Evil Dead Rise is full of carnage, blood, and scares this time around as it moves from the usual backwoods location to a high-rise apartment in a city. There are plenty of winks for veteran watches of the Evil Dead franchise along with a fresh, new perspective within this movie. The 4K video image with HDR looks amazing and the Dolby Atmos audio mix sounds perfect and demo-worthy. There are ZERO extras on this release, which is soul-crushing. And with that, it's only Worth A Look
It's always a great day when there is another installment in the iconic and bloody Evil Dead franchise. Everybody thought that Army of Darkness was going to be the final tale back in 1993, but luckily a revival remake in 2013 solidified the horror icon's status with modern audiences and prompted a three season tv series with the original cast of the main trilogy returning in their full glory. With a new take and perspective on the subject matter, Evil Dead Rise succeeds in its grim, horror, and bloody take on the material while paying homage to the previous films all while feeling fresh and original.
For his first big main feature film, Lee Cronin is assisted by Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, and the Raimi brothers in making sure this Evil Dead Rise movie is scary, bloody, and gobs of fun while introducing new characters and settings. Usually, these films take place in a remote cabin with adults looking for a small romantic getaway. With this new sibling successor, the location is transported to a condemned high-rise building in Los Angeles with young kids the primary focus of the ensuing carnage. These elements haven't really been fully explored before in this realm, but Cronin keeps its pacing tight and the horror at an all-time high throughout the movie.
Instead of focusing on the one man-god Bruce Campbell or somebody similar, Evil Dead Rise follows a single mother named Ellie who has three kids and is all living in a soon-to-be demolished high-rise apartment. The tattoo artist's money isn't rolling in, which is where the kids try and make any money they can to help out. Ellie's sister Beth comes to visit when an earthquake rattles Los Angeles and creates a hole underneath their high-rise. One of the children explores the hole and finds a crusty old book, some ancient artifacts, and some records, which of course, invite the horror to come.
From here, survival is the word as demonic possession, decapitations, bodily dismemberment, and more gory murders are seen. And if anyone knows how gross the Evil Dead franchise can be in terms of blood, guts, flesh, and muscle - there is no shortage of any of those things on display in Evil Dead Rise. The family dynamic and the three kids are all enjoyable to watch and are not the usual comedic tropes. They all have something a little different to their characters. Things that seem more natural and realistic in this day and age. The gore is practical and fantastic, which will delight the horror hounds completely, and there is never a shortage of it.
One aspect of the original Evil Dead trilogy and even the TV series is the addition of humor and dark comedy to the horror that surrounds this franchise. It's a staple and quite iconic when watching this franchise. But for some reason, the previous installment and now this film leaves out that comedy completely. Sure there are some awkward laughs, but the lack of any humor makes this movie feel like any other demonic possession movie. The Evil Dead franchise is separated from those films because of the comedy. Hopefully, a future installment will explore some of those comedic additions and stray away from complete darkness and brooding terror so it will feel more like an Evil Dead that's welcomed back home.
The cast does a great job with the delivery and physical demands that these roles bring. Especially the role of Ellie who is put through the ringer from start to finish. And for those that are looking out for Bruce Campbell - that wish will be granted in a pitch-perfect way that might cause this film to be in a multi-verse of sorts. Evil Dead Rise is a fun, horror film with rivers of blood, carnage, and scares. It's a worthy addition to the franchise that sets up more films. Hopefully, the next go-around will examine the dark comedy that these films have delivered so well before.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Evil Dead Rise possesses its way to 4K + Blu-ray +Digital Code via Warner Bros. The two discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features the demonic version of Ellie holding her kids with a creepy smile. There is an insert for a digital code.
Evil Dead Rise comes to 4K with a 2160p UHD 4K transfer with HDR enhancement. This is a visually stylized movie with many dark contrasts and low lighting levels to perfect that haunted and demonic look. It succeeds in those arenas where other movies might fail.
The key ingredients to the color wheel here are fiery oranges and cooler blue and green tints. There isn't much in between with the rare exception of some green trees and oceans of red blood that splash everywhere. But those sequences that come with fire or interior lighting have a wonderful amber glow that looks nostalgic and decayed. Darker sequences are bathed in a blueish-green filter that has a moldy texture that keeps the tone within its aesthetic. The HDR gives these stylized colors, including the variations of red blood some great depth of detail that will be distinguishable with many shades of blue, amber, and red. The biggest improvement between the 1080p version and this 4K transfer is the black levels. Here, there are completely inky and rich without zero crush or murky shadows, whereas the Blu-ray counterpart might have some of those issues crop up. The skin tones are a little darker than usual, but that's a stylistic choice and not something to do with the transfer.
The detail is rather sharp and vivid throughout, even within the dark confines of these locations. The bloody veins, muscles, flesh, and decaying body parts all reveal their natural and gory gruesomeness. Closeups come with individual hairs, practical makeup applications, beads of sweat and blood, and more. Wider shots never cross into a soft territory and reveal those great textures in props and the wardrobe. There are no issues with banding, aliasing, or heavy noise here either. This is a great-looking horror movie that thrives in the darkness.
This release delivers a demo-worthy Dolby Atmos track that hits hard right from the start. Dolby Atmos tracks are bred for action and horror, and Evil Dead Rise utilizes both genres. Those sound effects are loud, well-balanced, and extremely robust. The excellent cold open shatters expectations throughout the surround speakers with an incredible low-end of bass. Scenes that involve supernatural elements, along with some natural exterior sounds are simply exquisite. Those demonic voices are haunting with the different octaves coming through nicely and the crunching and smattering of bone and flesh sound gooey and perfect.
The bigger moments with fire and the climactic sequence toward the end of the film are flawless which allows for the natural reverb and spacious echoes that are used. The bass is booming with amazing rumbles and the height speakers rain down weather, voices, and other pieces of debris and haunting effects amazingly. This is one of those rare mixes that builds the dread and scares within its own sound effects and score. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow. There are no problems here.
There are ZERO extras. That demands repeating. There are NO extras on this release. For an Evil Dead film... there are NO extras. In this day and age, there really needs to be bonus features in order to spend hard-earned money for a physical copy of any movie. Horror movies are ripe with bonus content - especially this franchise. But maybe since some of the bigger studios are moving away from physical media and allowing other boutique home video companies to take the reigns, maybe in the near future there will be a bigger collector's release with tons of bonus content. But the sheer fact that there isn't even a commentary track or a small EPK featurette is flabbergasting in 2023.
Evil Dead Rise is a great sibling film to the iconic Evil Dead franchise. It allows audiences to come in with a new perspective while it pays homage to the previous movies before it. It's extremely grim, dark, and bloody as hell. As a veteran Evil Dead aficionado here, would it kill anyone to add some of that sully humor to the franchise again? Maybe on the next installment. That being said, this is a great, horrifying effort that all horror hounds will enjoy. The 4K video with HDR looks great and the Dolby Atmos track sounds incredible. There are NO bonus features on this release which is maddening, to say the least given this franchise's history for cutting up some amazing gas-powered bonus features on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K over the years. For fans who have to have it in the collection it's a fun flick and a great disc, but without bonus features making a later and probably better deluxe release practically a certainty - this edition is ultimately Worth A Look