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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Column: "Evil Dead Rise" slays — literally

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Going into the theater, I didn’t have high expectations for “Evil Dead Rise.” 

I’m a huge Evil Dead fan and I count 1981’s “The Evil Dead” as my first ever “real” horror movie. I fell in love with the series after watching “Evil Dead 2” — which is still one of my favorite films of all time — and its follow-up, “Army of Darkness.” 

All that being said, I was nervous to see what a newer continuation of the series would do for the franchise. I’m happy to report that “Evil Dead Rise” lives up to its predecessors in outstanding fashion. 

The film follows Beth, a downtrodden guitar technician who comes to Los Angeles to visit her sister Ellie and her children. After an earthquake shakes loose centuries-old recordings of the Necronomicon, all hell breaks loose in their apartment complex. If you’ve ever seen an “Evil Dead” film before, you probably know what comes next — blood, guts and a lot of screaming. 

If there’s one thing the “Evil Dead” series is known for, it’s gore, and oh boy, does this film deliver. It’s incredibly bloody and contains some stand-out horror set-pieces. The film utilizes the typical apartment trappings, like faulty elevators and dirty peepholes, to create amazing scares. I’ll never look at a cheese grater the same way again. 

One of the coolest aspects of the film is its contained location. The action takes place almost entirely in one hallway of the apartment complex where Beth and her family are trapped after an earthquake. This adds a claustrophobic element to the film as the threat becomes more real since it’s just on the other side of the wall. 

I was also impressed by the acting, especially Lily Sullivan’s final girl, Beth, and Alyssa Sutherland as a terrifically creepy possessed Ellie. Nell Fisher, who plays Ellie’s daughter and is just 11 years old, offers an outstanding performance which is sure to become iconic among horror fans. 

One criticism of the film I have after the love-fest I’ve been giving it is the first act. The cold open is absolutely stellar and kicks things off with a bang, but after that we’re stuck in character introductions for a long time. The momentum of the opening is almost lost by the time the Necronomicon is cracked open. However, I do recognize that for the terror of the film to hit, we have to get to know the characters fairly well. 

Despite being the fifth film in the franchise, “Evil Dead Rise” isn’t actually a direct continuation of any of the previous films. I had assumed it would be a sequel to 2013’s “Evil Dead,” a remake of the 1981 film, but it shares no characters or events. 

However, the movie carries on the torch lit by Sam Raimi back in the 1980s. There are plenty of nods to the original films without being too overbearing. Beth’s chainsaw –— because she needs a chainsaw — is the same color as Ash’s famous Delta 88. If you listen closely to a certain recording, you’ll hear Bruce Campbell shouting in the background. These tiny nods, among others, display the dedication of the filmmakers to the series that so many people hold dear. 

It’s clear when watching the film how much love the filmmakers have for the franchise. They continue the story in a satisfying way without completely leaving behind its roots. As a longtime fan, I left feeling happy with the direction the filmmakers took it. 

Whether you’ve seen all of the “Evil Dead” films or you’re a newbie, I recommend “Evil Dead Rise.” There’s really something for every horror fan out there. How groovy.

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