GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
EVIL DEAD RISE ****
Directed by Lee Cronin.
Starring Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Mia Challis, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher.
Horror, USA, 97 minutes, cert 18.
Released in UK cinemas on the 21st April 2023.
First, a word of advice, if a loved one ever starts speaking to you in demonic tones and crawling on the bathroom ceiling, best to hide all your sharp utensils pronto as if not, as demonstrated in the tremendously fun splatter filled EVIL DEAD RISE, things will get very messy very quickly.
A standalone entry in the EVIL DEAD franchise with no major narrative links to its predecessors, EVIL DEAD RISE sees Beth (Lily Sullivan) visiting her older sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three children in the run down apartment block that they live in. However, familial tensions aren’t the only thing that the estranged sisters have to contend with after Ellie’s son unearths a familiar skin bound book and accompanying vinyl record. Soon Ellie isn’t acting herself and the family face a night of terror trapped with their increasingly deranged mother. Will they all be dead by dawn or can the flighty Beth finally be there for her family in their time of need?
This is only Irish director Lee Cronin’s second feature film, after 2019’s well received chiller THE HOLE IN THE GROUND and this is an incredibly slick and self-assured sophomore outing. Although there are plenty of little references to the previous films in the series, and to Sam Raimi’s unmistakable visual style, this film also very much feels like its own thing.
Cronin has here achieved a perfect middle ground between the bonkers carnivalesque comedy splatter of EVIL DEAD II and the grim and intense, mostly humourless, body horror of EVIL DEAD 2013. There’s gore galore; buckets of blood (with a lift that would put the one in THE SHINING to shame), dismemberments, self-mutilations and various unassuming objects are put to diabolical and squirm-inducing use. It’s certainly not one for the squeamish. Although it is one to catch in the cinema with a packed crowd who are laughing, screaming and groaning in disgust in equal measure.
Alyssa Sutherland is excellent as the possessed mother; managing to switch effortlessly between creepy and comical and the young cast do a great job of not being too precocious. Lily Sullivan’s performance isn’t up there with Bruce Campbell’s (who could be?), and I also don’t think she gets quite as much of a chance to shine as Jane Levy did in the remake, but it’s still a solid and likeable performance that keeps you rooting for her.
Personally, nothing will ever top EVIL DEAD II, I’m just a sucker for Bruce and severed hands being little rascals, but EVIL DEAD RISE is pretty damn close to being the best possible modern day reboot that fans could hope for and I’m excited to see where this franchise (and Lee Cronin) go next. It’s a pleasant surprise and one that I would heartily recommend to horror fans.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans