When the first Evil Dead Rise trailer landed online back in January, horror fans rushed to social media to comment on one particular moment in the red-band clip: when possessed mother Ellie uses a cheese grater on her sister’s leg. Now, director Lee Cronin has “warned” genre lovers that there are plenty more shocking scenes where that came from in the supernatural sequel.
In the new issue of SFX magazine, which features Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on the cover, the filmmaker explains: “I definitely don’t hold back. My own taste is, ‘Yes, you’re going to see the knife going in.’ But it’s not torture porn. To me, that’s not actually what Evil Dead should be, because what I want to happen is as soon as you’ve gone, ‘Holy shit!’ guess what? Something else is about to happen.”
Cronin goes on to say that what he admires most about the franchise, which kicked off with Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead over four decades ago and was continued by Fede Alvarez in 2013, is that each installment is constantly refreshing. “I wanted it to be a roller coaster. So just as something’s happened, and you’re catching your breath, you get hit with the next thing,” he notes. “That’s the pace of the movie. You can’t tell that relentless steam train of a story if you spend too much time gazing at the gore.”
Set several years after Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) and his pals stumbled across the cursed Necronomicon, AKA the Book of the Dead, in the early 1980s, Evil Dead Rise follows Beth (Lily Sullivan), who makes a pitstop at her sister Ellie’s place in Los Angeles in the middle of a long road trip. There, she discovers Ellie struggling to raise her three kids in their cramped apartment – a task that becomes even more difficult when Ellie gets possessed by a demon upon the discovery of a strange book in the depths of the building.
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“There’s direct connectivity between what happens in this story and the others. They’re in the same world – this is not a parallel universe in any way. It’s happened
after Fede’s movie, and after Sam’s, but in a world where those stories have taken place,” Cronin spells out.
“The book that’s in this story is connected back to the past. If we look at Army Of
Darkness, and at the fact that there’s three books: Sam used one, Fede used one, and I said, ‘Y’know what, give me the third one, and let me go tell an Evil Dead story in that context.'”
Evil Dead Rise releases in US theaters on April 17, and UK cinemas on April 21. For more from our interview with director Lee Cronin, check out the upcoming issue of SFX magazine (opens in new tab), which hits newsstands on Wednesday, March 22. For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.