WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Evil Dead Rise!Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise tackles the Evil Dead franchise’s third Book of the Dead, which unleashes plenty of new Necronomicon lore and changes to the evil Deadites. Evil Dead Rise is a standalone sequel to Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead trilogy and Fede Álvarez’s 2013 Evil Dead remake/sequel, each of which sees the various protagonists – Ash Williams, Mia Allen, and Beth Bixler – contend with the Book of the Dead and the demon-possessed Deadites they unleash. Every Evil Dead movie manages to introduce new lore about the fabled volumes of the Naturom Demonto/Necronomicon and the powers and abilities of the Deadites, with Evil Dead Rise adding some shocking new rules regarding the book and undead villains.
In 1992’s Army of Darkness, Bruce Campbell’s character Ash Williams found three Books of the Dead in 1300 AD, which have now each become canon throughout the Evil Dead franchise. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s movies feature the first Necronomicon and the Kandarian demon, Evil Dead (2013) focuses on the second Naturom Demonto that unleashes the Taker of Souls, and Evil Dead Rise finally tackles the third fabled volume of the Book of the Dead that releases the Marauder. Each volume comes with its own rules and terrifying monsters, with Evil Dead Rise’s Necronomicon and Deadites revealing significant changes from past movies.
Evil Dead Rise confirms a surprising revelation about the third Necronomicon’s lore when it’s unearthed from a Los Angeles apartment building’s parking garage. The vinyl recordings from Father Marcus Littleton in Evil Dead Rise reveal that a group of priests found the Necronomicon on a mission overseas, which was then brought back to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. After unleashing demons and battling Deadites, Father Marcus sealed the Naturom Demonto in a bank vault in 1923, though the bank was later turned into a highrise apartment building.
The last time the book was seen before Evil Dead Rise was in Army of Darkness‘ past timeline, which took place in Medieval Europe. This means that the book somehow made its way from a forest in Europe to Los Angeles, California, with Evil Dead Rise’s priest recordings hinting at changes in location between Army of Darkness and the 2023 movie. Consequently, approximately 600 years’ worth of the history of the Naturom Demonto’s whereabouts is still unknown.
When Danny finds the Necronomicon in Evil Dead Rise, he also discovers that the book has been locked in a vault underneath the parking garage for a century. The vinyl recordings confirm that the priests were conducting tests on the Necronomicon in 1923, which was the same year that Father Marcus hid it in the bank vault. The third Book of the Dead has thus been underground for the past 100 years before Ellie’s villainous Deadite possession, keeping it safe from being opened until a sudden earthquake leads to its discovery. Evil Dead Rise’s Necronomicon being hidden for a century between possessions is the longest gap yet before an Evil Dead movie, as the original trilogy’s book was opened by Professor Knowby shortly beforehand and Evil Dead’s was also opened a few years earlier.
In the past Evil Dead movies, demons were released from the Naturom Demonto after one of the characters listened to the entire incantation on a recording. There was no resistance from the recording itself when past characters turned it off, but this wasn’t the case when Evil Dead Rise’s Danny tried to shut off the record player once the demonic voice uttered the famous incantation. The book’s powers and the words were too strong, as the voice continued to echo the incantation despite Danny’s efforts to shut it off. As such, Evil Dead Rise changes Necronomicon lore by suggesting that once the incantation starts, the demons can work to make sure it’s finished.
Director Lee Cronin teased that Bruce Campbell’s Evil Dead Rise voice cameo could actually be as Ash Williams, which would mean the franchise staple character already took on the third book in 1923 when the demon possessed a group of priests. Campbell voices a dissenting priest on the vinyl recordings who warns, “Destroy it! It’s called the ‘Book of the Dead’ for a reason!” Considering Ash Williams is well-versed in time travel throughout his Evil Dead movies, the character warning the priests about the third book in 1923 isn’t out of the realm of possibility. While Ash was never seen fighting the Naturom Demonto from Evil Dead (2013), Evil Dead Rise suggests he may have personally contended with two out of the three volumes.
Unlike the other two Books of the Dead, Evil Dead Rise’s ancient text requires blood to be opened. Evil Dead Rise’s new Necronomicon features sharp teeth that protect the binding, seemingly preventing the book from casually being opened. However, when Danny pricks his finger on one of the teeth and his blood drips on the book’s cover, the Necronomicon opens to reveal its twisted contents. It seems that the third Book of the Dead needed a small blood offering before beginning its wave of terror, which later led to gallons upon gallons of blood spewing out of the elevator.
One of the most important changes that Evil Dead Rise makes to the Deadites and Necronomicon lore relates to the destruction of the villainous dead. In the original 1981 Evil Dead movie, Ash Williams destroys the Deadites by throwing the Book of the Dead into a fire. Evil Dead (2013) has different rules for its Deadites, as David rids his sister Mia Allen of her Deadite possession by burying her before using a defibrillator to revive her.
However, Evil Dead Rise’s priest recordings confirm that the Deadites created from the third Book of the Dead cannot be killed through burning or burial. Father Marcus remarks that he attempted both tactics, but they had no effect on the Deadites. Rather, the only sure way to kill the Deadites was total dismemberment. Evil Dead Rise’s ending proved this rule correct when Beth finally killed the Marauder – consisting of Ellie, Bridget, and Danny’s Deadites – by completely shredding them through a wood chipper.
Evil Dead Rise adds another special ability to the Deadites’ powers by revealing that they have hearing strong enough to pick up the heartbeat of a fetus. After Alyssa Sutherland’s Deadite Ellie tells her sister Beth that she’ll “swallow her soul,” the villain then places her ears on Beth’s stomach and loudly hears a heartbeat, which is how the main Deadite learns that Beth is pregnant. Considering none of the Evil Dead movies’ characters battling Deadites were known to be pregnant, Evil Dead Rise is the first time that one of the Deadites has been able to showcase this ultrasound ability. Of course, this power doesn’t include making actual images from high-frequency sound waves.
The demons in the Evil Dead franchise have unleashed various horrifying monsters, the scariest of which before Evil Dead Rise was the 2013 Evil Dead movie’s Abomination. In Evil Dead Rise’s ending, the Book of the Dead’s drawings are brought to life when Deadite Ellie morphs with Deadite Bridget and Deadite Danny to form the “Marauder,” a terrifying monster with numerous limbs and heads that attacks Beth and Kassie. The Marauder takes Evil Dead Rise’s family themes to a more sickening level as the possessed Ellie uses her children as a lethal extension of herself, solely with the intention of killing her remaining daughter and sister. Before Evil Dead Rise, multiple Deadites had never combined into one giant beast in the Evil Dead movies, though their group merging power was teased in the franchise’s Ash Williams comics.
Another surprising change for the Deadites in Evil Dead Rise is that they’re capable of driving cars. Evil Dead Rise’s final scene reveals that Jessica, another resident in Ellie’s building, is attacked by the demon in the parking garage the next morning. This moment was a callback to Evil Dead Rise’s opening scene, which depicted a Deadite Jessica attacking her boyfriend and cousin at a cabin by the lake. Considering Jessica was possessed before leaving for the cabin, it appears Evil Dead’s Deadites are able to drive cars, not to mention on a trip as far as from Los Angeles to a remote lakeside cabin.
The chaos of Evil Dead Rise drives home the concept that children are just as vulnerable to becoming Deadites as adults, indicating the third book’s demon is the most ruthless yet. Children had never factored into the Evil Dead movies’ Deadite attacks beforehand, yet nearly half of the characters who become Deadites in Evil Dead Rise are kids. Deadite Ellie is unforgiving in who she targets, which leads to the deaths of children like her son Danny, daughter Bridget, and neighbors Scott and Jake. While the youngest target, Kassie, survives Evil Dead Rise’s battle with the third Necronomicon, the 2023 movie confirms that demons have no resistance to making young children Deadites.