Director Lee Cronin Wanted To Keep One Key Aspect Of The Classic Cabin For Evil Dead Rise

When word got out that the new "Evil Dead" film wasn't set to include Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) or Sam Raimi in the director's chair, fans were understandably nervous about the film. After all, Raimi and Campbell's campy, splatter-filled masterpieces are considered some of the best horror films of all time, and without the two of them in their regular roles (both are on board as producers), what would the first installment of the franchise after "Ash vs. Evil Dead" look like? It turns out, the answer is "still awesome."

The first trailer for "Evil Dead Rise" dropped earlier this month to immediate, resounding shrieks of delight and disgust. Both the red-band version of the preview and the theoretically more audience-friendly version deliver plenty of nasty scares, with the gruesome, creative body horror "Evil Dead" is known for, and a dash of its signature dark humor, too. But the movie no doubt looks different than most of the "Evil Dead" installments we're used to. Even Fede Álvarez's 2013 revamp took place at a secluded cabin in the wilderness, but "Evil Dead Rise" transfers the horror to a totally different location: a Los Angeles apartment complex.

According to director Lee Cronin, though, the apartment is a fresh setting that still delivers one of the things the "Evil Dead" cabin is most known for. "It still needed to maintain some of the claustrophobia," Cronin told Total Film magazine (via Games Radar), "and that translated really well from the cabin into an urban environment." Just as the sixth "Scream" film is set to move from seemingly idyllic small-town Woodsboro to the Big Apple, the newest "Evil Dead" will move the horrors of the Necronomicon and its curse to an environment where personal space is limited and the rest of the outside world isn't exactly a comfort.

Apartment living can be hell

"This is about a family in a rundown building stuck in their apartment," Lee Cronin says of the film, which follows sisters Beth (Lily Sullivan) and Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and Ellie's three kids. "It follows the same rhythm but puts it in a more contemporary space." The filmmaker, who previously directed the ominous Irish horror film "The Hole in the Ground," says he was "always pretty comfortable making that move" to Los Angeles, thanks in part to other classic "'Evil Dead' elements that the movie still does include. "There's no Ash in this story and there's no cabin in the woods, and they're two iconic elements of what 'Evil Dead' is," he says, "But the movie does include the book and an extraordinary amount of vicious, malevolent Deadites."

It also includes some grotesque, buzzed-about moments, like when a Deadite takes a cheese grater to Beth's leg, and when two girls who are in a cabin-like rural setting end up in a truly messed-up-looking situation that leaves one of them without a scalp. Sam Raimi fans won't know whether or not "Evil Dead Rise" lives up to our expectations until it's released this spring but based on the trailer alone, Lee's totally right: there's plenty of horrors to be found in a cramped apartment.

"Evil Dead Rise" hits theaters on April 21, 2023.