Dead by Dawn

Separating the franchise from its generic teens-in-a-cabin horror, Evil Dead Rise locks itself inside an apartment building. Further, it’s no longer about horny kids, but estranged sisters, bringing an admittedly simple if crucial kick to this horror series.

Following the Evil Dead (2013) remake, Evil Dead Rise only needs to live up to its own ambitions. Under the guise of a major studio and a rush of high-dollar possession genre movies, Evil Dead Rise potentially goes wrong – easily so. The intelligence is in keeping things reserved, even the visual effects.

Evil Dead Rises doesn’t reinvent or push the genre forward, but does build on previous entries in an intriguing way

Between the endless blood expected of anything with the Evil Dead name is a satisfying inter-family drama, with demonic presence infesting a broken home. One sister lost her husband to divorce (and soon, her home) and another faces an unknown pregnancy, with kids caught in that crossfire. Thus the Deadite presence becomes a manifestation of grief, anger, and rage, a logical extension of everything Evil Dead Rise’s unseen monstrous force represents.

Evil Dead Rises doesn’t reinvent or push the genre forward, but does build on previous entries in an intriguing way. While Evil Dead isn’t designed for large scale stakes, bringing the manifestation to a crowded urban city means any sequel must tread carefully as to not overexert itself. Therein lies Evil Dead Rise’s success, because in the studio system, where the demand for ever larger spectacle and gore rule, this fifth entry subdues itself in scale. That’s refreshingly intelligent, and makes the vicious violence carry impact it would otherwise lose if implementing wider scale.

An audience need not inherently care for Beth (Lily Sullivan) or Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) for this to work. They admit their faults and mistakes, things society easily and readily judges people for, before the true cruelty appears. Beth turns heroine, protecting the kids as she can from someone who turned against them, initiating her motherly instincts and burying her doubt. Evil Dead Rise’s lore (and by extension, Evil Dead as a whole) exists to show the worst of us, letting feelings of spite and hatred rule. By giving Beth and Ellie time to bond in the first act, the payoff is that much greater.

The final act then is all madness, including practical effects that recall the masterpiece that was The Thing (1980). Chainsaws, blood baths, knives, guns, and endless full-view puncture wounds represent the best horror offers in a satisfying, grotesque finish that pays off every bit of character development.

Video

While dim (very) and dark by design, Evil Dead Rise spares nothing in terms of definition. A true 4K source certainly helps, resolving the tiniest facial details, gore, and rotting set design. Sharpness performs admirably, brilliantly even.

In terms of black levels, Evil Dead Rise stands among the greats on this format. Their purity and thickness is like few others. Cinematography rarely allows for the HDR pass to show off the brightness. Even the peaks remain subdued (with exceptions like electrical sparks), but this doesn’t reduce the dimensionality on display.

Blood shows vibrancy in an otherwise muted, if generally warm palette. Flesh tones pop better than expected considered, drained only in the coldest moments when the entire design skews cool.

Audio

The opening Warner logo is equivalent to one of the classic Dolby THX demos, with flies buzzing overhead and a sweeping wind effect through every speaker. It gets better from there. Evil Dead Rise utilizes a rousing, loud, truly bombastic design that’s absolutely world class.

From music to creepy sounds, the Atmos track expands wide, aggressively utilizing the rears at an almost constant rate, with overheads checking in regularly. Evil Dead Rise’s precision can impress even the most experienced or hardened home theater owner.

Aggressive bass induces shocks, predictably, but that’s not a fault. The intensity, shaking, and power are substantial. Tightness in the low-end can and will match the best discs on the market. Demonic voices reverberate brilliantly.

Extras

Absolutely nothing, which is absurd, but knowing this franchise, there are a minimum of five special editions coming in the future.

Evil Dead Rise
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Gooey and sadistic, Evil Dead Rise sticks to the simplicity that makes the series work.

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User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 44 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: