Evil Dead Rise review: a quintessential Evil Dead experience filled with fresh, unexpected twists

The latest Evil Dead reboot is a resounding, bloody success

The first image from Evil Dead Rise, out 2023
(Image: © New Line Cinema | Ghost House Pictures)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Evil Dead Rise started as a joke. Lee Cronin, fresh from his debut film The Hole in the Ground, pitched Evil Dead’s creator Sam Raimi a concept for a new film over lunch. 

“I made a terrible joke pitch,” laughs Cronin, “I said, you know at the end of Army of Darkness? The woman and the ‘hail to the king, baby?’ I was like, what if they had a kid? Son of Ash?”

Jokes aside, Raimi must have seen something he liked, because he handed his 40-year-old horror franchise over to Cronin and gave the writer-director creative licence to make the fifth instalment. He’s the second director after Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead, 2013) to be given the honour, and he certainly hasn’t wasted it.

Evil Dead Rise follows single mum Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), her three kids (Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher), and her estranged sister Beth (Lily Sullivan) as they fight for survival after an earthquake exhumes one of the three Naturom Demonto books from the bowels of the building, unleashing chaos into their apartment block.

“I think what makes it different from any of the previous ones is that, in the other movies, people go to a weird or strange place or a creepy place and they discover horrors. In this place, people are just having a Friday night, and the horror comes to them,” says Cronin.

Although some die-hard fans might be quick to decry such a radically different set-up, especially one without Raimi at the helm or Bruce Campbell as Ash, Evil Dead Rise is clearly made by fans, for fans. 

Cronin keeps true to the original film’s spirit by dipping into Raimi’s trademark camerawork and bringing the same blend of chilling moments and unexpected laughs into his script. That’s not to mention the abundance of fun Easter eggs and visceral gore — you’ll never look at a cheese grater the same way again.

The pacing is relentless and Evil Dead Rise does all it can to hold you in a state of perpetual unease. It drags you into uncomfortably tight shots, pummels you with one scare after another, and assaults the eardrums with invasive sound design. 

“I wanted to take the spirit [of Evil Dead], lots of callbacks and energy, and make something new. I didn’t want to let myself down as a fan,” says Cronin.

After spending 90 minutes listening to a cinema full of horror fans erupt into nervous laughter and gleeful cries of revulsion, it’s clear Cronin has achieved his goal — a quintessential Evil Dead experience filled with fresh, unexpected twists. 

Evil Dead Rise lands on April 21