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Don't be fooled by the title: despite an abundance of well-executed horror tropes this sequel never feels like it truly belongs in the Evil Dead franchise.

There are more than enough gorey, horrific scenes in Evil Dead Rise to make the casual moviegoer squirm in their seat, as evidenced by the squeamish audience I saw the movie with. But is that enough to make the movie fit snugly into the Evil Dead franchise? That's a different question altogether.

Judged purely on the merits of the film itself, director Lee Cronin shows a definite penchant for the genre, as he finds a mostly pleasing balance between over-the-top gore and horror that genuinely makes your skin crawl.

He could have been helped by a better cast however. Admittedly none of the adult or young-adult actors have much to play with in terms of character but they don't bother either to move beyond what's on the page. And I'd go as far to say that the youngest cast member is an outright miscast.

This doesn't distract from the fact that Evil Dead Rise is a perfectly passable, predictable horror flick in all but one respect. Despite plenty of visual references to the Sam Raimi films, the movie just never feels like it belongs in the Evil Dead franchise. The production is too slick for that, the plot too mainstream, the tone not nearly goofy enough.

For you that might not make a big difference. For me it's the main reason that I couldn't find myself enjoying Evil Dead Rise to a satisfying degree.

release: 2023

director: Lee Cronin

starring: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols


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