Rise is the latest installment in the Evil Dead franchise, directed by Lee Cronin who joins the original producers of blood and gore, Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi.
“I had just premiered my debut feature, The Hole in the Ground, at Sundance in 2019. It was well received and, just before I was heading back home, the last meeting of my trip was with Sam and some of his development team.” recalls Cronin, “We spoke about a variety of different projects, and I must have left enough of an impression on them that they wanted to know what I might do with the Evil Dead lore, and where I might take it.”
Cronin was no stranger to the landmark horror franchise, having grown up with it from an early age: “My introduction to that world was when my father showed me The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II on VHS, back-to-back. I was nine years old at the time. There was a storm and the power went out, so it was a very particular experience, watching those movies. They left an indelible mark on me. Later, I revisited them in my teenage years, so they stuck in my brain.”
A few years down the road, when he had started to build his film career, Cronin recalls, rather prophetically, “I remember thinking, ‘Something I would really love to try and do is to make an ‘Evil Dead’ movie or be involved in the universe.’”
Of high importance to the filmmaking team was prying the action away from the (largely) male protagonists and placing it in the chainsaw-wielding hands of the females at the center of the new story which centres around two estranged sisters, played by Australian actresses, Alyssa Sutherland (who we know as Queen Aslaug from History Channel’s, Vikings) and rising up and comer Lily Sullivan.
The movie is a thrilling and suspenseful ride from start to finish, with plenty of gore and jump scares to keep horror fans entertained. Cronin does an excellent job of building tension throughout the film, using eerie sound effects and unsettling visuals to create a sense of dread. Even today with savvy audiences, Cronin never fails to catch us with the element of surprise and fright while rippling through are moments of dark humour and semi-satire.
Sutherland and Sullivan both deliver strong performances, portraying complex and flawed characters who must confront their own demons as well as the literal ones. The supporting cast is also solid,as the demonic possession centres on her mother who turns on her children.
Morgan Davies, who plays Danny, the son of Sutherland’s character was in attendance at the Sydney Preview screening revealing more than 6500 litres (1717 gallons) of fake blood was used during the filming of the horror flick. To put that in perspective, a standard sized fibre drum or transport barrel holds 200 litres of liquid.
While it may not reinvent the genre, it delivers an entertaining and well-crafted horror experience that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats.
Photo supplied by Warner Bros.