When Fede Álvarez's Evil Dead hit the theaters back in 2013, faith in horror was restored. Álvarez shot with a script co-written with Rodo Sayaguez and turned the wheel around to make his own version of an Evil Dead reboot. He ended up making a disturbing, gory, and very serious installment of the old horror trope of "victims in a remote cabin," but he was completely supported by a franchise name that was guaranteed to bring people to theaters. We're guessing fake blood was still being cleaned from the set when people started asking for a sequel. Considering Sam Raimi himself was producing the film, anyone would guess production started right away.
But it didn't. Years passed and Raimi didn't speak much about the plans. Álvarez kept busy with thrillers and he only made sure to refer to his version of Evil Dead when people asked him about the sequel. It wasn't until 2019, when Raimi confirmed there would be another film in the series, and months after Lee Cronin was selected as the guy responsible for writing and directing the film.
Evil Dead Rise was released earlier this year in theaters and this one actually made us believe in the power of the franchise. Now, Raimi has to be a nice guy. Not everybody would green-light a risky film like Evil Dead Rise. Why, you ask? There are enough changes to make this one a production completely foreign to the franchise. And even so, this is why you have to watch Evil Dead Rise on Max. As soon as possible. Like your life depended on it.
A Decent Entry in the Evil Dead Universe
The film's introduction will trick you. Plain and simple. As shocking as this scene is, this is not a "cabin in the woods" film. After the teenagers get massacred in such cabin, we get a notice saying Evil Dead Rise is actually a prequel to that moment. Cut to an urban part of Los Angeles where Beth decides to visit her sister Ellie, who lives in a sketchy apartment complex with her three children Danny, Bridget, and Kassie. After they come back from buying takeout, an earthquake opens a hole in the parking lot. Danny decides to investigate, and he finds underground archives that contain religious archives. Inside he finds vinyl records that he takes to his room. When he plays one, he accidentally summons the Deadites.
What follows is a family, and a whole building complex, being rampaged by demons. Ellie, the mother, becomes the main vessel, but she has the power to "twist" things. Evil Dead-style, the film consists of victims trying to make sense of the power the Deadites hold and use to haunt people to death. Literally. We won't spoil more for you, just know that if you watch this on Max, you should not do it on Mother's Day.
It's So Gory, You Will Remember It For a While
For the final scene in 2013's Evil Dead, the crew needed almost 2000 gallons of blood. And that's not necessarily what we remember the most about the film. It was the face carving, the needle stabbing, and the head bashing. All of those took place in a matter of seconds.
In Evil Dead Rise, bets are raised. Early on we get a decapitation and scalping, but then we get scissors up a nostril, eye munching (Evil Dead 2 style!), and body parts are thrown in a wood chipper. The film is very gory, but if you're used to it, you will probably appreciate the practical effects without going into shock. The ones that'll make you squirm are probably the glass-eating scene, and the cheese grater on a leg. Yeah, you read that: cheese grater on a leg. You will remember us after watching this scene.
By this point, you should know what kind of film to expect. And Evil Dead Rise is exactly that: a compilation of gory content that's essential to drive the film to the end. For horror fans, it's the extravaganza they're always thirsty for.
There's a Twist and It Works
The film's also very well-shot, the script has no mercy with the body count, and the characters are pretty compelling. But the main reason why you should try this one is because it isn't the regular Evil Dead film. The change of setting and staying away from the traditional storyline, makes it more original than what Cronin could have done if he had gone for the easy way out (this isn't necessarily the first time this happened in the franchise, because Army of Darkness also went for a huge change in the franchise's tradition and it was very popular with the fans of the franchise). Instead, he decides to conjure up a different character group and make the film about "twisted family dynamics."
Evil Dead Rise is good enough to make you forget about the usual concept and allow you to believe Deadites can also exist out of the woods. And yes, they can be more violent, more playful, and much more interesting than we gave them credit for.
You can stream Evil Dead Rise on Max.