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Forty years after filmmaker Sam Raimi unleashed The Evil Dead, New Line is unveiling Evil Dead Rise, a new installment in the cult horror franchise set to debut on HBO Max. It’s unclear if the film will also get a theatrical release at this stage.
Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin, known for his 2019 directorial debut The Hole in the Ground, is writing and directing. Robert Tapert, producer of the 1981 original, returns to produce, with Raimi and original Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell executive producing. The film will shoot in New Zealand in June.
Evil Dead Rise takes the undead action away from the cabin in the woods and into the city as two estranged sisters’ reunion is cut short when flesh-possessing demons thrust them into a battle for survival. The film is led by Alyssa Sutherland, known for Spike’s The Mist and History’s Vikings, and Lily Sullivan, whose credits include features Picnic at Hanging Rock and Jungle.
“I’m thrilled to bring Evil Dead back to its original home at New Line 40 years after the release of the first film. The company’s history as pioneers of horror speaks for itself,” Raimi said in a statement. “I’m equally excited to be working with Lee Cronin, whose gifts as a storyteller make him the ideal filmmaker to continue the enduring legacy of the franchise.”
Campbell, who became a cult icon thanks to his decades-spanning work as Ash, added in his own statement, “At its core, Evil Dead is about ordinary people overcoming extraordinarily terrifying situations … I can’t wait for Alyssa and Lily to fill the blood-soaked shoes of those who have come before them and carry on that tradition.”
Released in 1981, The Evil Dead was made on a shoestring budget and grossed an impressive $2.61 million upon its original release. It spawned two sequels and a 2013 soft reboot, as well as Ash vs. Evil Dead, the TV show starring Campbell that ran on Starz for three seasons from 2015-18. The Evil Dead also helped propel Raimi as a filmmaking force. He would go on to helm the original Spider-Man trilogy and currently is at work on Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Cronin, who is said to have been hand-picked by Raimi to direct, grew up watching the films.
“The Evil Dead movies filled my brain with terror and awe when I first saw them at 9 years old,” said the incoming Evil Dead filmmaker. “I am excited and humbled to be resurrecting the most iconic of evil forces for both the fans and a whole new generation.”
New Line is responsible for horror hits such as the It films and the Conjuring franchise, and has James Wan’s original horror feature Malignant due out Sept. 10.
“New Line has a proud history of involvement in some of the most influential and enduring horror films of all time, and the original The Evil Dead was a landmark moment for the studio. The movie transformed the genre and with each new installment, Sam, Rob and Bruce have continued to raise the bar,” said Richard Brener, New Line president and chief creative officer. “It’s exciting to have them back in the fold for Evil Dead Rise after all these years, especially as they bring with them an immense talent in director Lee Cronin. His inventive spirit and his reverence for the franchise make him the perfect director to unleash Evil Dead once again.”
Raimi and Tapert are repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Campbell is repped by APA and Jacobson Russell Saltz Nassim & de la Torre, LLP. Cronin is repped by CAA, Cavalry Media and Jackoway Austen. Sutherland is repped by Realm Talent and Framework Entertainment. Sullivan is repped by ICM and RGM Artists.
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