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Image for 00 Evil Dead Rise First Image Hero

Evil Dead Rise Moves the Horror Series to the City

10/15/2022 • 4 min read

(Updated 12/15/2022)

You can't keep a good Deadite down! A fifth EVIL DEAD movie is on the way, written and directed by Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin. There's a new cast, a new story, and — perhaps most intriguing — a new setting.

After a long and winding road, EVIL DEAD RISE finally comes to movie theaters in April. While news of any new EVIL DEAD project is a reason to celebrate, we also still have a lot of unanswered questions about this project. Here's everything we know about EVIL DEAD RISE.

A Little History

First, let’s rewind just a bit. The original low-budge EVIL DEAD was released in 1981. Starring future cult favorite Bruce Campbell and directed by future superhero cinema superstar Sam Raimi, the movie focused on a group of friends who awaken an ancient evil while staying in a remote cabin in the woods.

The original was a midnight movie sensation, leading to EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN in 1987. It was part remake and part sequel. Raimi amped up everything fans loved about the original and added significantly more slapstick comedy. With the outrageous dose of gore in DEAD BY DAWN, it was more like splatstick. And the movie elevated Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams from an Everyday Joe into a wisecracking horror icon.

In 1992, the pair returned with ARMY OF DARKNESS, which saw Ash take on Deadites while stuck in the middle ages. The third movie toned down the horror a bit while focusing even more on Ash a comedic character. And while it wasn’t a huge hit in theaters, its legacy has only grown since release.

And STILL those Deadites were not done with Ash. In 2015, everyone got the band back together for a television show called ASH VS EVIL DEAD, which ran for three seasons, perhaps putting an end to the story of Ash Williams once and for all.

A Little Alternate History

Meanwhile, in 2013, Sam Raimi chose director Fede Álvarez to helm an EVIL DEAD remake. This movie was to be completely divorced (or was it?) from the original EVIL DEAD continuity. While sticking to the basic format of a group of friends unleashing evil in a remote cabin, this film totally eschewed EVIL DEAD’s comic side, sticking very close to horror. And not just horror either, but extreme horror. It would be hard to find a bloodier mainstream movie than the 2013 EVIL DEAD remake.

But was it truly a remake or somehow in continuity with the original films? A post-credit sequence featuring Bruce Campbell as Ash put the whole thing into question – a question that has not yet been answered.

Now, The Evil Dead Rise

This brings us to EVIL DEAD RISE. Written and directed by Lee Cronin (also personally handpicked by Sam Raimi), EVIL DEAD RISE brings the Deadite world to an urban setting for the first time ever.

The plot is familiar despite the setting. Two sisters reunite in a cramped Los Angeles apartment building. The discovery of a mysterious book leads them to a faceoff with an army of Deadites. Lots and lots of blood will presumably flow. Indeed, Lee Cronin told Total Film that he "needed to maintain some of the claustrophobia," and so the story "translated really well from the cabin into an urban environment. This is about a family in a rundown building stuck in their apartment, so it follows the same rhythm but puts it in a more contemporary space."

But in which EVIL DEAD continuity does this story take place? Is EVIL DEAD RISE a sequel to the Bruce Campbell films, or is it a sequel to the 2013 remake? Or will this film introduce a third line of continuity to the franchise?

Cronin says "It’s firmly in the universe… There’s a lot of fun callbacks, and there are direct lines to the past. But part of the goal of making this movie was to create something that could expand the Evil Dead universe further." One thing seems certain: Bruce Campbell will not appear in the film. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe it’s a lie. What if EVIL DEAD RISE fully bridges the worlds of the original films and the remake? How cool would that be?

The Little Film That Could

EVIL DEAD RISE was originally set to premiere only on streaming. It will now open exclusively in movie theatres on April 21, 2023.

And while a trailer has not yet been released to the public, folks in the industry have seen footage at a couple of different expos over the past few months. Reception to those demos has been ecstatic, further pointing to a film that plays beyond expectations.

So maybe EVIL DEAD RISE doesn’t need to be a sequel to any of the other movies at all. Perhaps it can stand tall among all the other EVIL DEAD films as its own special thing. We’ll all find out when the film comes out this April. Just be ready for a lot of blood.

 

EVIL DEAD RISE opens on April 21, 2023

 

All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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