If we stick to the relatively simple dictionary definition, a smile is a facial expression created by stretching muscles around the mouth and usually the eyes, expressing pleasure or amusement. Horror movies taught us that smiling can also be scary, and this trend has only increased in recent years. It’s not that there weren’t characters (mainly antagonists) who smiled creepily before this: think, for example, of that smile of Anthony Perkins in “Psycho,” Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange,” and many other examples. But current horror cinema is taking it further. We don’t just mean “Smile,” a movie about a horrible malevolent entity that makes people smile gruesomely before committing awful acts. There are entire characters whose dark side is the smile (for example, Pennywise from “It” or Art the Clown from the “Terrifier” movies), films that do not focus only on the smile but make it the main element of fear (“Truth or Dare”) and also films that try to imitate smile scenes Successful for no reason, mainly because it worked in other movies (“There’s Something’s Wrong With The Children”).
So why do I choose to mention all this? Very simple: in the end, when I think a few years after the movie “Evil Dead Rise,” which is successful in all respects, it may very well be that what I will remember from it, in the end, is the look of that haunted mother, and especially her smile that recurs in many, many scenes in the movie and of course also appears on his poster. Suppose you add to the character of the villain (or villains) a creepy atmosphere, some effective scares, and a lot of gore and love for the genre. In that case,castafter reading “Evil Dead Rise” review understand why this is one of the most recommended films of 2023 and, just as importantly: a film that pays respect to the franchise it belongs to.
“Evil Dead Rise”: The Terror Changes Location
“Evil Dead Rise” is the fifth film in the “Evil Dead” franchise. This story started in 1981, with the first “Evil Death,” in which a group of young people came to the forest and found a mysterious tape that caused the release of evil demons that took over the young people and caused them all kinds of cruel deaths. Then came two excellent sequels (“Evil Death 2” from 1987 and “Army of Darkness” from 1992), both of which starred the great Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams. In between came a three-season TV series (“Ash Vs. Evil Dead”) and a remake of surprising quality (“Evil Death” from 2013), and it probably won’t stop here. Over the years, more sequels have been talked about, for example, a sequel to “Army of Darkness” and even an animated series.
“Evil Dead Rise” takes the familiar narrative of the “Evil Dead” movies, about an ancient curse that is released and takes over people and transfers it from the threatening forest to the urban environment. The story takes place in an old and neglected apartment complex in Los Angeles, a building that used to be a bank and is on the verge of demolition.
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After a superb opening scene in a pastoral setting that includes a very creative drone use, we go back a day and meet the main heroines. Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) is a single mother of three children: music lover Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget, who you can call “A tomboy” (Gabrielle Echols), and little Cassie (Nell Fisher), who, like every girl in a horror movie shows A fondness for abusing and torturing dolls. Ellie, a tattoo artist, discovers that raising three children alone can be a horror movie. At one point, she is surprised to find her sister Beth (Lily Sullivan), a guitar technician for a living, at her door. She does the most logical thing after finding out she’s pregnant: Visit her sister, with whom she has a somewhat shaky relationship.
When the three children leave the house to buy pizza, the worst thing that can happen in a horror movie happens – the pizza tray falls to the floor, so the pizza is gone! Besides, Danny investigates the room that opened on the floor and discovers some religious objects, a book with drawings of demons whose cover is made of human skin, and some old records from the 20s. He listens to them, hears the voice of some religious figure, unleashes an ancient curse, and makes all the fun begin.
Say Cheese And Kill
Shortly after the earthquake, Ellie decides to take the elevator down. The same evil entity attacks her in a well-made scene and becomes possessed. From that point, at least visually, we get one of the more impressive horror villains of recent years. Alyssa Sutherland, with the excessive make-up, the blood stains around the mouth, the wide-open eyes, and above all, the creepy smile, is the mother you don’t want to meet.
She dies as a result of the possession but comes back to life and starts slaughtering the residents of the building, and later also her family members, who remain stuck on the floor after the staircase’s collapse and the elevator’s destruction. In the gloomy building, with the dark walls, the old furniture, and later also the darkness caused by the power cut, begins the family members’ struggle for life, or if you will, also for their souls. That’s what it’s like when a murderous entity tries to take control of them and kill them creatively, including a use I admit I didn’t think of for a cheese grater, a tattoo gun, and a host of other household items.
Irishman Lee Cronin efficiently directs the film. “Evil Dead Rise” is his second film after 2019’s “The Hole in the Ground,”: a small horror film featuring a single mother dealing with an entity that takes over her son after he visits a sinkhole. In “Evil Dead Rise,” Lee Cronin manages to create here, first of all, a chilling atmosphere.
The film is relatively slow, but as long as Eli is in the frame – there is something to see and be afraid of. Alyssa Sutherland is very impressive here, not only due to her external transformation, and the other members of “Evil Dead Rise” cast does a decent job as well. Cronin shows some fascinating choices, for example, the camera angles. One of the more original scenes in the film is a massacre of the neighbors, which we (and the characters in the movie) see through the keyhole. There are some very successful elevator scenes here, including one that flips one of the classic tree scenes from the original film in the franchise, and Cronin makes the most of the location. Some of the scares here are very effective, sometimes presenting a threat from an unexpected source, even if horror fans will be able to spot some of the shocks before they happen.
The Same Old Sam Raimi Is back. And It’s Great
The fact that Sam Raimi is one of the people behind the film should not surprise you. Raimi wrote and directed the three films in the cult trilogy. He is one of the producers of both the 2013 remake and the recent movie, along with the same Bruce Campbell. Similar to other films by Sam Raimi, such as “Drag Me to Hell” and “The Grudge,” here, too, the result is exaggerated and self-aware: I saw the film at home, but I could almost imagine the rolling laughter of disturbing teenagers in the cinema in some scenes.
Another thing that shouldn’t surprise you, considering the actors, is that the film is very aware of itself and its genre. It includes very clear nods to films like “The Shining” (the elevator scene of course, which used no less than 1,700 gallons of blood), “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (including some gags near the end of the film that quote that masterful slasher), “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Ghostbusters” and of course also the previous films in the “Evil Dead” franchise. There are dozens of Easter Eggs here that horror fans will have difficulty missing. Sometimes it feels too much or too forced, but not at a level that will spoil your viewing.
“Evil Dead Rise” Has Depth. Kind Of
Some horror films mention other films to wink at horror fans, testify to the genre’s origins, or try to show off that the creators have cinematic knowledge. In the case of “Evil Dead Rise,” you can see that some of these quotes are made for these exact purposes, but others correspond with the film’s central themes. This is, of course, not the first film that deals with monstrous motherhood, or as it appears on its poster: deals with “a mother who loves you.”
We’ve already seen it in countless other movies, from classic works like “Psycho,” “Alien” and “Rosemary’s Baby” to some of the more exciting pieces of recent years, for example, “The Others,” “Mama” and “The Babadook.” At the same time, we witness another false image, which is the disintegration of the American family, which also appeared in many classic horror works such as “The Shining” and “Saw.” There are no dominant male characters here – the two women live alone, the father is not in the picture, some female characters have masculine characteristics, and even the sturdy men who try to save the situation give up very quickly.
The film incorporates another very relevant discussion in today’s society, mainly in the United States, but not only, and it is around the issue of motherhood and abortion. This issue is reflected in his central scenes, which show a struggle between two mother figures (or at least: a mother figure who is no longer herself and another figure who questions how fit she is to be a mother), the children’s fight for their lives against the one who is supposed to protect them and in some direct dialogues between The characters in the film revolve around these issues.
This is not a new topic either, as quite a few classic horror films deal with trying to get pregnant, raising “problematic” children, or dangerous motherhood. However, in recent years we have seen that the catalog has grown, and not only in dramas that present the dilemma of a young woman whether to get pregnant or have an abortion. In the horror sector, we have seen, for example, quite mediocre films like “Clock” with Diana Agron, “Bed Rest” with Melissa Barrera (“Scream”) or “False Positive” which show the problematic nature of pregnancy and the fact that we don’t always have miracles, even if science and medicine try to change It. Also, more familiar films, such as “Megan,” which presents the introduction of an artificial intelligence robot as a doll into the life of a girl and her relative without a family unit (or desire for such), are implied here.
Capitalism And Other Troubles
We can also add the subject of capitalism, which is reflected in the choice of location (an apartment building destroyed in what used to be a bank, the stronghold of the capitalists and the classes), in the characteristics of the characters, and in the general narrative, which can be read in a Marxist way as the takeover of “bad” forces associated with capitalism and certain classes over the people the simple ones This theme recurs in classic films, such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Shining.” It exists in “Evil Dead Rise” but has not developed much.
In general, the feeling is that “Evil Dead Rise” touches on important issues but does not provide them with a clear answer. It is hard to argue that the film has too much impressive depth or that any of it remains after watching. The plot here is quite generic, and it was possible to add depth and emotional dimensions through a more successful construction of characters. The representation of some of the characters here is too concise, sometimes to the level of stereotyping, and when this happens, it isn’t easy to achieve something too broad that will stay with the viewer.
Should You See “Evil Dead Rise”?
As with any other horror film, you may ask whether all these problems can affect your viewing pleasure. The answer, in my opinion, is not! We got here a well-made film that does the job, with some original choices and enough horror, scares, and humor for about an hour and a half of pure fun.
“Evil Dead Rise” designs a monstrous character (and later several additional characters, including a gruesome scene full of blood, cannibalism, and severed limbs near the end) that could be what we remember from this film. Even if it is not a masterpiece and probably won’t stay with you after watching it, it deserves its excellent box office success and the very positive reviews it received, with about 84% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
So it looks like we can smile, right?
Whare Can I Watch “Evil Dead Rise”?
Evil Dead Rise (2023) – Full Details
Countries of Origin: United States, New Zealand, Ireland
Cast: Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher
Runtime: 96 minutes
Box Office: United Stats & Canada: $67,130,572
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): R
IMDB Rating: 6.7