The first teaser trailers for “Evil Dead Rise” show off a very scary mother figure, which is great considering we are approaching the 10-year anniversary of Andrés Muschietti’s “Mama.”
Warner Bros. Discovery dropped two trailers this morning. The age-restricted red-band trailer features the tagline “Evil Comes Home” and is focused on mood, menace and onscreen carnage. The green-band teaser, which you can watch above, features a tagline “Witness the Rise of the Mother of All Evil” and is more plot-focused and emphasizes bloodless shocks and gooey menace. It’s no slouch in the intensity department, but it’s arguably safe to play ahead of Universal’s PG-13-rated “M3GAN,” which premieres Thursday night.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s official synopsis states that this fifth “Evil Dead” film concerns a road-weary traveler, Beth (Lily Sullivan) who visits her older sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment. “The sisters’ reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie’s building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons, and thrusting Beth into a primal battle for survival as she is faced with the most nightmarish version of motherhood imaginable.”
The latest film in the ongoing gross-out series is neither an explicit follow-up to the Sam Raimi-directed, Bruce Campbell-starring trilogy (which got a television continuation via “Ash vs Evil Dead”) nor a direct sequel to Fede Álvarez’s “Evil Dead” remake which also opened theatrically just over 10 years ago. Its existence follows initial plans, even if they likely never progressed beyond brainstorming, for a sequel to the remake and a sequel to “Army of Darkness” that would have eventually led to a crossover.
This installment, written and directed by Lee Cronin (“The Hole in the Ground”), was initially slated to be an HBO Max original feature under Jason Kilar’s previous AT&T regime. After Discovery took over Warner Bros. and David Zaslov pivoted back to emphasizing theatrical, this flick — along with “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” and “House Party” — got a promotion.
It will now open April 21, 2023, taking the spot previously occupied by Gary Dauberman’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot,” which was delayed indefinitely due to COVID-related postproduction issues.
The R-rated horror film will hope to find success similar to the remake, which earned decent reviews and opened with $25 million in early April of 2013. The $17 million film earned $97.5 million worldwide theatrically, a par-for-the-course sum in 2013 that would now be considered impressive if not outright superlative. That said, even a decade later, with the seismic changes that theatrical has undergone via competition from streaming and struggles due to COVID, high-concept horror remains a comparatively safe theatrical genre.
A modest theatrical profit would do wonders in terms of continuing the notion that theatrical release is still an ideal way to make money on a movie-by-movie basis. Either way, this “new” “Evil Dead” movie alongside the original trilogy and the first remake threatens to make the continuity as messy as that of the “Halloween” series or the “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” films (happy 10-year-anniversary to “Do your thing, Cuz” and “Texas Chainsaw 3D”). Fans won’t care as long as “Evil Dead Rise” delivers the groovy goods.