More than 40 years after the first Evil Dead hit theaters, Evil Dead Rise is seeking to prove that Sam Raimi’s horror franchise still has legs decades later. Like its predecessors, Evil Dead Rise places a heavy emphasis on gore while toeing the line between horror and comedy.
The gnarly kills that have become a signature part of this franchise are definitely present here, but unlike past Evil Dead entries, this one is not set in a cabin in the woods. The movie is largely set in an apartment, although it is bookended with scenes that feature a setting that fans of the original movies may be more familiar with.
Warning: This article features major spoilers for Evil Dead Rise.
Evil Dead Rise opens with a brief flash forward to a three-person vacation on a lake in California. We learn that one girl, Jessica, is resting after what was apparently some sort of manic episode, while her cousin and boyfriend are hanging out on the dock.
When the cousin goes to check on her, though, she gets her scalp ripped off. Jessica has been possessed and quickly slaughters her boyfriend before rising out of the lake as we get our title card.
Most of the movie takes place a day earlier, though. We follow Beth, a roadie for a rock band, as she visits her sister in a rundown apartment building in LA. She discovers that she’s pregnant, and decides to share that information with her sister, Ellie, who has three kids of her own. The kids are sent out for a pizza so that Ellie can reveal that her husband left her. When they return, an earthquake uncovers a buried cavern in their apartment building containing the book of the dead.
Danny, one of the children, eventually plays a record containing the incantation that summons the dead, and Ellie is then possessed. From there, the movie is really a series of grisly set pieces as first the neighbors in the apartment complex and then Ellie’s older children, Danny and Bridget, are eventually possessed by the dead. Things get gnarly, but there isn’t a whole lot of new plot from here out.
Beth eventually attempts to escape the apartment complex with Kassie, Ellie’s youngest daughter in tow. In the parking garage under the building, Beth confronts Ellie, Danny, and Bridget, who have combined into one super demon that is intent on killing them. While the super demon eventually catches Kassie, Beth manages to save her, and then pushes all three of them into some sort of grinder that utterly destroys their bodies, and ultimately allows Beth and Kassie to leave safely, with an iconic chainsaw in tow.
The movie doesn’t end there, though. Instead, it flashes ahead to the next day as Jessica prepares to leave for the lake house we saw in the opening scene. She lives in the same complex as Beth, but on a lower floor, and she totally missed the commotion the night before.
As she goes to leave, though, she sees that the parking garage is covered in blood, and before she can get in her car, she’s possessed. It’s only now that we realize the prologue at the beginning of the movie is really the ending, as the audience knows what happens from here: Jessica goes to the lake house and kills her cousin and boyfriend. There are no post-credits scenes, but we know that the evil is still out there, as are Beth and Kassie, chainsaw at the ready.
Evil Dead Rise is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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