Evil Dead Rise Made Lily Sullivan Feel Like She Was In A Video Game

"Evil Dead Rise" hits theaters this week, and while the latest installment in the franchise created by Sam Raimi isn't out yet, it's already made plenty of horror fans squirm with a red band trailer that features some truly creative carnage. From a bloody omelette to a cheese grater attack, "Evil Dead Rise" seems poised to find plenty of gruesome scares in its apartment building setting. In fact, the film's star Lily Sullivan says some of its horror scene setups were so physical, acting them out sometimes felt a bit like making it through a level of a video game.

"I felt like I was in a video game," Sullivan told Digital Spy. She explained: "Lee would be like, 'OK, today you have a hammer'. [There were] all these obstacles that I was just constantly trying to get through. It was super physical." We see plenty of that physicality on display in early footage from the movie; the film's trailers show a blood-soaked Sullivan bashing her way through a metal grate, standing in a blood-filled elevator, brandishing a chainsaw, driving a getaway car, and, of course, taking the aforementioned cheese grater to the leg.

Sullivan credits the film's excellent crew, including "amazing doubles" and "Ash vs. The Evil Dead" stunt coordinator Stuart Thorp, for trusting the performers and helping to make those big action moments work. "Just the amazing thing of pulling off stunts and in-house camera tricks in the practical side of 'Evil Dead' was just so exciting," she told the outlet. "All departments had to be on board — if one fell, we all fell." All in all, the atmosphere became one in which, as she puts it, "acting came last, in a way," because so much went into "pulling off gags and suspense."

'It feels more like dancing than acting'

In an interview with /Film following the film's SXSW premiere, Sullivan and co-star Alyssa Sutherland spoke about the intensity of such a physically daunting role. "It does become a torture chamber," Sullivan admitted, but added, "There's moments where you're pushed to the absolute edge, but at the end of the day, you're coming to work, and it's an absolute feast, and a playground." 

The actress was equally effusive when speaking to Digital Spy, saying that it was "just so epic to be physical" and comparing the highly choreographed scenes not just to acting out video games, but to another form of synchronized motion as well: "It feels more like dancing than acting," she told Digital Spy. I'll try to remind myself that the film's nastiest moments are all basically a dance or a video game when I'm inevitably laying awake, scared out of my wits thinking about them this weekend.

The latest film detours from the story of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) for the first time in "Evil Dead" canon (he popped up briefly in the 2013 film, but that was also mostly a reboot), instead focusing on a story about a woman named Beth (Sullivan) whose life is quickly derailed when her sister (Sutherland), a mother to three kids, gets possessed after coming into contact with The Necronomicon. This time, "The Hole in the Ground" filmmaker Lee Cronin takes over for Raimi in the director's chair, but the horror legend is still on board as an executive producer.

"Evil Dead Rise" hits theaters this Friday, April 21, 2023.