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Easter Eggs And References You Missed In Evil Dead Rise

"Evil Dead Rise" hit theaters in April 2023, causing both fans and critics alike to shower the film with a solid amount of praise. The latest entry in the long-running "Evil Dead" series certainly tries out a few new tricks when compared to previous films.

This time around, we leave the woods in favor of a rundown Los Angeles high rise wherein we meet Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three kids — Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher). One dark and stormy night, Ellie's sister, Beth (Lily Sullivan), stops by after a long time on the road as a music technician. However, following an earthquake, Danny discovers the Book of the Dead in a bank vault underneath the parking garage. After playing a recording of the incantations within, the Deadite curse is unleashed on the high rise in grand fashion.

What ensues is close to 90 minutes of eye-popping, glass-chomping, and chainsaw-revving fun that's sure to have you on the edge of your seat. However, amidst the carnage are a few choice easter eggs and references that only eagle-eyed "Evil Dead" fans will catch.

The cabin in the woods

The opening scene of "Evil Dead Rise" gives every longtime fan of the series exactly what they came for right out of the gate — a trio of friends hanging out at a cabin in the woods, a very familiar setting for the series by this point. This very quickly devolved into blood-soaked anarchy heavily predicated on scalp removal and decapitation via drone. The cabin setting was first used by both "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II," with both movies taking full advantage of the isolating setting. In both original films, and even the latest entry, the characters are usually at the cabin for some form of getaway or romantic trip.

The 2013 remake also utilized the cabin setting as well, even figuring out a more contemporary reason for the characters being there. That film chose however to use the decrepit setting as the site for the main character Mia and her addiction withdrawal. This helped that film stand out, while also paying tribute to the films that came before it, much like "Evil Dead Rise" would as well. This time around we have not only a dock and a very photogenic lake but a more modern and trendy-looking cabin with a triangular design. This keeps things contemporary as it has become harder to justify any person nowadays using an old and more dilapidated cabin like in the original films.

Jessica reading Teresa's book

Continuing with the film's opening scene, there is another moment that contains another very neat reference to the original film. After getting annoyed with Jessica's (Anna-Maree Thomas) boyfriend, Caleb (Richard Crouchley), and his drone, Teresa (Mirabai Pease) heads back inside to continue her reading in peace. It seems that Jessica is also inside as well, apparently fighting off some type of illness she's come down with en route to the cabin. Teresa sits down and, after making a joke about Caleb being a "brainless meat puppet," begins reading her book.

However, as the film zooms in on the page's words, Jessica begins reading the same words aloud despite still being on the bed. She then begins screaming the words louder and louder, before puking and flopping over on the cabin floor in a heap. However, just as Teresa goes to revive her, a demonic Jessica sits up and rips her friend's scalp clean off her head.

This is actually not the first time something like this has happened in an "Evil Dead" film, with the moment actually an update of an older scene. Back in the original film, as Shelly (Teresa Tilly) and Linda (Betsy Baker) play spades, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) is able to name the cards without even seeing them. She then turns to reveal her possession before jamming a pencil into Linda's leg, leading to Scott (Richard DeManincor) locking her in the basement.

They mention the Elm Street sequels

The "Evil Dead" series has never had any qualms about shouting out other horror films, often peppering themselves with little nods and references. One of the more overt arrives in "Evil Dead Rise" when we're introduced to Ellie's neighbors that live on the same floor. Jake (Billy Reynolds-McCarthy) and Scott (Tai Wano), Gabriel's (Jayden Daniels) kids, knock on Ellie's door in the hopes of inviting her daughter, Bridget, over for a movie night. It seems the offerings for the evening are all of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, including the often maligned sequels.

One of the siblings makes a point of noting that none of the sequels are bad, which is funny for a few reasons. For one, it's often a frequent talking point for horror fans in regard to which of the "Elm Street" sequels are actually good. Additionally, this could also be a mild jab at the "Evil Dead" franchise itself, as the series has also seen its fair share of sequels and television spinoffs. However, unlike the "Elm Street" sequels, which are far greater in number and varying quality, the "Evil Dead" followups are a bit more consistent. Also considering New Line Cinema's involvement in "Evil Dead Rise," it makes you wonder if "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is due for a new entry as well.

The bathtub scene mirrors a shot from Evil Dead 2

This is one of the more subtle, blink and you'll miss it, references to the original "Evil Dead," so kudos if you also spotted this one. Early on in the film, we see Beth drawing a bath for young Kassie, leading to a cute little exchange regarding why she wears goggles in the tub. This sets up the bathtub as the setting for a creepy scene with possessed Ellie later on, with the demonic mother crawling on the bathroom ceiling. However, this scene also mirrors (pun very much intended) a moment from the original film, wherein Ash (Bruce Campbell) is scared by a mirror.

In "The Evil Dead," Ash has a moment where he touches a mirror in the cabin, leading to his hand just going through it like water. This creative little moment is homaged in "Evil Dead Rise" when Beth sticks her hand in the water, leading to a neat little mirror effect with her fingers. It's a very brief and fairly inconsequential reference, but it shows that the creators of the new film have a definite appreciation for the original film.

Another eyeball goes flying

The "Evil Dead" movies could use this gruesome gag at least 50 more times and hardcore fans will still go nuts for it. Back in "Evil Dead II," there is a scene wherein, during a fight with a monstrous Deadite, its eyeball gets popped out of its head. This results in the eyeball flying across the room like a ping-pong ball, eventually landing in a poor woman's mouth. It's an iconic visual, often referenced by fans of the series as a great all-time moment and by the series itself. Case in point, "Evil Dead Rises" has seen fit to bring this literally eye-popping moment into the 2020s with ample gusto and slick special effects.

About halfway through the film, a possessed Ellie escapes from the apartment and begins slaughtering the other tenants on her floor. This includes an elderly neighbor with a shotgun, as well as Gabriel and his two sons. The rampage kicks off when Ellie attacks Gabriel's face and rips his eyeball out of his socket with her gnarled teeth. As everyone in the hallways freaks out, Ellie ups the ante by spitting the eyeball across the hallway and into Jake's mouth. It's a delightfully sickening homage and one that "Evil Dead" fans will definitely be happy to see on the big screen once again.

The evil trees get an upgrade

One of the most disturbing scenes in "The Evil Dead" is when Cheryl goes out into the woods at night alone (always a great decision). This results in the trees themselves coming to life and attacking Ellie, even going as far as to go in between her legs. It's a horrific sequence in a film that has zero shortage of sickening moments and one that many fans still remember today. So, imagine many viewers' surprise when "Evil Dead Rise" opted to remake the sequence while taking it in a new direction.

However, the setting this time around is not the middle of the woods, but rather a rundown Los Angeles apartment complex. After Danny unknowingly summons the Deadites, one of the demonic spirits immediately bum-rushes Ellie, forcing her back into the elevator. It then shoots back up to the top floor at top speed, knocking Ellie around even more, before the elevator itself attacks. First, the light fixture wraps around her neck, raising her off the ground and choking her in the process. Metal coils and cord then shoot out of the sides and ensnare her libs as well, leaving her primed for demonic possession. It's a well-executed update of a classic scare that can also stand alone as its own unique moment.

A familiar possession

This is yet another call back to the original films and one we're definitely happy to see make a comeback. Back in "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II," possession is usually indicated by black veins spreading all over the victim. We see this in "The Evil Dead" when these veins begin to spread from the leg of Linda, Ash's girlfriend, revealing that she too has become a Deadite. This occurs again in "Evil Dead II" when Ash's hand is possessed and black veins immediately envelop it.

It seems this element hasn't been forgotten as it resurfaces yet again in "Evil Dead Rise" when Ellie's daughter, Bridget, is possessed. After being slashed on the cheek and licked by her now-possessed mother, Bridget begins acting weird, going off to be alone. She examines her cut in the bathroom, revealing those same black veins spreading from it, eventually spreading across her entire face. This is then one-upped by the visual of her mouth, ears, and nose oozing black blood like a broken fire hydrant. It's yet another example of "Evil Dead Rise" taking an established scare and giving it a welcome, and very bloody, facelift for 2023.

The creepy singing

"Evil Dead Rises" adheres to a trend that's been consistent throughout the entire film franchise: The Deadites are sadistic jerks. That's not even us putting a comedic spin on it, because the Deadites' main modus operandi has always been exploiting their victims and their personal insecurities. This goes all the way back to the original films, especially the first two, in which the Deadites relish every moment of making Ash suffer.

Mind games are a frequent tool for the Deadites, often using the information in their vessel's brain to trick their victims. This ranges from imitating their normal voices to even preying on their insecurities to throw them off their games, making survival even harder. A key example of this is a recurring tactic wherein the Deadites will sing creepy songs to mess with the psyches of their victims.

First, it was Linda who did it back in the first film, singing the words "We're gonna get you, we're gonna get you." This has actually been referenced before, albeit during a deleted scene, in the 2013 remake when Mia sang it while trapped in the cellar. This time around, it's a demonic Ellie who sings a different creepy nursery rhyme-like song to bait Kassie into opening the apartment's front door.

Dead by dawn!

The great thing about the "Evil Dead" series is that the creators have a good sense of just how long the fans have been enthralled by the films. The film's climax has a few overt winks and nods to other entries, most notably "Evil Dead II," said by many fans to be the strongest entry.

After shanking Ellie in the face with a pair of scissors, Beth leads Kassie out of the apartment and into the hallway of the dead. They traverse the hall, which is covered in the blood and bodies of Ellie's victims, as they look to escape through a fire escape in a sealed apartment. This is made all the more difficult when all of the tenants spring back to life, now Deadites as well. With the recently possessed Danny and Bridget along for the ride, things look more than a little dire for the surviving duo.

As the Deadites rise, they proceed to taunt Beth and Kassie by screaming "Dead by dawn" at them, a line used all the way back in "Evil Dead II." Though the location and circumstances are most definitely different, it's still the same old Deadites looking to make their victims as hopeless as demonically possible.

I'll swallow your soul!

Here's the final example of "Evil Dead Rise" paying tribute to its predecessors' dialogue ... and boy howdy, is it a doozy. During the third act, everything goes completely sideways, even more so than it already had previously, especially with Ellie looking to break back into the apartment. She eventually does this after presumably killing a cat offscreen, and discovering the vents that lead back inside the apartment.

Her reentry goes unnoticed by Beth, who has headphones on to listen to the recordings in hopes of finding a solution other than "bodily dismemberment." She then notices her possessed sister standing right behind her and gets flung halfway across the room for her troubles. It's here that Ellie says, "I'll swallow your soul," a line that was first uttered all the way back in "Evil Dead II." There, however, its usage was a bit more tongue-in-cheek as the Deadite saying is subsequently splattered by Ash with his boomstick. It's a joyous little throwback and helps to remind the audience that times may change, but Deadites likely never will.

The elevator of blood

This is a reference that actually works on two different levels, both as an ode to older "Evil Dead" entries, as well as an entirely different horror film. In the film's third act, the chase is most definitely on as Beth and Kassie look to evade the Deadite horde that used to be their family. After realizing the locked apartment is a no-go, they rush into the elevator that's been malfunctioning since Ellie's possession earlier in the film. Upon entering, however, Kassie discovers that what's been keeping the doors from closing properly is Ellie's keys that fell between the doors.

The door closes, temporarily shutting out the Deadites, but sadly Beth and Kassie must now contend with the elevator filling up with blood. The first sign of this is the elevator's buttons filling up with blood before eventually overflowing and turning the elevator into a bloody dunk tank. Inexplicable blood out of nowhere has been featured in both "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II," as well as the 2013 remake.

However, after the elevator is sent crashing 12 flights back down to the parking garage, the blood explodes from the doors. Any horror fanatic will immediately pick up on the reference to Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining." It's a cute little reference and one that doesn't feel at all out of place in the "Evil Dead" universe.