Speaking as a huge fan of the Evil Dead movies, I had no problem accepting the Ash vs. Evil Dead series finale in 2018 as the end of the horror movie franchise as a whole. Yet, I was still open to the possibility of another installment of human vs. Deadite action, which is why I immediately became very excited about Evil Dead Rise. The following is a breakdown of all the most essential facts about one of the grooviest new horror movies, which is available for primitive screwheads to finally experience in theaters now.
What Is The Evil Dead Rise Release Date?
In addition to several shake-ups to the Warner Bros. release schedule (including HBO Max’s House Party remake also getting the theatrical treatment), Evil Dead Rise was given an official release date of April 21, 2023. The announcement would follow Bruce Campbell’s hint to One Take News that a theatrical release for the horror flick could happen, and Deadline’s report in August 2022 that it was, indeed, becoming a reality. Deadline also reported that the movie’s trailer had a great reception at CineEurope, which may have furthered its chances of hitting the big screen.
The original The Evil Dead from 1981 achieved cult status on home video, so, it almost seemed appropriate that the latest installment was initially going straight to HBO Max as a streaming exclusive. However, some die-hard fans (myself included) were a little bummed we could not see the franchise return to the big screen, but look who’s laughing now?
Vikings’ Alyssa Sutherland Leads The Evil Dead Rise Cast
Evil Dead Rise is really a family story at its core, following two sisters rekindling their relationship just as malevolent, possessive spirits are unleashed, threatening to tear them apart again. As Variety reports (and the trailer reveals) the possessed mother will be played by Alyssa Sutherland, whom you may recognize as Queen Aslaug on Vikings or from The Horror Collective's World War II-set horror film Blood Vessel. Lily Sullivan, who is best known for the Amazon Prime whodunnit miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock from 2018, plays her sister and the sequel’s surrogate “Ash,” if you will.
Also included in the Evil Dead Rise cast are Morgan Davies of the Australian drama series The End, Gabrielle Echols of the Reminiscence cast, Mia Challis of Netflix’s Clickbait fame (who joined the ensemble in July 2021 according to Deadline), and 9-year-old Nell Fisher, who may be destined to join the legion of horror Scream Queens with this being her cinematic debut. One name that appears to be missing from this list, however, is someone many would call the reigning “Scream King”... but more on that later.
Evil Dead Rise’s Bloody Trailer Teases Classic Horror Homages And Extreme Family Dysfunction
There are two different options to choose from when deciding on how to watch the official trailer for Evil Dead Rise: the green band trailer that has been approved for all audiences by the MPA or the red band trailer which is NOT for all audiences. I would personally recommend watching the latter (below), as it gives you a far better idea of what madness you are in for:
Of course, choosing either version of the teaser gives you a pretty clear indication that things are not going well for the family at the center of the story, who fall prey to the same sort of malevolent, possessive entities that plagued Ash Williams and his friends in the original, but in their own apartment complex instead of a woodland cabin. The trailer also prepares us for some direct call-backs to the original films (particularly the use of a chainsaw to fight the Deadites), a tribute to The Shining (particularly the sight of blood coming from an elevator), and one mean mother.
Evil Dead Rise Will Bring The Battle Against Deadites To An Urban Setting
The official logline for Evil Dead Rise says that the new film is “moving the action out of the woods and into the city," where a woman must protect her sister’s children from their own possessed mother. This is apparently what Bruce Campbell meant when – as he revealed the official title – he promised the new installment would be “a whole new ballgame.”
This marks an interesting change of pace for a franchise that, arguably, pioneered the “cabin in the woods” style of horror movies that later inspired self-aware horror-comedy movies like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil or… well, The Cabin in the Woods, of course. Unless you count Ash vs. Evil Dead’s climactic battle in the small town of Elk Grove, we have never seen urbanites take on the Deadites before. Of course, we cannot forget the first time the franchise veered away from the woods and into the Middle Ages when Ash found himself back in time (and more ripped than usual in the promotional material) in Army of Darkness.
Bruce Campbell Is Not Returning As Ash In Evil Dead Rise
It is really difficult to imagine an Evil Dead movie without Bruce Campbell playing Ashley “Ash” J. Williams. Hell, even 2013’s Evil Dead by Fede Alvarez features a post-credits cameo of the character uttering his approval of the reboot with his signature, one-word catchphrase: “Groovy.” Well, according to Lee Cronin's comments to Bloody-Disgusting, the Scream King does have a hidden cameo of sorts somewhere in Evil Dead Rise.
However, his last official portrayal of the bumbling, wisecracking, chainsaw-handed badass (after announcing the character's retirement in 2018 when Starz cancelled Ash vs. Evil Dead) is his voice performance in 2022’s Evil Dead video game, and that could very likely be the last we see Campbell as Ash. However, the actor is still very much involved in this new project from behind the scenes, but more on that later.
Lee Cronin Is Writing And Directing Evil Dead Rise
Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin made a promising break into the horror genre with his impressive short, Ghost Train, in 2016, followed by his interesting feature-length debut, The Hole in the Ground, in 2019. The following year he collaborated with Sam Raimi on his Quibi original anthology series, 50 States of Fright, which led him to become the filmmaker’s choice to helm Evil Dead Rise. I would not be surprised if Cronin’s background directing comedy shorts helped influence the decision a bit, too.
Evil Dead Rise will be the second film in the franchise to not be directed by Raimi, despite previously voicing interest in making another film if Campbell would star, which is obviously not going to happen. However, it is endearing to know that – just like he did with the 2013 remake – the “splatterstick” auteur hand-picked his replacement himself.
The New Zealand Production Of Evil Dead Rise Used An Insane Amount Of Fake Blood
Cronin celebrated wrapping up eight months of principal photography on the movie with a tweet that claims 6,500 liters of fake blood was used. That converts to more than 1,717 gallons. While that may not have broken the record for most fake blood used for an Evil Dead movie (Alvarez’s remake used 50,000 gallons for the final scene alone, according to Bloody Disgusting), it is clear that fans will see red, and gleefully so.
Bruce Campbell actually has a funny story from the Tennessee production of The Evil Dead in which he recalls being forced to sit in the back of a pickup truck covered head-to-toe in fake blood while frightened churchgoers walked past him one Sunday morning. In comparison to the amount of faux blood that the crew of Evil Dead Rise apparently used while shooting in New Zealand, that embarrassing memory feels like child’s play.
Bruce Campbell And Sam Raimi Are Executive Producing Evil Dead Rise
In addition to being the star of most of the Evil Dead franchise, Campbell has also been an executive producer on each installment, including the reboot and TV spin-off. The former Burn Notice cast member is returning to that position for Evil Dead Rise, which is not a bad consolation to seeing him absent from the cast.
Also returning to the franchise he created as executive producer is Raimi, who wrote, produced, and directed the first three films before becoming even better known for superhero movies like 1993’s Darkman (one of the best non-comic-book-based superhero flicks), his Spider-Man trilogy, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Rob Tapert -- another one of the original creators of The Evil Dead -- is also producing, as well as Tapert’s former assistant turned Don’t Breathe 2 co-producer Romel Adam.
Evil Dead Rise Is The Longest Movie In The Franchise
In a time when horror movies seem to be getting longer – such as Scream VI breaking the record for longest installment yet at more than two hours – it is nice to hear that Evil Dead Rise lasts just 96 minutes. However, according to Collider, this otherwise relatively quick runtime is a record breaker for the franchise.
Indeed, no other installment of the franchise has had as long a runtime, with the 1981 original coming in at 85 minutes, the first sequel running a minute less, Army of Darkness being even shorter at 81 minutes, and former record-holder, 2013’s Evil Dead, being the first to surpass 90 minutes. Of course, we are only counting the movies here because, if not, the clear winner would be Ash vs. Evil Dead, which consists of 30 half-hour episodes.
Whether or not Raimi is directing, Campbell is appearing as Ash, or Raimi's brother, Ted, plays another grotesque Deadite (like Henrietta in Evil Dead II), the idea of another sequel finally coming is still pretty exciting, no matter how long the runtime may be. Not to mention, the sequel has gotten some groovy reviews already. Be sure to stream the iconic franchise so far before checking out the latest chapter.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.