FILM REVIEW: Evil Dead Rise
Another satisfying entry for fans of the franchise
The Evil Dead return in Evil Dead Rise, a standalone addition to the beloved horror franchise in which wayward Beth drops in on her sister Ellie and her three young kids at their crumbling, soon-to-be-demolished apartment building. But once Ellie becomes possessed by demonic forces, Beth must protect the children from the rising Deadites who seek to kill them.
Moving away from the 'teenagers-go-to-a-cabin-in-the-woods' trope, Evil Dead Rise evolves the franchise by moving location to a high-rise apartment building and shifting focus to a family. Watching a mother try to kill her own children is a naturally unsettling dynamic to explore, although the fear and turmoil of seeing a loved one fall to demonic possession could have been better illustrated.
This is not to say that the cast is bad at all. The child actors are all decent, especially Nell Fisher as the youngest sibling who stands side-by-side with Lily Sullivan’s auntie Beth as the main protagonists of the story, but if there is any reason to see this film it is Alyssa Sutherland’s performance as the possessed mother. Playing a very real, caring mother to begin with (and not in a fake, lovey-dovey way), she steals the show as the possessed demonic entity, using more than simple voice modulation to scare, but also her body movements and a crooked smile.
What’s more, the demonic entity gets away with doing some very deranged, creative and immoral things to her prey, who just so happen to be her children, which is appreciated in a film climate that is often scared to offend. Evil Dead Rise is quite literally a blood bath and the gore is plentiful. With more care put towards the family dynamic, this could have been a truly impactful experience.
Its lack of familial empathy aside, Evil Dead Rise is impressive and admirable for its ingenuity and its exercise in the macabre. It may not have enough for casual moviegoers to latch onto, but it should be another satisfying entry for fans of the franchise.