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'Evil Dead Rise' and The Future of Splatterfest Horror Films!

Written by Robert Sweeney. Published: May 13 2023
(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)


Horror movies are chock-full of tropes we all know and love. Some use jumpscares to make audiences jolt in surprise, intricate makeup to craft the monsters that viewers claim to see in their closets long after the credits roll, and foreboding soundtracks to send viewers to the edge of their seats as tension builds to the reveal of a twisted murderer. All of these factors combine into a terrifying experience, bent on sticking with movie-goers and aiming to raise their fear on the drive home. While many horror franchises are built on expanding a terrifying world that continues to delve into darker themes and new monsters, the Evil Dead franchise has a substantial reputation for not only its horror but the bloody fun and jaw-dropping set pieces that surround it. Throughout the franchise, fans have cheered in theaters for its awesome spectacle and winced in disgust from its explosive attention to gore.


In recent years, horror films have explored several avenues of the psychological, demonic, and dramatic. But the question remains: Does the gory fun of the splatterfest genre have a future? Let’s break down the recent release of the latest installment of the Evil Dead franchise, Evil Dead Rise, and its audience reception!




Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead (1981) follows the typical trope of a group of teenagers enjoying their holiday at a secluded cabin deep in the wilderness. After finding and reading from the cryptic book, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, all hell (literally) breaks loose. After reading the demonic spellbook, the now-iconic protagonist Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) watches in horror as his teenage friends are possessed by demons and the foreboding woods darken with mysterious forces. After the first film, the following installments in the franchise, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), took the character of Ash on a wild ride including a jaw-dropping chainsaw hand, time-travel, and a demonic army. Through the years, the franchise has woven shuddering horror with stunning visual effects, even garnering a terrifying remake in 2013. This year, the shuddering franchise burst back into theaters with Evil Dead Rise.




In this new installment, a hard-working single mother with three daughters is possessed by a demonic force when her sister comes to visit, and an earthquake unearths a copy of the Book of the Dead. Ellie (played by the wickedly talented Alyssa Sutherland) slices and mauls her way through her Los Angeles apartment, determined to convert her daughters and sister further into the evil that controls her. Throughout the film, household items are brilliantly turned into weapons of defense such as kitchen knives, glass cups, and, most memorably, a stomach-churning scene involving a cheese grater.


Over its runtime, Evil Dead Rise proves its place among the franchise, furthering Evil Dead’s reputation for over-the-top gore and startling makeup work. The film also touches on themes of motherhood and family, as it is revealed that Ellie’s sister, Beth (played by Lily Sullivan), is pregnant and reluctant towards motherhood. These deeper themes pair perfectly with wonderfully grotesque violence to keep audiences both heavily invested and jumping at the carnage. 


Audience reception has skyrocketed around Evil Dead Rise, as its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at an 84% on the Tomatometer and a 77% Audience Score as of this publishing. Even celebrities, such as rapper Kid Cudi, have circled around the exciting gorefest and invited fans to screenings of the film. As critical reception proves positive and fans of the franchise embrace the new installment, it seems like there just might be a future for gory horror at the box office. While recently announced horror films seem to follow a more psychological and paranormal angle (such as the upcoming films The Boogeyman and Insidious: The Red Door), it looks like this newest bloody blockbuster will encourage horror filmmakers to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Evil Dead Rise is in theatres now!