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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

Evil Dead Rise

It's Halloween! We made it, everybody! Before I get to my review, I want to sincerely thank all of you who read, liked and commented on my ramblings. I had big plans for my 13th year of this, but my 12-year-old computer had other ideas. Next year I should be in much better shape to get my reviews in with a lot less stress and be a little more ambitious. Anyway, I plan on enjoying this Halloween while going trick-or-treating with my family. But before we don our Boo King costumes (that's what Lincoln calls King Boo from Mario), I checked out...

Evil Dead Rise (2023)

My love for this series is well known. Army of Darkness is in my top five favorite movies of all time and Evil Dead II is incredible while the first is the weakest of the original, but still really good. Plus, the 2013 movie, the first without Ash starring, was great. I even loved the video game that came out a couple of years ago. But much like Friday the 13th, apparently, I'm not allowed to have games based on my favorite movie series.

We know how an Evil Dead movie goes, right? People get a little too curious, reading, or listening to someone read, from a certain book, unleashing an ancient demon that just loves to ruin people's days. That's the basic formula for the films, but this one does something different. Instead of setting it in a cabin, this one takes place almost entirely in a high rise.

It's a small change to the formula, but you know what? It's really effective! I like the cabin setting, you're cut off from civilization while something stalks you in the woods. It's used so often for a reason, it isolates the characters, keeps them in one place and it's scary to think about all the things hiding in the shadows. In this particular movie, I think the new setting is actually scarier than a creepy cabin in the woods.

You see, the apartment they live in "The Monde" (an anagram of "Demon") is condemned and will be torn down in about a week, and there aren't many people still there. Another problem is an earthquake hit, destroying the staircase while they're way too high up to escape through a window. These people are truly cut off. While in a cabin, it's not advisable, but people can leave and take their chance in the woods. This family is truly stuck. Also, because they're trapped in a small little apartment, I could feel their claustrophobia. Like, when the Deadites were inside the apartment I was going through in my head where these people could run to and there was nowhere, it's very effective.

Another thing that Evil Dead is known for is blood, a lot of it, and this one doesn't skimp on that at all. In an interview, the director said they used 1,720 gallons of fake blood! At one point two characters nearly drown in it before the movie's homage to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. That's another thing I liked about it, there are a lot of homages to the series. Bruce Campbell makes a cameo on a recording telling a priest to destroy the Book of the Dead. The director hinted that could be Ash himself because the character has traveled through time before (that is a weird thing to type haha.) The recordings also say there were three different Books of the Dead, so it makes this movie, and the 2013 version all canon because each had a different book. It's impressive the attention to detail and the lengths the director went to connect this movie to the series. It also sets up the future of the franchise. Bruce Campbell says they plan to make more of these movies every two to three years. He said that Sam Raimi and his brother are working on a Bible for future writers to follow while making future movies in this universe.

I've written a lot but I haven't really talked about the movie in any depth, so let's get into it. The characters are all really good. The movie follows a single mother, her sister and her family. I liked them all and was worried for when shit was about to hit the fan. They felt like an actual family, they played, fought and acted like a family does. A lot of times you can tell who will end up being cannon fodder and you just wait for them to reach their end, but I found myself rooting for them and didn't want to see any of them die, even though just by looking at the cover, you know she's not long for this world. In Evil Dead movies there are multiple characters in the main group that you don't care about, they're just kind of there for the body count. This might be the only one where I cared about all of them.

Another thing that kind of stuck out to me was the complete absence of any humor. The other ones had varying degrees of comedy, but this one goes straight horror. Even the 2013 version had Eric and the comical amount of pain he went through before he mercifully died. I keep going back on forth on if a little slapstick would have made the movie better and I'm not 100% sure. I'll just say, it was noticeable.

It's definitely scary though. One thing these movies always do well is when the Deadite first reveals itself. It's always wonderfully creepy and this one may have been the best in that respect. One of my favorite things about these later movies is how the Deadites move around. In the 2013 version, they walked around like wind-up toys and it was extremely unsettling seeing them come after you wielding a weapon. In this one, when they're not flying, they stand kind of hunched over and move like several of their bones are broken. There's a lot that can be said with how a character moves and it's something I really like about this series.

I liked it a lot but I didn't love it. It's scary and shocking in all the best ways but I can't shake the feeling that it's missing something. I don't know if it's the lack of humor or what, but something felt off. If it were a different horror movie without the Evil Dead name, it would have gotten an additional Dr. Chainsaw. Still, it's really good and sets up the future of the franchise in exciting ways! Plus it made me smile to hear the protagonist tell the Deadite, "Come get some!"

8 Dr. Chainsaws!

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