Evil Dead Rise's Most Brutal Scenes, Ranked

This post contains spoilers for "Evil Dead Rise"

When 2013's "Evil Dead" debuted, critics and horror fans weren't on the same page of "The Necronomicon." Some revolted against its addiction recovery storyline, offended that Fede Alvarez's film remade the zany Bruce Campbell-starring horror comedy franchise into something grisly and somber. Others thought the film's dark themes and its fresh blood unlocked a thrilling new dimension for the Deadites (and viewers) to explore. Of course, these opposing views revived the debate that has always haunted the franchise: What counts as an Evil Dead movie?

However, most failed to realize Alvarez wasn't rewriting anything within the world of Sam Raimi's demons. Given the era his film came out, when the aughts flooded the horror scene with remake after remake, it's understandable why many assumed "Evil Dead" fell into this bloated category. However, In 2018, Alvarez confirmed his film is a sequel,  pointing out that it includes a shot of Ash's (Bruce Campbell) car rusting near the cabin. His film and 2023's "Evil Dead Rise" are separate ill-fated stories within this vast and gnarly universe. In 2022, during a /Film interview, Campbell teased that there are three cursed and time-traveling books, so let's learn from 2013's mixed reception and judge this latest entry based on its story, not Ash's legacy.

Inevitably, some will approach "Evil Dead Rise" with apprehension, especially fans who miss the short-lived and beloved "Ash vs Evil Dead" series. But let's play with Mommy and the maggots and see how blissfully punishing she is!

9. Caleb foretells his own death

Yes, the opening kills in "Scream 6" shocked many horror fans, but I think the opening of "Evil Dead Rise" tears it to shreds. In a loving homage to the series, the movie opens with a shaky dolly shot, tracking through the woods with quickening speed. The effect embodies the feeling of an otherworldly force rushing toward its next victim. But unlike the original film (which used speeding bicycles and vaseline-slathered wood to achieve its POV), this viewpoint comes from a drone camera that nearly collides with Teresa (Mirabai Pease).

Caleb (Richard Crouchley) laughs while Teresa shouts that he could have decapitated her. Instead of apologizing, he sips a beer and explains to Teresa that the blades on the drone aren't sharp enough to do that. However, they can still cut her. He seems almost tempted to try and hurt her. Flash forward to about two minutes later. Caleb brutally learns just how sharp these blades are — thanks to his Deadite-possessed girlfriend, Jess (Anna-Maree Thomas). To add hilarious insult to injury, Jess also rips his head off. Since he's a jerk, his death lands more in the realm of darkly amusing than scary. In a femme-focused horror film, he's perfect body fodder, embodying a less polished version of Ash Williams' patronizing brutishness and lack of charm. Still, unwittingly foretelling your death moments before it occurs is harsh.

8. Who is the brainless meat puppet now?

One of the most disturbing things about the Deadites is how they seemingly peer into your psyche, exposing deeply held fears, beliefs, or grudges you wouldn't dare speak aloud. Of course, they're also demons who enjoy playing with the boundaries of truth and preying on vulnerabilities. Every once in a while, a possessed character will utter something that genuinely feels like a confession. When this happens, it's intriguing and horribly sad. As we know, this person is dead. They will never get to resolve whatever issue plagued them. However, this characterization works best when we've spent time with characters and understand their established relationships and desires. Without that, those chilling admissions run the risk of sounding more like pointed one-liners.

I can't deny how disturbed I felt when Jess scalps Teresa by pulling her braid off, saying, "Who is the brainless meat puppet now?" While it doesn't land as hard as later Deadite slurs, it nevertheless hints at the longstanding tension between these two friends. At this point in the story, Teresa is still unsure what Jess is. The pain reflected on her face is a delicious mix of confusion, hurt, and fear. She'll die, never knowing if Jess really felt that way or if the Deadite exaggerated an internal fear of hers. That irresolution adds some emotional meat to the gorefest. However, the film's more developed family dynamics easily trump this one.

7. Do your chores for Mommy!

Yes, you probably shouldn't crawl into a crypt-like hole in the ground and bring a book with teeth back into your apartment. Also, the kids in "Evil Dead Rise" might have been able to save their mother from her horrible fate if they had listened to her requests. Before the dumb Danny (Morgan Davies) brings the demonic tome into their lives, Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) asks her mom, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), to find her shirt. Ellie tells her that it's dirty and that she knows how to do laundry. The teen balks at such a task! Ellie also tells Danny to turn down his music, which he doesn't do either. Instead, he finds a cursed record to play at full volume while Ellie resigns herself to do the laundry for Bridget.

Thanks to her children, Ellie is in the elevator at precisely the wrong time. She's knocked back by a demonic force that breaks her limbs and contorts her onto the ceiling. While the bone-crunching sound of Ellie's spine being played with like an accordion is brutal enough, the realization that her children are to blame for her death is the true horror here. The children's last words to their mother are filled with annoyance. That's their last real memory with her. As in life, Ellie dies without anyone helping her. What a gut punch! However, this tragedy fuels Deadite Ellie's wrath, leading to some violently cathartic scenes.

6. Cheese grater scene

Okay, I can't go further with this list without mentioning the cheese grater scene. No, I don't think it's the grossest moment — not by a long shot. However, it's one of the film's most unique set pieces. From the memes to the hyped merchandise to the for-your-consideration bags of mini-cheese graters, I expected more from this scene. What's teased in the trailer isn't too far from what's shown in the film. The camera doesn't linger long on the shot, sacrificing a chance to show Beth's (Lily Sullivan) calf being mangled. Beth even cares for the wound off-screen. Without knowing the extent of the injury, it raises questions for me about how badly she's hurt and whether or not her movements afterward are realistic.

Despite my qualms, the scene cleverly deepens our understanding of these characters. Director Lee Cronin uses this sequence to express the tension between possessed Bridget and her aunt, Beth (Lily Sullivan). He wanted something "particularly visceral," and it is. Earlier in the film, we learn that Beth could have come home to Ellie sooner to help her with finances and the kids, but she chose to focus on her career. Posessed Bridget delights in calling Beth selfish. In this claustrophobic scene, there's a deeper parallel at play concerning motherhood, too. As the Deadite child grates her skin, we're reminded that Beth is pregnant. This metaphorically embodies her fears that children strip away selfhood.

5. Ellie's omelet gone awry

Only Ellie really understands the sacrifices that come with motherhood. Ellie's deranged omelet-making scene symbolizes the brutal stress of raising children. Wordlessly, she throws eggs into a frying pan. Cracked shells pile atop cooking egg yolks while her confused children stare at her. The imagery summons a connection between what her body has been through for her children — yes, the possession, but also her pregnancies.

When you're pregnant, bones reshape, and organs shift to make room for a child. The experience is a kind of body horror. This time, her children must process what they've done to her — and it's not pretty. Deadite Ellie reveals her ghastly self to her children and utters one of the film's most memorable lines: "I'm free now, free from you t***y-sucking parasites." Everything that follows this pivotal scene is bloodily brutal for a reason. It marks the animalistic unleashing of Ellie's feelings of suffocation and loss of identity. This heel-turn satirizes the unrealistic expectations placed on mothers to be selfless, pure, and docile creatures. From here, momma gets gory.

4. Friendly neighbors' deaths and eye gouging

After Beth and the children realize Ellie is dead, Deadite Ellie shows no mercy. She tries to stab Bridget's eye with a shard of glass and searches for various ways to punish her children. It's not until the neighbors help the family that Deadite Ellie's full potential as a demonic force surfaces. A lot of the carnage happens off-screen, though we see Ellie murderously ping-pong back and forth down the hallway through the perspective of their door's peephole. Out of all the film's sequences, this one best embodies the fun that "Evil Dead" fans love about the franchise. The disturbing yet merry happenstance nature of these kills makes it feel like we're watching footage cut from "Ash vs Evil Dead."

The first jaw-dropping act of violence from Deadite Ellie arrives when she bites a neighbor's eye out of his head. But she's not done! She then spits the eye into someone's mouth, choking them to death. Looney Tunes-like kills are a hallmark of this franchise, but the swiftness of this sequence is jarring. "Evil Dead Rise" contains buckets of blood and kills that rank higher viscerally. This is the first time Deadite Ellie delights in wreaking havoc while her children process how monstrous their mother has become. She has (literally) killed their remaining hope for outside help.

3. Teasing Kassie with a happily-ever-after ending

Even though Danny, Bridget, and Beth know there is no hope for their mother, Kassie (Nell Fisher) takes more convincing. As the youngest child, she's naively hopeful that her mother could somehow return from demonic possession. Yes, the demonic force knows this and preys on Kassie's optimism. To lure Kassie to open their apartment door, Deadite Ellie promises Kassie that her father is coming home. Weaponizing Kassie's dream is a devastating way to torture her. When Kassie inevitably opens the door to be a "good girl," Deadite Ellie strangles her with one hand.

Whereas other films would shy from showing a young child being choked on-screen, "Evil Dead Rise" pans out into a wide shot. Kassie's little feet can't touch the floor because she's lifted so high into the air. Kassie was the last of the family members to believe that things could go back to how they were. After this point, even Kassie knows that they'll have to kill whatever that thing is, even if it sings to her just like their mother once did, leading her to impale her mother's head with Staffanie. Ugh, my heart! 

Still, there are two more depraved moments that top this one.

2. Dead children grieving/laughing over dead mom

After Danny and Bridget become possessed by Deadites, Kassie and Beth are determined to escape the hellscape of their blood-soaked apartment building. In the hallway, they're met with a macabre surprise. Possessed versions of Danny and Bridget sob over their mother's decaying body. Poor Kassie witnesses her dead siblings clinging to their possessed mom. However, they're demons, remember? So what starts as tears morphs into caustic laughter. Eventually, Deadite Ellie absorbs her children into her, forming Marauder, a crawling Lovecraftian monster resembling the creature from 1982's "The Thing." Composer Stephen McKeon included the laughter of two women vocalists "delighting at the terror of these characters," which can especially be heard here.

What hits hard about this scene is how it mocks Kassie and Beth's unprocessed grief. Events unfold at breakneck speed in the final act, so it's almost easy to forget that Beth and Kassie's immediate family died in one night. Up until this point, survival has been the modus operandi. For a moment, the film slows its chase sequences to look at their loss before it shoves the fruitlessness of grief amidst this bloodbath in their faces. Given Kassie's young age, this demonic trick feels especially cruel in a way that only Deadites could pull off. 

Yet, there's one scene that tops this brutal showcase!

1. Kassie's loss of innocence

In "Evil Dead Rise," Kassie goes through a lot. From running from possessed neighbors to stabbing her family members to escape, this kid will need so much therapy. One of the most heartwrenching moments occurs after Beth and Kassie exit a blood-filled elevator. A confused Kassie asks Beth if she's dead. She's in so much shock that she can't understand whether she's alive or if she's entered an ongoing "Skinamarink"-like hell dimension.

At the end of "Evil Dead Rise," Beth and Kassie unite to defeat the Marauder. However, the reason they succeed isn't just because there's an industrialized grinder to shove the Big Bad into in the nick of time. Earlier in the film, we learn that this evil can't be stopped until there's a loss of innocence. While Beth ultimately chainsaws the creature to bits, it's Kassie who is instrumental here. She turns the machine on, destroying the remains of her family members and her familial role. Whatever innocence remains in Kassie is brutally squashed in that grinder.

Again, there's a parallel at play. We can imagine how Kassie will become an older, protective sister to Beth's unborn child — much like her mother was. Kassie has seen a world without mercy. Yet, what scares us most about this hard-hearted outcome is one question: Will Kassie ever be free of this evil? Or, like Ash, will she be doomed to live and relive this traumatic cycle?