Horror fans, rejoice — the “Evil Dead” are coming back to swallow your soul.
In an interview with Diabolique, producer Bruce “Super-Chin” Campbell revealed that not only is a fourth (or fifth, depending on how you look at it) installment in the venerable horror franchise finally gearing up to enter production, it even has a name: “Evil Dead Rise.”
For those of you who recently got hit in the head with a large rock, a brief rundown: Campbell has been involved in the franchise from the very beginning, appearing in the lead role of Ashley J. Williams in writer-director Sam Raimi’s debut feature, 1981’s succinctly titled “Evil Dead.” Produced using borderline-guerrilla tactics on a shoestring budget, the flick set itself apart from typical early-’80s slasher fare with its innovative camera work, creepy setting (a dilapidated cabin in the middle of some foreboding woods), and ferocious violence. In it, Ash, his girlfriend Linda, and their three buddies head off for a weekend of camping at the cabin, only to unleash the fury of ancient demons by inadvertently playing back recordings of incantations from the Sumerian Book of the Dead — the “Necronomicon.”
1987’s “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” was essentially a remake of the first film on a much higher budget (and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise), and it injected healthy amounts of slapstick comedy to go along with its buckets of gore. The flick became an instant cult classic, and spawned a true sequel: 1992’s “Army of Darkness,” which saw Ash battling “Deadites” in medieval times after getting sucked into a whirling interdimensional vortex at the conclusion of the previous film.
The franchise received a soft reboot in 2013 with writer-director Fede Alvarez’s “Evil Dead,” which featured an all-new, Campbell-less cast visiting the infamous cabin. That flick was, without hyperbole, one of the most terrifying movies of the last 20 years or so. Raimi and Campbell, who produced the flick, teased that they were working on something new in July 2019 — and now, we have a few more details.
Who is in the cast of Evil Dead Rise?
Okay, so, no Ash. Thanks to the Starz series, Campbell has given us more of that character than we ever reasonably expected to get, so we can live with that. In fact, the 2013 edition of “Evil Dead” worked beautifully without him (save for that tiny little post-credits cameo), so we’re of the opinion that keeping the series focused on fresh characters is a good plan.
According to Variety, the next twisted chapter in the “Evil Dead” saga will take at least one page out of the reboot’s book and feature an entirely new cast of characters. “Evil Dead Rise” is set to follow two sisters played by Alyssa Sutherland (“Vikings”) and Lily Sullivan (“Dark Place”) who reunite only to be interrupted by the series’ trademark horde of body-possessing demons.
Campbell, for his part, seems stoked about the casting. In a statement regarding the recent slew of announcements, he said, “At its core, ‘Evil Dead’ is about ordinary people overcoming extraordinarily terrifying situations. I can’t wait for Alyssa and Lily to fill the blood-soaked shoes of those who have come before them and carry on that tradition” (via Variety).
With production about to begin overseas, more casting announcements are undoubtedly imminent, so stay tuned.
What is the plot of Evil Dead Rise?
Back when the project was first rumored in 2020, we speculated that Campbell, Raimi, and Cronin might finally move “Evil Dead” into the big city. Our suspicions proved prophetic. For years, the principals involved with the “Evil Dead” franchise have been intimating that they like to think of the series as unbound to the specific elements that make up films past. That clearly includes both the character Ash, the remote, rural setting, and even the comedic tone, which has infiltrated the series to varying degrees over the years. “Army of Darkness” was easily the most comedic of the lot, while the 2013 reboot was the most unrelentingly terrifying.
Our best guess from reading between the lines of the latest announcements is that “Evil Dead Rise” will hew closer in tone to the first two “Evil Dead” films, and may even approach the levels of sheer horror achieved by the 2013 reboot. Campbell, at least, has been clear that this film will not be “Army of Darkness 2,” so campy time-travel film is certainly out.
No matter which direction the creative team goes, the introduction of female protagonists and the urban setting will ensure a fresh “Evil Dead” experience.
Is there a trailer for Evil Dead Rise?
What is the release date for Evil Dead Rise?
In his Diabolique interview, Campbell spent a great deal of time discussing his upcoming book “The Cool Side of My Pillow.” In fact, he was only asked for an update on a new “Evil Dead” flick as an afterthought, and while his answer was short and sweet, there’s still quite a bit to unpack. “The official name is Evil Dead Rise,” Campbell said. “We’re getting a new draft in. I don’t think anything will happen until 2021. Full bore ahead, we’re very excited about it. A whole, new ballgame. No more cabin in the woods.”
Variety is now reporting that “Evil Dead Rise” is indeed full-steam ahead at the franchise’s original home, New Line, and that the finished product will forego a traditional theatrical release and instead head directly to HBO Max without passing Go nor collecting box office receipts. As previously rumored, Lee Cronin (“The Hole in the Ground”) penned the screenplay and will be directing this outing, with both Raimi and Campbell attached as executive producers. Per Variety, the film is set to begin production in New Zealand in June.
We can expect it to take a year or more from the time production commences to the flick being ready to stream, so expect to see “Evil Dead Rise” sometime in 2022. We’re going to go out on a limb and predict that the film will drop right around, oh, say, Halloween — but you may want to bookmark this page, because we’ll be updating it with an official release date as soon as there’s an announcement.