Director Lee Cronin explains why a new Book of the Dead was introduced in Evil Dead Rise. The fifth installment in the horror franchise follows estranged sisters Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and Beth (Lily Sullivan) as they attempt to save their family from flesh-possessing demons known as the Deadites, released via recordings of the Naturom Demonto. The book found in the family’s apartment building was revealed to be the third volume of the Naturom Demonto, or Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.
In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Cronin discussed why that version of the Book of the Dead was used and explained that its location was unknown after 1992’s Army of Darkness. Read the director’s comments regarding the book below:
“I think what I wanted to do was kind of slightly define the lore in that moment. And it was something I’d said to Sam Raimi early on in the process. I’d said, ‘Look, there are three books established in Army of Darkness, and you’ve had one book in that world, and Fede has had one book, and I want to take the other book and kind of own it.’ But that way, it opens up multiple avenues for where Evil Dead can kind of go. It also gave me the creative freedom to justifiably bring that book into a new place, ’cause nobody, since Ash was back in ye olde times in Army of Darkness, nobody knows where that third book has been. And I’ve uncovered where, or at least I’ve showcased where it’s ended up in the here and now.“
How Evil Dead Rise Builds Upon The Franchise
The inclusion of a new Book of the Dead ties the movie to previous installments, most notably Army of Darkness. Searching for the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) discovered what appeared to be three versions, and Evil Dead Rise reveals that multiple books actually exist. Cronin noted that another volume was depicted in 2013’s Evil Dead, and though the film is considered a reboot of the franchise, his comments regarding its mythology suggest there are some connections.
In addition to establishing links between entries, Evil Dead Rise indicates that the franchise can successfully explore new characters and settings. While Army of Darkness observed the Middle Ages, it continued to follow Ash. The latest installment introduces a family trapped in their Los Angeles apartment, a change that lends to more emotional stakes. It raises questions if future Evil Dead films will see the return of another Book of the Dead or if all three will be featured together at some point.
Cronin has already teased the idea of Evil Dead Rise sequels, including a story focused on a priest. It will be interesting to see how the Deadites are portrayed next, and where the director decides to take them.