The Best Horror Movie Sequel of 2023 is Streaming Now on Amazon Prime
This inventive sequel brings the Necronomicon to a condemned apartment building. Madness quickly ensues.
It’s been a weird year for horror movies. While films like M3GAN and Insidious: The Red Door have emerged as unlikely box office hits, the actual number of incredible horror titles has remained shockingly low. That’s even truer for this year’s horror sequels, which include disappointing movies like The Exorcist: Believer and The Nun 2, both of which fall short of the mark.
Fortunately, the same can’t be said for Evil Dead Rise. The film checks off nearly every box that fans of its franchise could reasonably ask it to. It’s got the same dark sense of humor as the original, Sam Raimi-directed Evil Dead movies, as well as the over-the-top blood and gore that made director Fede Álvarez’s 2013 reboot stand out so much.
It’s a truly gnarly, in-your-face horror film that grabs you by the throat after only a few minutes and then refuses to let go. And now, as of this week, it’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Evil Dead Rise follows Beth (Lily Sullivan), a guitar technician who discovers she’s pregnant and decides to seek out her Los Angeles-based sister, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), for advice. When she arrives, however, Beth not only gets the chance to reunite with Ellie’s kids, Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher), but also learns that the decrepit apartment building where they live has been recently condemned. In case that wasn’t bad enough, Danny, Bridget, and Kassie also secretly discover one of the three volumes of the Necronomicon the same night that Beth returns.
Ignoring his sister’s advice, Danny plays an old recording of a priest reading from the book. In doing so, he unknowingly summons entities known as Deadites to their apartment building. Ellie is quickly overtaken and possessed by the book’s evil spirits, who use her body to go on a murderous rampage that traps Beth, Danny, Bridget, and Kassie in their isolated apartment and results in the deaths and possessions of their neighbors. Beth is, consequently, forced to try to protect her nephew and nieces from their own mother.
The Evil Dead franchise is, of course, no stranger to contained settings. In fact, several of the series’ entries take place entirely in isolated cabins. However, none of the franchise’s other films feel quite as suffocatingly claustrophobic as Evil Dead Rise. The movie’s writer-director, Lee Cronin, continuously emphasizes the cramped confines of its central apartment — making the threat of Alyssa Sutherland’s possessed Ellie feel ever-present. The more people that Ellie kills and adds to her growing Deadite army, the more trapped the film’s scared protagonists seem, too. While watching the film, it’s hard to think of another recent mainstream horror movie that has used a single setting as well as Evil Dead Rise does.
The film’s claustrophobic atmosphere only makes its various, bloody twists seem all the more nightmarish, and Cronin imbues the sequel with the same mean-spirited sense of humor that has long defined the Evil Dead franchise. Throughout its story, the movie finds hilariously gory uses for cheese graters, tattoo guns, and garbage trucks, and Cronin’s script proves to be fittingly ruthless in its treatment of its characters. Alyssa Sutherland, meanwhile, turns in a transformative performance as the Deadite-possessed Ellie that is as physically impressive as it is terrifying. (She somehow manages to play a possessed murderer even better than Jane Levy in 2013’s Evil Dead.)
Ultimately, Evil Dead Rise emerges as a deliciously acidic sequel, one that recaptures a lot of what has always made the Evil Dead franchise so special, all while leaning further into the bloodier, gorier aesthetic introduced by its 2013 reboot. It’s so unrepentantly violent, trapping you so efficiently in its one cramped apartment, that it really does manage to evoke the feeling of a genuine nightmare. There’s simply no other horror movie sequel this year that’s better than it.
Evil Dead Rise is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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