SXSW Review – Evil Dead Rise


I’m finally free… of all you titty suckers.

When a teenage boy finds an ancient book, his mother and neighbours are possessed by the demonic Deadites, running amok in their Los Angeles apartment building. His aunt and siblings must engage in a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable in this soft reboot of the much-loved Evil Dead franchise.

I hereby declare this movie… groovy. It’s the big crowd-pleasing Evil Dead movie we were hoping for. Remixing the dark humour of The Evil Dead, the visual swagger of Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, and the savagery of the 2013 Evil Dead reboot, all blended together and perfectly paced, in a 1930s L.A. tower block. It moves from darkly funny to utterly savage. The SXSW premiere audience went absolutely ballistic.

Leads Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland absolutely ace it. And shout outs to two new fan faves: “Staffanie”, and a very special creation that director Lee Cronin told us is known only as… The Marauder. 

Apart from a couple of slight VFX stumbles director Lee Cronin (The Hole In The Ground) did a great job – no other notes. The energy and zing is through the roof, and it’s made for audiences… so SEE IT IN A THEATRE. This is a slick, bloody rollercoaster of a film, precision-tooled to please crowds and reboot the franchise. Everyone involved knows exactly what they’re doing, and they’re laser-focused on delivering the goods. I see it as the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol of Evil Dead movies; another movie buddy called it the Force Awakens of Evil Dead movies. But you know, I liked both those films too. I hope this gets two sequels in the next five years, which I suspect is the plan.

Also good to see some trans masc representation, and even better that it’s without a flashing light on it. 💕

(My guess for the rumoured Bruce Campbell cameo: the voice that says “It’s called the Book Of The Dead FOR A REASON!”)

Evil Dead Rise played at the SXSW Film Festival, and will be released in the US, UK, Ireland and around the world in April 2023.

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