Why Evil Dead Rise Took The Franchise Out Of The Woods And Into The City [Exclusive]

The "Evil Dead" franchise consists of four films and a television show so far, and yet the series feels like it's hesitant to leave the confines of a cabin in the woods. The upcoming fifth movie in the franchise, "Evil Dead Rise," is breaking that pattern and visiting the city of Los Angeles, substituting its usual cabin setting with an apartment building. /Film's Ryan Scott spoke with director and writer Lee Cronin to discuss the change and how it could add a fresh breath of decayed air to the "Evil Dead" universe.

After two films set in the same location, Sam Raimi's "Army of Darkness" introduced a radical shift when it took Ash Williams to medieval Britain. However, the fantastical and even more overtly comedic tone downgraded the gory violence and shock value that drew people to the first two entries, and the "Evil Dead" remake brought the series back to its cabin roots. The television show "Ash vs Evil Dead" had the titular protagonist bumbling his way through his trailer park, a small town, and even a sperm bank, but the series still uses the original cabin as a pivotal location. The challenge of "Evil Dead Rise" is to prove how the new, urban setting can still work as an "Evil Dead" film, even without the presence of Ash.

Demons in the City of Angels

Cronin explained his decision to move "Evil Dead" to L.A. in order to avoid repeating the same story once again:

"I kind of knew instinctively that if I came back with a cabin in the woods take, it was just going to be more of the same. It was going to be like, 'How do we mash this up? How do we double down on what's already been doubled down on?' So instinctively I felt like I needed to take it to an urban context ... I felt the city, the urban jungle, was the polar opposite to what we've seen before. So if you're going to make a change, you really got to make a change, in a way."

Producer Rob Tapert, who has guided the series ever since the first film, reminded Cronin to not "lose sight that 'Evil Dead' is about a group of four or five people that get trapped and get chopped up," an element that the filmmaker said is "important to be true to the DNA of what an 'Evil Dead' story is." Just because the Deadites are invading the city doesn't mean that they're turning into generic zombies. The sadistic creatures lay at the black heart of "Evil Dead Rise," their mean-spirited natures and over-the-top violent tendencies making them "way more sinister with way more personality" than your standard horde of undead. Hopefully, these demons can bring a little mayhem to the City of Angels.