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Evil Dead Rise's Deadite Onslaught Was Originally More Expansive

While the times and technology have changed in the 42 years since the release of "The Evil Dead" by producer Rob Tapert, director Sam Raimi, and star Bruce Campbell, it appears that the literal foundation of the horror film classic remains intact with "Evil Dead Rise," the latest release in the sprawling horror saga.

Written and directed by Lee Cronin and made under the guidance of producers Tapert, Raimi, and Campbell, "Evil Dead Rise" switches up the familiar setting of the 1981 "Evil Dead" film and its 2013 remake by moving the action from a desolate cabin in the woods to an apartment in Los Angeles.

The film is largely set in a broken-down hi-rise where a single mother, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), is taken over by an invisible demonic force that emerged from the pages of the Naturom Demonto, aka "The Book of the Dead." Worse yet, Ellie's three children — Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), Danny (Morgan Davies), and Kassie (Nell Fisher) — as well as Ellie's estranged sister, Beth (Lily Sullivan), are all in danger of being slaughtered by the malevolent entity.

And while Ellie's nearby neighbors are also in peril, the scale of "Evil Dead Rise," as it turns out, is much smaller than Cronin originally planned. Cronin told NME that a lot more demonically possessed people — known as "Deadites" in the "Evil Dead" universe — were to be part of the film, but Tapert reigned the filmmaker's idea back in.

"He was just keen to remind me that Evil Dead movies are about one set of innocent people that are trapped, and to not expand so far that it starts to feel like a different type of movie," Cronin told NME.

Shrinking the setting made Evil Dead Rise feel more claustrophobic, Cronin says

Having taken Rob Tapert's advice to heart, Lee Cronin told NME that he drastically reduced the canvas he first conceived for "Evil Dead Rise." Originally, Cronin said he planned on the Deadites swarming the entire apartment building, but after talking with Tapert, he scaled the action back to only include the top floor where Ellie and her children live and the once-sealed-off basement where the Book of the Dead was unearthed by her son, Danny.

"I liked that piece of advice because I wanted it to be as claustrophobic as possible," Cronin told NME. "In the end, I basically got rid of all the floors in between, and I used the top floor and I used the basement of that world."

Cronin told NME that he was well aware that the franchise's faithful might take exception to his idea of moving the horror from the woods to the big city in "Evil Dead Rise." However, diehard fans may be delighted to find out the new "Evil Dead" chapter actually starts in a wooded setting with a shot reminiscent of the original film, where director Sam Raimi's camera zoomed through the environment with a tracking shot of something unseen's point of view.

"What it was trying to do was say to the fans, 'You're in safe hands because I know the things that make an 'Evil Dead' movie what they are, but I [also] want to play with your expectations,'" Cronin told NME.

"Evil Dead Rise" is now in theaters.