The Deadites Return in Evil Dead Rise

Few franchises have fostered my love for genre filmmaking more than Evil Dead. A series that doesn’t contain a bad entry, and spans almost 40 years is impressive enough, but the fact that the same group of people have stayed so involved in the whole process is inspiring. 

It seemed like we might have seen our last entry after STARZ canceled Ash vs. Evil Dead back in 2018, but the deadites are back and primed to terrorize a new cast of characters. This new entry, Evil Dead Rise will move the focus off of Ash (though Bruce Campbell is producing) and introduce a hero for a new generation.

The film was written and directed by Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground), and shot by Dave Garbett. Producing alongside Campbell (among others) is of course Sam Raimi, who is the mastermind behind the whole Evil Dead universe, and Rob Tapert, who has been on board since the original film back in 1981. Tapert is also married to Lucy Lawless, who played one of AvED’s lead characters; Ruby. 

Evil Dead Rise will mark only the second feature film for director Lee Cronin, who does have horror experience with his short films and on television – as well as with his film The Hole in the Ground. This will certainly be the highest profile picture of his career. This is a similar strategy to the one they used for 2013’s Evil Dead film, choosing Fede Alvarez to write and direct, when to that point he had only a few short films to his name. Since that time, Alverez has written both Don’t Breathe films and the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre, also doubling as director of the first Don’t Breathe.

Dave Garbett was the cinematographer on 14 episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead, including both the series premiere and the series finale. The presence of Garbett should insure a consistent look with the new film and the last installment of this world we saw. Garbett also shot four episodes of the Netflix series Sweet Tooth, and fifteen installments of the STARZ series Spartacus – which gives him plenty of genre experience. 

Also returning from AvED is set Set Decorator Gareth Edwards, who worked on 23 of the 30 episodes during the show’s run. Stephen McKeon, who worked with Cronin on The Hole in the Ground composed the score, and Bryan Shaw, who previously edited 2013’s Evil Dead, served as editor on this film.

We didn’t get our first official look at the film until Halloween 2022, when the Evil Dead Twitter page sent out this picture of Australian actress Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings) as a deadite;

Lily Sullivan, also Australian, is the film’s lead, reportedly playing the sister of Sutherland’s character.  The rest of the listed cast is made up of little-known actors, including  Nell Fisher, Morgan Davies,  Gabrielle Echols, and Jayden Daniels. And while it’s been reported several times that Campbell will not appear as Ash, perhaps there is a chance that Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) still pop up before it’s over. Or even Jane Levy, who played Mia in the 2013 film. We still don’t know how all of the continuity works, as this franchise has been muddled in that regard since the minute Evil Dead 2 was released in 1987.

On Friday, Campbell, at BruceFest, tweeted out another still from the film;

At this point we can only really speculate as to how the plot might play out in regards to the previous entrees, but at least we don’t have too much longer to wait. The film, which was originally slated for an HBO Max release, has instead been given a theatrical release of April 21, 2023. So while it’s not imminent, it is less than six months away now. And considering they wrapped filming over a year ago, a teaser trailer should be out any time now. 

Images: New Line Cinema, Ghost House Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

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