Cert – 18, Run-time – 1 hour 37 minutes, Director – Lee Cronin
When her sister (Alyssa Sutherland) is possessed by murderous demons, Beth (Lily Sullivan) must protect her nieces (Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher) and nephew (Morgan Davies) and help them escape their powerless apartment block alive.
2019’s underrated chiller The Hole In The Ground is a restrained and eerie affair. Evil Dead Rise is a very different film in terms of its upfront horror. Filled with splatter and gore there’s plenty here to please fans of mad yet never quite ‘just-for-the-sake-of-it’ bloodshed. Yet, one of the biggest draws into the events is writer-director Lee Cronin’s continuing theme of familial horror. Being unsure if you can trust someone who looks like the person you know yet seems completely different. Although, here possessed mother Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) certainly looks very different to her normal, more composed self.
There’s a very physical nature to Sutherland’s performance which adds to the creepiness of her threats and attacks. She moves like someone (or rather something) not entirely sure of how to work the various limbs and functions of the human body. Add to that the demon’s taunts and attempts to maternally talk to Ellie’s children before attacking and there’s certainly an unsettling nature to this latest form of evil dead.
Battling this force is Ellie’s younger sister Beth (Lily Sullivan), attempting to protect her nieces (Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher) and nephew (Morgan Davies) from the bloody onslaught. While the two older figures may try to help fight (with mixed results and various injuries to gain an audible response) it’s youngest Kassie (Fisher) who is most uncertain. After all, as mentioned, this is her mum. Why is she acting so strangely? She can trust her, right? It’s this idea that Cronin plays with very well, establishing that familial theme early on and displaying the relationships effectively before the consistent horror and violence begins, infused with the tinges of the character’s uncertainty and mistrust.
The fight begins to escape the flat and get out of the apartment building alive (a much more difficult task when you’re on the top floor). Another of the film’s biggest strengths is just how fast-paced it is. At just 97 minutes the run-time is undeniably short. Helped by the fact that you genuinely believe that the events are set over one night, or maybe even just a few short hours. Such a feeling is effectively captured and helps to move things along briskly and keep the action moving with the rising threat at hand. One with plenty of strong and effective gore and a handful of unsettling moments along the way. For those looking for enjoyable horror Evil Dead Rise likely won’t miss.
Filled with plenty of effective gore and bloodshed Evil Dead Rise underpins the upfront horror with tones of familial uncertainty for an effective piece of fast-paced action horror.