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evil dead rise
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starring: alyssa sutherland, lily sullivan, morgan davies, and mia challis


REVIEWER: nick tonkin

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.

Evil Dead Rise isn’t a return to form for the latest installment in the long-running horror franchise - it sets the new standard. Distilling much of the best of the series into an inspired modern production, Writer/Director Lee Cronin (The Hole in The Ground) has helmed something special with Evil Dead Rise.


Following a taut and direct introduction to what one can expect from the film, Evil Dead Rise jumps to Beth, a guitar tech and stage manager in the music industry, who seeks to reconnect with her estranged older sister Ellie and her three kids in the wake of the news of a positive pregnancy test.


The film does very well at establishing quickly but in a believable manner the nature of the relationship between the two sisters, and between the kids and their mother. This is probably one of the key successes of the film, as it is with Ellie’s possession that the first wave of Evil Dead Rise’s horror is dished out. Actor Alyssa Sutherland is terrific as both Ellie and her jarringly creepy demonic version, especially through the terrorising and manipulation wrought through the familial connection. 


Evil Dead Rise was shot in New Zealand, lead by excellent Australian actors and supported by Kiwi character actors but feels like it came straight out of the best of the American film industry. Rise sits well next to X in this category, with both films punching above their weight and arguably both contenders for modern horror classic status.


It seems to me that Evil Dead Rise ekes out ahead due to how adept and slick the filmmaking is. The production design in Rise is effectively another evil character  in the film, with how well the sets, lighting and juicy gore add to the horrific ordeal the film’s characters are subject to. This is captured brilliantly by Cronin and cinematographer Dave Garbett (Ash vs Evil Dead), their choices help turn the apartment building setting into something far apart from the homely and quirky residence of Ellie and her family.


Evil Dead Rise is a new high point for the franchise, and for modern horror in general; strong leading performances combined with confident and skillful filmmaking resolve into a heck of a ride.

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