The roof nearly blew off at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas tonight, as both Antonio and myself were among the 1200 scared souls in attendance at the SxSW Film & TV Festival World Premiere of EVIL DEAD RISE as part of the legendary Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell combo and directed by Lee Cronin.

ABOUT: “Evil Dead Rise” tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.

JASON’S REACTION: There is a term to describe the audience enjoyment for a movie like this, and it’s “euphoric”. The SxSW screening will go down in memory as an experience that I felt in every fiber of my being. If you get to see this movie in an empty auditorium then back luck for you, as this was absolutely made for the screamers, the duckers-behind-the-seat and those who can’t keep their popcorn in their bucket from shaking so much.

This incarnation features two sisters, a reunion, some kids, THE BOOK and the unleashing of its power, taking place mostly in an apartment after a wowser of an opening sequence on a lake. The evil is out there to wage war on our hero Beth (Lily Sullivan, also here at the festival with the Australian genre title MONOLITH) and some poor kids who get a lot of action thrown on them as well.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies (L-R) – SxSW Programmer Peter Hall, Lee Cronin, Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, producer Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi & Bruce Campbell. JW, photo

EVIL DEAD RISE is far from perfect and of course some truly bizarre things happen throughout (I wanted to shout out “Don’t go there!” a few times but I kept silent) but this new addition to the series is a lot of graphic fun and a far cry from the 2013 edition from Fede Alvarez which also had its premiere in Austin. For starters, it is wise to cast a great acting-is-reacting face in Lily Sullivan who will no doubt become a major star for her kick-ass-ery. It’s matched by Lee Cronin (THE HOLE IN THE GROUND) who does not hold back on his practical effects work, stunning cinematic framing with a LOT of wide angles, dutch framing and extreme close-ups and references from ALIENS to THE SHINING along with call-backs to the original movies, all of which I can’t wait for audiences to discover.

Not only is RISE a terrific addition to the series but it also absolutely works in what I like to call a “A Boo/Scare Picture” in that you can also just go to see this movie to enjoy the gore, jump scares and thrilling action. I see this becoming a huge hit when it comes out and a real treasure for horror fans.

Warner Bros/New Line Cinema will be releasing EVIL DEAD RISE in April, and if you are a fan of this series or in for a good Boo/Scare Picture, don’t miss it on Friday night with a packed crowd. Our thanks to SxSW as always!

This film and many others like it will be showing at South By Southwest taking place March 10-19. For more information point your browser to

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