Plot: What’s it about?
In 1981 Director Sam Raimi essentially created a genre of film – the horror movie…with a comedic twist. This genre has been played out, but films like the original Evil Dead movies, An American Werewolf in London and so on – all embraced it. Fans of Raimi’s Evil Dead films no doubt know the excitement of watching the hero as he battles the forces of evil – with a chainsaw for a hand. But those films had their time and with 1993’s Army of Darkness, it might be argued that these came to an end. But no, thank you Hollywood, you’ll never let anything die and we got a new chapter in 2013 as well as a television series. And now we’ve got Evil Dead Rise, a film that shares the same name as the aforementioned titles but…that’s about it. Was it worth the wait? Is it more of the same? Or is this just yet another excuse to cash in on an already overdone genre with a familiar title?
We meet Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), a single mom who’s doing her best to raise her three kids: Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), Danny (Morgan Davies) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). Their apartment building is set to close down in a month and they’ll need to find a new place to live. They get a visit from Ellie’s sister, Beth (Lily Sullivan), she’s a sound technician with a band and is now pregnant. An earthquake hits and it opens a hole in the parking garage. Danny explores only to find some old relics along with, you guessed it, the “Book of the Dead” (better known as the Necronomicon). Danny finds a hidden message after playing some records backwards (this goes along with his hobby of being a dee jay), unleashes the evil inside the book which possesses Ellie. She starts to terrorize her own family with Beth vowing to protect them.
Aside from the name, there’s very little (to me, at least) that has anything in common with the original Evil Dead movies. Yeah, we’ve got the Book of the Dead, there’s a scene with a chainsaw and the name – other than that, I was hard pressed to find any similarities (or any pleasure watching this). I think the problem was that there wasn’t really a cohesive plot. Then again a character with a chainsaw for a hand killing demons saying “I’ll swallow your soul.” didn’t exactly win any Oscars. I’m getting distracted. It just felt like a sequence of events. It’s like “Hey, let’s do this in this scene…it’ll be awesome.” Things like that. I found it hard to get any real enjoyment out of the film as it wanted to see how much they could gross out the audience as opposed to entertain them. I realize that this film did get some pretty favorable reviews, but it just wasn’t for me.
Video: How’s it look?
If you like your movies dark, then this one is for you. Warner’s 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image does a great job of utilizing HDR for a nice, balanced look and feel. And that’s good, as there isn’t a shade of blue in the film. Faces covered in blood, green skin and ugly teeth – if this is something that gets you going, then you’ll be right at home. Detail is sharp, contrast strong and with it being a new film we know what to expect. And it does deliver. I just wish the content behind this nice-looking image had a little more substance.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The film does take full advantage of the included Dolby Atmos mix. This is mainly utilized for some spacial effects, screams and whatever else the evil spirits circling our speakers want. Vocals are a bit on the soft side, but they take a backseat to the front stage’s piercing mix. Virtually all of the sound is naturalistic, which does give us a nice-sounding atmospheric mix. Turn it up, it’ll make it a bit more enjoyable.
Supplements: What are the extras?
For reasons unknown, there are zero features on this disc. Not even a trailer.
The Bottom Line
I’m in the minority as I wasn’t really feeling this one. Others were. I just felt that I couldn’t relate to any of the characters and that the filmmakers used a previously-existing name to merit more profit. Warner’s disc looks and sounds great, though so if this is your thing – you’ll be happy.