“Evil Dead: Rise” Review: An Ode to Horror Fans

The fifth film in this bloody franchise has managed to satisfy horror fans and traumatize newcomers. Why is "Evil Dead: Rise" one of the best films of the genre of this 2023? Find out in our review.

Still from the movie 'Evil Dead: Awakening'

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña de “Evil Dead: El Despertar”: Una oda a los fanáticos del terror

When it comes to horror franchises that have become movie classics, the "Evil Dead" trilogy, launched in 1981 by director Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell, must be among the pioneers. Now, a decade after the last installment that did not have Raimi or Campbell in their respective roles, the demons, and the characteristic dark humor have returned with more modern characters, a unique setting and a different way to relive this terrifying experience. "Evil Dead: Rise" has all the ingredients for fans of the saga and those who are joining this universe to enjoy the true terror caused by the pages of the Necronomicon.

In this new plot, we follow a small family that lives in an old building in the center of the city. Ellie is the mother of three children (Danny, Bridget, and Kassie) and has recently been abandoned by her husband. To them is added the arrival of Beth, Ellie's younger sister, who is a guitar technician and has just found out that she is pregnant, so she goes to the apartment in search of some peace of mind. However, chaos begins to take over the place when some vinyl records emerge from the bowels of the building, along with a mysterious and gloomy book.

The fifth installment of the saga is directed by Lee Cronin and also has the special touch of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi as executive producers. In fact, the contribution of these last two has given this reboot a fresh air, while paying homage to the origins of the trilogy. Regarding the cast, both Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland stood out to the point of receiving excellent reviews from specialists, while the young Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher and Morgan Davies convinced with their respective performances.

A claustrophobic experience

"Evil Dead: Rise" has everything we expect from it: twisted deaths, black humor, copious amounts of blood, a small setting capable of generating claustrophobia, and an iconic chainsaw. But beyond those details that have become the basis and the formula for the success of the saga, it also manages to take us along a promising path with a modern story. From the very trailer, expectations were high, something that more than met on the big screen due to the grotesque sequences that were carried out thanks to the splendid work of the make-up artists.

If we put aside the fact that this film has a higher budget and cutting-edge technology compared to the Raimi trilogy, most of the scenes ensure satisfying moments of terror for the viewers. To the surprise of some, the plot does not let you breathe for a moment and embarks you on a journey that goes from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye, all while intensity and gore completely take over the stage. Thanks to that hectic pace, it's hard to say that its development is tedious or boring.

It should be noted that 90% (or more) of the film takes place in the same place. The little glimpses that the director takes of the building's corridor and the broken elevator manage to generate a disturbing atmosphere, whose camera angles and subjective shots in closed spaces keep the narrative tension at a fairly high level. Added to this, the contribution that the soundtrack gives it is another resource to highlight, since the sound anticipates the most terrifying sequences of the moment.

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On the other hand, we must add the fact that the structure of the film is not conventional, but rather circular, which narrates the events from the end. In that sense, the entire development is about a huge flashback that explains how those evil forces were unleashed on the city from a gloomy building. What this site offers visually is, without a doubt, worthy of the genre, especially when we witness the crude end of a family at the hands of demons.

In turn, a point that could have left a bad taste in the mouth was the little or almost no context that was given to the Necronomicon in this story. The combination between the book and the vinyl records (which were very well exploited as narrative resources) presented themselves as a powerful duo capable of unleashing unimaginable terror. Perhaps a trip to the past or some deepening of its origins would have fallen wonderfully after 97 minutes of film.

In short, "Evil Dead: Rise" makes clear its good balance between terror and humor. It is an absurd, bloody production that will keep more than one nervous, just as fans of the franchise like. Sure, many will think that it's not really the best horror story of the year because it's all about mere fiction, but isn't that what today's movies are about?

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