Lee Cronin, known for his horror films Ghost Train and Hole in the Ground, has taken on his biggest project yet with Evil Dead Rise, which is releasing in theaters this Friday.
The latest installment in the Evil Dead series drastically changes the formula by setting the action in Los Angeles instead of an isolated cabin in the woods and by focusing on two estranged sisters dealing with motherhood instead of Bruce Campbell’s Ash fighting Deadites.
In a recent interview with Cronin, he was quizzed on how he approached the world of Evil Dead when chosen to write and direct the latest installment.
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“By starting with a blank page,” Cronin says, “and making no assumptions as to what this had to be. I just knew that the context needed to change, and that the characters needed to change. From there, I just started to think about the things that I’m always attracted to in storytelling: themes around family, themes around motherhood, themes around parental fear. I started to put that in the melting pot, and think about where I could take this story.”
Cronin elucidates that the concept of Evil Dead Rise formed organically as he explored those themes and settled on the idea of two sisters suffering from trauma. “The more you stir that pot, the more it kind of gets refined and things start to show themselves,” he says. “And I started to settle in on these sisters and the fact that they’re kind of the opposite to each other, but both kind of suffering at the moment …. you know, in the context of a horror movie, people are already carrying scars, and then you double down on that, and bring the trauma heavier into their world.”
Cronin was also interviewed about his experience of taking over the helms of the Evil Dead franchise from Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (who both serve as executive producers for the new film).
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“It was exciting,” he says. “As a filmmaker, to be handed the car keys to such a loved franchise, and to be trusted to go drive that car but bang up things along the way—because it’s supposed to be a noisy movie that makes an impact—was a real joy for me.”
Cronin acknowledges the fact that a lot of work went into bringing the Evil Dead franchise to life. “It’s fun to celebrate these moments,” he says, “but then you’ve got to put that to the side, put your head down, and be a professional and get on with the job of making a movie and telling the story that you want to.”