Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.
In my review of The Pope’s Exorcist (I’ll link that for you below) I said it was the kind of movie I would show to those who preferred swimming in the kiddie’s pool of horror. An exorcism movie for beginners if you will. Evil Dead Rise, on the other hand, would take those swimmers and gleefully drown them in their own fear as this one is DEFINITELY not meant for the faint of heart.
Unapologetically mean spirited, the latest addition to the world of Deadites and doom follows a family consisting of Mom Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three kids Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), Danny (Morgan Davies) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). They live in a soon-to-be condemned apartment building and things are hard, but this is obviously a loving unit. One night when Ellie’s sister Beth (Lily Sullivan) pays an unexpected visit, there’s an earthquake and the kids discover an old bank vault beneath their building where a certain Book of the Dead is unearthed. Of course, kids do what kids do best and after wannabe DJ Danny puts on some records found with the Necronomicon, all hell breaks loose, and their once loving Mother becomes the stuff of nightmares.
It’s one thing to watch a group of friends get brutally taken out by demons from hell; it’s a whole other level of horror when kids are involved. But that’s exactly what director Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground, 50 States of Fright) delivers in arguably the scariest (or, at the very least, the most difficult to watch) Evil Dead movie. I found myself cringing multiple times as scenes of mutilation played out before my eyes. And the stellar camera work and cinematography more than made this worthy of being shown on the big screen (as opposed to their initial idea of releasing this on HBO MAX).
The acting was also top-notch by all involved and the movie did a solid job of avoiding the usual cliches due to the smart choice of including kids. Children make poor decisions all the time so scenes where someone would open a door they shouldn’t or read from an obviously creepy book felt realistic instead of trope-y. Alyssa Sutherland was fantastic in her role as well, delivering the kind of performance that horror fans will talk about for years to come. I felt so much sympathy for her all the way to the very end, and that’s not something I ever thought I would be saying about a freakin’ Deadite!
If I had to rank the Evil Dead movies, Evil Dead Rise most certainly sits up in the top row. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of these movies to varying degrees, and while the first three movies were designed to make you laugh and scream in equal measure, the latest entries have no interest in seeing you grin. Instead, they want only to make you scream and scream and scream. I’m happy to report this Evil Dead more than “rises” to the occasion.
Sommer’s Score: 8 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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