When the Evil Dead franchise returns for its next installment, it’s going to look a little different than Sam Raimi’s original trilogy. Instead of taking place in a cabin in the woods, the next film will be set in a high-rise. Like 2013’s Evil Dead, this new film won’t feature Bruce Campbell as Ash, but will feature a new heroine trying to fight the evils from the Book of the Dead.
In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, the director of the upcoming Evil Dead Rise, Lee Cronin, made it clear his take on the iconic horror franchise will be familiar, but explore new directions the series has never explored before. Cronin said, “I’m confident I’m going to do something that’s both familiar and refreshing. I’m gonna deliver a rollercoaster of horror.” Cronin continued, “That’s what the goal is here. Relentless. Not stopping to explain too much. It needs to be extremely visceral, highly entertaining, properly scary. To push boundaries, that’s important as well.” It sounds as though Cronin’s take on the franchise is right in line with the Bruce Campbell films.
The series’ former star and current producer, Bruce Campbell, also recently discussed the new direction for the series on AL.com. Campbell said, “What we’re doing now is we’re saying, ‘Look, this is another Evil Dead movie and that book gets around, a lot of people run into it and it’s another story.’ The main key with Evil Dead is they’re just regular people who are battling what seems to be a very unstoppable evil, and so that’s where the horror comes from.” Saying of the film’s new female protagonist, “It’s not someone who’s skilled. They’re not fighting a soldier. They’re not fighting a scientist. They’re not fighting anybody more than your average neighbor. This one is going to be a similar thing.”
Bruce Campbell also went on to say, “We’re going to have a heroine, a woman in charge, and she’s going to try and save her family.” Campbell also went on to call the film a modern-day urban version of Evil Dead and that they’re hoping to make the film next year, once they’ve locked in the right partner for the project. Evil Dead has largely stayed within similar parameters, so it’ll be interesting to see what Lee Cronin and Bruce Campbell can do making this a more family-centered, urban story.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Bruce Campbell has stood aside and let strong female characters lead the Evil Dead series. 2013’s Evil Dead starred Jane Levy as Mia, while the Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead featured Brandy Barr (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo). While all of these stories have centered around the Book of the Dead and its passing from owner-to-owner, it’s unclear how Evil Dead Rise will connect to Ash vs. Evil Dead, Raimi’s original trilogy, or Fede Alvarez’s attempted reboot, if at all.
Despite having not worked within the Evil Dead series since 1992’s Army of Darkness, Sam Raimi has in recent years discussed the possibility of returning to Evil Dead with Bruce Campbell in some context. In March 2017, Raimi had said he and his brother were planning on writing a fourth Evil Dead film, with the title Army of Darkness 2, which would see Bruce Campbell also returning, and Raimi directing once more. By the end of the year, however, Bruce Campbell would say he doubted anything would come of a direct sequel to the original series.
Even as recent as July of 2019, Sam Raimi was discussing a new film in the Evil Dead franchise with Bruce Campbell’s involvement. While Evil Dead Rise was announced in October of 2019, it was without either Campbell or Raimi. The last time Campbell and Raimi have worked together was in 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Raimi is currently working on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is slated for a March 25, 2022 release.
Yet it is great to see Evil Dead continuing in this fashion, with Lee Cronin exploring new limits for the series, while Bruce Campbell is working behind the scenes and giving the new direction his blessing. Evil Dead Rise sounds like an exciting exploration of this horror world that started over forty years ago.