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HBO Watch Movie Review: “Evil Dead Rise”

by Matthew Smith
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It would be almost impossible to botch an Evil Dead film at this point. The characteristics of what constitutes and Evil Dead film alone warrant franchise extensions. But what’s been great so far is that there isn’t any fear of overload or burnout. In fact, it’s been a full 10 years since the last entry under the Evil Dead moniker – Fede Alvarez’s gore-soaked modern masterpiece, arguably the best horror remake of all time. Presumably, Sam Raimi is to thank for the name being used so sparingly. He retains producing credits on both new iterations – proof that soul has not been sold.

Evil Dead Rise, then, is not a remake of Evil Dead 2, but a whole new tale of continuation and trademark possession. It could well be described as ‘by numbers’, but that’s no bad thing all things considered. It doesn’t reach the straight-up shocking heights of its 2013 predecessor, largely in part because some of the more bloody notes are rehashed in Rise, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. It just makes it a little less fresh.
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As story goes, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland who is given plenty to do) and Beth (Lily Sullivan) are two estranged sisters who are thrust forcefully into close confines. Ellie is a single mother with three kids and a small apartment, while Beth has been living it a little too large on tour as a guitar tech. This simple set up achieves two things well. It make it easy to create immediate emotional struggle, and establishes a claustrophobic setting that makes what happens next all the more terrifying. Once the possession takes hold, the upped ante is unavoidable. Can they make it out of the bathroom, the apartment, the building? It’s a fascinating use of device that makes everything that little more fun. But underneath it all, for all the ballsiness and general lack of sympathy for anyone involved – not excluding children – it can feel a bit generic in more than one or two places. As a result, Evil Dead Rise ends up being a movie that is a sugar rush in the moment, if not a laster like all of it’s predecessors.

Evil Dead Rise is available to stream now on MAX.

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