Evil Dead Rise: is Horror on the Brink of Artistic Standstill?

The last two years have been filled with an array of new horror movies, from sequels to existing franchises, to new contemporary cinema.

Terrifier 2 sparked heated discussion throughout the internet, and Smile earned a whopping $101 million in profit. 

Horror movies are by far the most profitable genre, mainly because they have the lowest budget. However, the horror industry has been on a continuous decline in the past decade.

Many modern horror films lack originality, over-relying on jump scares, excessive gore and violence, weak character development, and too much CGI and special effects. 

Most of these issues are especially prominent in the new Evil Dead Rise movie, the most recent installment in the beloved “Evil Dead” franchise, which originated with the iconic 1981 film directed by Sam Raimi. 

The story revolves around two sisters who find themselves working in a city high-rise building. Unbeknownst to them, their actions inadvertently unleash a legion of demonic creatures upon the building and its unsuspecting occupants. 

As the malevolent forces take hold, the high-rise quickly descends into chaos, with the sisters and other survivors trapped inside, fighting for their lives.

The sisters must confront not only the physical threats posed by the demonic entities but also the psychological toll of being trapped in a nightmarish environment. 

They are forced to rely on their instincts, courage, and resourcefulness to navigate the increasingly treacherous and terrifying situations they encounter.

As the demonic presence grows stronger, the high rise becomes a battleground, with the survivors desperately seeking a way to escape or defeat the evil that has consumed the building. 

Although the Evil Dead franchise is most known for its ruthless gore and jump scares, its new addition just took it too far. 

This film demonstrates exactly what’s wrong with the horror industry. 

The first scene in the movie includes a demon possessing a girl ripping the scalp off of her sister’s head, and driving a drone into the side of her face. Another scene includes a woman shoving a demon creature of five humans into a meat grinder, covering the floor and ceiling with blood and guts. 

The internet has been talking about one scene in particular for the past month, in which a demon takes a cheese grater to another woman’s leg, and literally grates the skin off her leg. 

The gore is hard to watch, and it just gets worse as the movie progresses. It didn’t evolve the plot in any way and became overabundant very quickly. 

In addition, Evil Dead Rise uses excessive jump scares, a film technique most effective when employed sparingly and strategically. For a jump scare to be executed well, the director needs to take into account sound, lighting, and build-up. 

However, in this film, most of the jumps are quite predictable and frequent, with little effort put in. This desensitizes the viewer to the scares and distracts from the film’s narrative, which is fairly underdeveloped. 

This connects to the next critique of this sequel, it’s narrative. The main characters, two sisters, both have some individual trauma they’re dealing with. But little thought is put into their issues, and the plot is incredibly underdeveloped. 

For example, one of the sisters is pregnant, which appears to upset her at first, but it’s unclear why. She changes her mind later, and decides to “fight for her baby.” 

Warner Bros. Pictures

In addition, it’s incredibly predictable who will survive and who will die, the script favors two characters from the start of the movie. The best horror movies will catch you by surprise by killing off the character who you thought would make it out alive. 

Lastly, Evil Dead Rise lacked any originality. Understandably, it’s part of a franchise and needs to continue on the legacy of the other films, but it had no spark or nuance. It felt like a mix of the recent Smile movie, Truth or Dare, The Exorcist, Insidious, and Saw

All of those movies are noteworthy and were well done, but this new film just felt like a rip-off.

Directors are getting too lazy, and adding nothing to the industry except bland sequels. Will directors turn things around or has horror reached a state of creative stagnation?