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The Evil Dead live again in the first Evil Dead Rise trailer

The first trailer for the movie offers a glimpse at how the movie escapes and celebrates its own history.

Evil Dead Rise
Image credit: Warner Bros Discovery

This April, it’s time for the Evil Dead to rise — but this time, there’s no Bruce Campbell to be found, as the franchise reboots itself with Evil Dead Rise. The first trailer for the movie gives an idea of what to expect, and it’s at once startlingly new and very familiar… and that might work in the series’ favor.

The new movie, written and directed by Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground), isn’t entirely devoid of either Campbell or original director Sam Raimi, with both serving as executive producers to the project. Beyond that, it’s a significant departure for the franchise with no recurring franchise characters making an appearance, and the movie is set in Los Angeles rather than a cabin in the woods like earlier installments.

Watch the trailer here:

In its tone, it’s similar to both the 2013 soft reboot Evil Dead — which is to say, more serious and less comedic than earlier installments in the series — and a current wave of horror movies, with a focus on mixing psychological stories (a family terrorized by their mother) and viscerally visual spectacle, with zombies and literal tsunamis of blood flowing throughout the apartment; everything in the trailer promises that this not only isn’t the Evil Dead as the traditional conception of the series might hold, but it is a movie that’s very much in tune with today’s idea of what a horror movie should be. This ain’t your parents’ Evil Dead. In a way, this prompts the wild realization that, with the first movie being released 42 years ago, “grandparents’ Evil Dead” might hold more water.

And yet, it’s clearly the Evil Dead. The trailer makes a point of showing two major visual cues from the series to date, with both the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis showing up, and Alyssa Sutherland’s Ellie bearing a chainsaw — taking a cue from Ash in a way that won’t become as handy, so to speak, as her predecessor. As such, it makes the trailer even smarter, offering just enough fan service to comfort longterm followers of the franchise that not everything has changed and, ideally, lure them into the theaters when the movie is released April 21.

Evil Dead Rise may end up being, perhaps fittingly for a zombie franchise, proof that there’s life after seeming death for one of the most fun horror franchises around — and in a way that doesn’t rely on the nostalgia for the original cast a la the recent Halloween trilogy of movies. We’ll see if the finished product lives up to the hype in just a few months.

Want to watch more scary movies? Check out this list of the 10 best horror movies, including classics like Green Room, Psycho, and Alien.

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