The Evil Dead Rise (Horror, 2023)

Evil Dead Rise: Saving innocence is worth sacrificing everything.

Dead Evil Rise

Evil Dead Rise marks the fifth installment in the renowned "Evil Dead" series, originally conceived by director and writer Sam Raimi. The series debuted in 1981, and this latest film release brings it back into the spotlight, showcasing remarkable creativity in various cinematic aspects, with the exception of a repetitive storyline and an excessive amount of bloodshed.

The franchise comprises four films released between 1981 and 2013. The first, "The Evil Dead" (1981), stars Bruce Campbell and follows a group of friends who unwittingly awaken evil spirits while staying at a remote cabin in the woods. In 1987, "Evil Dead II" offered a comedic remake of the original film, featuring the same hero and director, alongside an amplified gore factor.

The third film, "Army of Darkness" (1992), embraced a more comedic tone than its predecessors. It chronicles the adventures of Ash (Bruce Campbell) as he time-travels to the Middle Ages, engaging in battle against an army of undead creatures. In 2013, "Evil Dead" rebooted the storyline with director Fede Álvarez, incorporating advanced special effects and intensifying the horrific events.

Now, in the fifth installment titled "Evil Dead Rise," Irish director Lee Cronin takes the helm. The story unfolds within a rundown and decrepit building in Los Angeles, California, serving as the home for tattoo artist Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three children: Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Cassie (Neil Fisher).

Struggling to survive after their father's abandonment, the family receives a visit from Beth (Lily Sullivan), the mother's guitar-playing sister. Amidst their circumstances, Danny discovers a hidden cave beneath the building, housing a peculiar book known as the "Book of the Dead." Unaware of its sinister nature, he reads from the book, inadvertently summoning a demonic creature that unleashes death and dismemberment upon the family.

The mother becomes the creature's first victim, gruesomely murdered and desecrated. It proceeds to manipulate and torment the rest of the family, leading to the brutal demise of the teenage son and daughter. In the midst of the chaos, the aunt safeguards her sister's youngest daughter, shielding her from harm, and together they flee the nightmarish abode.

A Nightmarish Bloodbath of Creative Horror:

Renowned American critic Roger Ebert, in his review of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, aptly stated, "This is a film so peculiar and horrifying that it weaves a spell, impossible to shake off." This assessment swiftly became the yardstick for gauging the success of any horror film, highlighting their profound ability to elicit emotional reactions from audiences.

Horror scenes from movies often seep into the viewers' dreams, transforming them into bone-chilling nightmares. However, Evil Dead Rise transcends the realm of mere slumber-induced terrors, delving into waking nightmares that consume the senses, for it is a nightmare in and of itself, surpassing the boundaries of a conventional film.

Never before has a horror film been saturated with such copious amounts of blood, submerging characters as if engulfed by a crimson sea. No other director has expressed their fascination with blood to the extent that every scene in their film brims with it, save for the opening sequence.

In the eyes of the viewer, "Resurrecting Dead Evil" appears as a cascading waterfall of blood surging forth from the screen. Remarkably, this abundance of gore does not teeter on the precipice of absurdity or elicit revulsion among its audience. The credit goes to director Lee Cronin, whose boundless creativity ensures that the intended aversion is masterfully balanced, preventing repulsion from overpowering the appreciation of his art.

Exaggerated Horrors: Lee Cronin's Mastery of Chilling Success.

Director and screenwriter Lee Cronin skillfully captures the essential elements for horror film success, albeit in an exaggerated manner, unleashing a torrent of flying human flesh. He astutely ensures that both the protagonists and viewers are acutely aware of the malevolent presence lurking within the film's pivotal moments. Cronin meticulously constructs a convincing causal logic for the spirit's manifestation, effectively isolating the victims within its clutches. By rendering the building's stairs in ruins and severing the power supply to immobilize the elevator, he plunges them into a state of helplessness. The aged and desolate nature of the building further compounds their plight, as their screams go unheard by any outside ears.

These three conditions, epitomized by select lines of dialogue, encapsulate the prerequisites for horror film success. The most iconic among them is the famous phrase "They're here!" spoken by Carol Ann (Heather O'Rourke) in the 1982 film Poltergeist, signifying her realization of the spirits' ominous arrival within her family's abode.

In the 1979 masterpiece Alien, Dallas (Tom Skerrit) grimly states, "In space, no one can hear your screams." This line of dialogue served as an influential source for the genre, permeating popular culture and instilling a sense of foreboding.

The 1978 horror classic Halloween features Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) describing the villainous Michael Myers as a "pure and simple villain," a succinct line that encapsulates the malevolence of the antagonist, and adds a touch of narrative simplicity to the story itself.

Infernal Echoes: A Distorted Reflection of Siblings in Horror.

The director wastes no time in introducing his characters through customary opening scenes. The camera swiftly embarks on a rapid, unhindered movement, piercing through the dense forest and its meandering rivers until it reaches a small boat marina. There, a girl perches at the edge, narrowly avoiding collision with the camera as it swerves away. In less than 20 seconds, the first decapitated head appears, followed by the submergence of the remaining body, and the story shifts to the family's residence in Los Angeles.

Mother Ellie and her sister Beth share a complex relationship that intertwines motherhood and sisterhood. Whenever Beth encounters a predicament, she turns to her sister for help. During this fateful visit, Beth reveals an unwanted pregnancy.

The visitor learns that the family is on the verge of moving to a new house due to an imminent collapse of their current home. However, part of the house is immediately destroyed after this conversation. Meanwhile, the teenage son, Danny, stands in the garage when a hole suddenly appears in the ground, tempting him to venture into its depths and leading him to a concealed cave.

Within the cave, Danny stumbles upon the infamous "Book of the Dead," inscribed on human skin with blood. As he begins to read it, he discovers that a priest once attempted to establish contact with the netherworld, encountering malevolent entities that are impervious to conventional forms of combat. The sole solution lies in escape.

Lee Cronin appears disinterested in constructing a logically cohesive script, containing dramatic flaws unworthy even of a commercial horror film. It defies believability that an 8-year-old girl could witness the murder of her mother and siblings, maintaining composure and confronting the villains as if clothed in devilish garb. Yet, the film belongs to a realm with its own internal logic that justifies the protagonists' actions. However, the characters' tenuous grasp on their humanity remains a lingering question.

The malevolent spirit proceeds to kill the mother and all the neighbors, followed by Danny and his older sister. Only the youngest daughter and the aunt remain, engaged in a desperate battle against a body resembling the sister, possessed by a demon whose sole objective is to snuff out the innocence embodied by the child. The aunt becomes the protector, ensuring the young girl's escape from the perilous abode.

The film's visuals are rivaled only by its auditory tapestry, as the meticulously crafted sound effects seamlessly merge with the visual elements, creating an atmosphere of horror and dread. However, the cohesion among the three elements—sound, image, and effects—falters at times, sacrificing artistic integrity in favor of heightened horror and inventive methods of violence and dismemberment.

Interpreting the film as a cinematic metaphor that pits the two sisters against one another in a distorted and imaginary realm provides a solution to bestow artistic value upon the work. Horror alone falls short in delivering a meaningful message amidst copious amounts of blood and a lackluster script.