very happy to see nods to elements of the original movie refreshed for modern viewers (is it even an Evil Dead movie if someone doesn’t wield a chainsaw? I think not.) There are some fun practical effects and surprising elements that I haven’t seen in other films or stories before, one particularly infamous scene with a cheese grater  comes to mind. Evil Dead Rise doesn’t hold back when it comes to body count and blending real world terrors with campy gore.

What I loved about this film the most though were the female leads, the underlying stories about motherhood, family and feelings of abandonment. Bad mothers are always prevalent in the horror genre, but this film turns the trope on its head. In Evil Dead Rise, a seemingly good and caring mom gets possessed and with a demon that not only swallows her soul, but forces her to do the unthinkable to her own children.

With a kick-ass, protective auntie heroine, a claustrophobic atmosphere and buckets of blood, Evil Dead Rise is about as good as you can get for a popcorn worthy horror movie. For me, the familiar storyline with new twists made the movie more predictable and even, daresay, a little cozy feeling. My teenagers loved it, I thought it was okay, and my husband straight-up fell asleep, which I think is a great indicator of how other viewers will see it. Some folks will love it, some will be indifferent, and some will be straight up bored. For what it’s worth, I’m interested to see more movies in this new Evil Dead franchise and all the ways that unsuspecting Necronomicon readers will meet their grisly fates.

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