Writer director Sam Raimi was only just out of his teens when he started making one of horrors landmark films. Released in 1981 at the height of the boom in home video that saw the market flooded with all manner of films which included Evil Dead, a gruesome gnarly gore fest that UK fans especially took to heart. Unfortunately it also came to the attention of virulent campaigners who had seen all manner of uncertificated horror films that were finding their way in the homes that saw the Video Recordings Act being created. And whilst Evil Dead was never in the same category as such exploitative fare as films such as, ‘I Spit on your Grave’ it did have a notorious scene with a female victim and a satanically possessed tree that saw the film heavily edited. But the films notoriety and success saw a sequel. In fact to date over the course of forty years there have been four sequels including the latest Evil Dead Rise out on 4K UHD, BLU-RAY & DVD and it is as in-your-face as its prequels.
Evil Dead II played its horrors off against laughs, the third film in 1992 took us back to medieval times and was a troubled by studio interference. Twenty years later saw a well regarded reboot and now 2023 sees the story continue. Helmed by Irish director Lee Cronin it takes the story away from the cabin in the woods to the soon to be evicted tenants of a high rise apartment in LA where single mum Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three children are joined by Beth (Lily Sullivan) her sister, a roadie with a touring band. But all Hell breaks loose, quite literally, when the Book of the Dead and some recordings of demonic incantations – (not Amanda Holden’s West End show tunes CD) take their toll as they battle for their very existence.
Fans of the series won’t be disappointed as Cronin, who also writes, has concocted a film as gnarly as the others avoiding CGI and using practical effects and his imagination knows no bounds when it comes to the horrors perpetrated and in one notorious scene a cheese grater will never be seen in quite the same way again. With so many franchise films suffering from weak ideas, poor execution and just general apathy the Evil Dead franchise is a horror staple that, apart from a slight dip with the third film, has never really lost its mojo and the film performed extremely well becoming the most successful Evil Dead ilm so far at the box office and another film seems assured.
released on 4K UHD, blu-ray and DVD, Evil Dead Rise does not disappoint and is one of 2023’s best horror films with a great transfer with the spectacular on screen splatter that is every bit as wince inducing as its big screen experience. From a bonus feature perspective it is perhaps a little disappointing with only Cronin’s ‘ albeit excellent and very entertaining commentary being worth listen. The only other feature is Cronin’s short film ‘Ghost Train ‘ which he made back in 2013 before his feature film debut ‘The Hole in the Ground’ and showed that he was ideally suited for creating a sense of dread. A deleted scenes or a blooper reel of practical effects going awry might have been good but perhaps would have granted the disc a levity that would have lessened the effect of the feature film. Nonetheless this latest film is a worthy addition to the franchise and is one of 2023’s essential horror film releases. More please.
related feature; How that cheese grater scene in Evil Dead Rise came into being…..
We chatted with director Lee Cronin about the making of the film plus his ideas for a sequel….
Here’s the Evil Dead Rise trailer…..
EVIL DEAD RISE will be available on digital download from 14th July and available to buy on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD including a limited special edition SteelBook from 17th July 2023