Alyssa Sutherland, bruce campbell, deadite, echols, evil dead, evil dead franchise, gabrielle, lee cronin, lily sulllivan, morgan davies, ncronomicon, nell fisher, the book of the dead, the evil dead, universal pictures australia, warner bros australia
It’s been 10 years since Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe) spun a new tale in the Evil Dead franchise, with arguably one of the greater reboots in recent years.
S3 Ep 7: The Evil Dead franchise: The Evil Dead (2013)
And with Bruce Campbell hanging up his chainsaw following the equally entertaining Ash vs Evil Dead series, it was hard to see where the franchise would go next, despite the success of both these enterprises. Thankfully writer, director Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground) came up with a bold new vision that looked to the heavens to unearth the deadites before a new audience waiting for some further demonic happenings. This one small glimmer of inspiration transports the evil from out of the cabin in the woods and sinking headfirst into a high-rise apartment is a brave move, but one that works in the isolated trappings of a struggling family, stuck in their apartment building when the words of the necronomicon are spoken.That’s not before first tantalising the audience with all-too-familiar stomping ground with usual twisted anarchy.
When the narrative picks up from the prologue, we’re introduced to Beth (Lily Sullivan – Picnic at Hanging Rock limited series), who has been living the life on the road, evidently running away from all her problems, or relying on her sister, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland – Blood Vessel) to solve them for her. Faced with another potential ‘problem’, Beth heads to Ellie’s apartment only to be confronted with an entirely different issue; one that would raise hell and force her to stand on her own two feet, and battle for her life whilst saving as many of her families’ lives as possible.
Ellie meanwhile has her own demons to confront, with her husband bailing on her with three children to raise and barely any means to do so. It is after an earthquake hits, that the eldest sibling, Danny (Morgan Davies – The Hunter) uncovers a vault beneath the basement which holds the dreaded book of the dead, and a number of vinyl recordings. These recordings are of a hidden sect and the voices of priests (one of whom is Bruce Campbell) incantations and then things really start to dial up a notch.
While some viewers may groan at the slow build up, cinephiles will greatly appreciate the time and dedication poured into character development and subtle clues in set direction and props that dictate the events yet to unfold. When the gloves come off, the blood pours savagely and there’s even time for some zingers in the dialogue to pepper the pace along. Cronin is clearly a fan of the franchise, and not only delivers a powerful punch in the storyline, but does so with a perfect mix of macabre, mayhem and sheer glee at the atrocities that the family must endure, breaking them apart and fusing them back together again with a wonderful climatic finish. The nods throughout are plenty without diluting this new storyline and Lily Sullivan in particular carves out a dynamic performance in Beth to juxtapose Alyssa Sutherland’s unhinged mother deadite, Ellie. The other family members are also strong (Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, and Nell Fisher) to deliver likeable siblings Danny, Bridget and Kassie. The most dynamic choice comes in packing in laugh out loud, gloriously gory sequences that are in tone of the Evil Dead franchise and make it so great, whilst providing a voice and style of its own. This is one of the benchmarks that the Surgeons team attest to what is essential in making a decent sequel. Here, Cronin truly delivers and it’s safe to say that the chainsaw has been passed onto a new direction. One that breathes new life for the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to wreak more havoc and further features down the line, be it in the wilderness or the comfort of your own home.
So much blood, energy and fun spawns from the latest Evil Dead feature. There are great nods to the original trilogy throughout whilst still creating its own identity. You can tell that director Lee Cronin is a fan and brings that zest to every frame on screen. By taking the evil out of the woods and thrusting it into urban terrain, he has elevated the franchise to new heights.
- Saul Muerte
Evil Dead Rise will be released nationwide from Thursday 20th April courtesy of Warner Bros. Australia and Universal Pictures Australia.