The Evil Is Dead is a 2016 American Supernatural Slasher (Splatter) Horror film produced by Jason Blum, brothers Sam, Ivan & Ted Raimi. Written, produced and directed by Ari Aster it is the fourth instalment of the initial Evil Dead film series that began Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead in 1981, and the fifth entry overall following Fede Alvarez and Ghost House Pictures' 2013 Evil Dead.
Bruce Campbell the actor who had portrayed the franchise's slasher horror icon Ash Williams, reprises his lead role, shot in correspondence with his portrayal of the character in the Starz series continuation Ash vs the Evil Dead.
New additions to the primary cast include Dwayne Adway, Maisie Williams, Lana Condor, Austin Nichols, Kevin Quinn and Elizabeth Reaser.
Distributed by A24 Pictures on collaboration with Jason Blum's distribution company Blumhouse Productions, the film was released theatrically on October 30th, 2016 to positive reception and was a commercial box office success.
The series would then be rebooted with the Horrorverse continuation of the 2013 Alvarez rendition.
In present day 2016, Morristown, Tennessee realtor Tess arrives at a cabin in the Morristown mountains. She is met there by hired exterminators who are set to clear the cabin of any possible vermin inhabiting the shack home. The team led by Dennis Pratchet go room to room, Pratchet entering a fruit cellar where he is lured by the demon visage of Henrietta Knowlby to the tape recorder of Professor Knowlby, which is pressed play.
A now deadite possessed Pratchet proceeds outside and kill each of his colleagues: first overweight Dennis via disembowelment with barbed wire, then young Rhys via ripping his neck bare handed and finally partner Cade, who attempts to defend Tess trying to flee to her vehicle. Cade is fatally wounded by a violent shredding of his back by Pratchet's demonic hands and rushed by Tess into her car which she uses to run down Pratchet, tearing him apart.
Driving toward the bridge a now Deadite possessed Cade corpse grapples at Tess, causing her to veer off the bridge into the river below. Cade's head is disintegrated in the crash and an injured Tess escapes to the water's surface, seeing the possessed corpses of Rhys and Dennis looking down from the bridge above.
In the time following this Virginia high school graduate friends Beth, Ginny, Ollie, Weston, Tara and Nathan prepare to leave from Beth and Tara's share house for a Spring break trip, as each of them will be soon separating for different living and life circumstances following graduation. They are set by the cheapest joint deal organised by impulsive Ollie to stay at a rural log cabin in Morristown, Tennessee so as to prepare to attend the CMA music festival being hosted locally.
The Morristown police department prepares for the festival when they receive a visit from Ash Williams, who had via constant internet searches in relation to the Knowlby family cabin that a recent car accident with no body has taken place, and that the property has been rented for the upcoming week. He is assured that despite his paranoia and the tragedy that befell his own unstable sister, girlfriend and other friends, that a local officer's relation will be among the capable guests that have paid for accommodation and will be supervised for the majority of their stay.
Ash unconvinced proceeds to the cabin himself, armed with a chainsaw for his missing arm, and various other weapons. In the cellar he attempts to destroy Knowlby's recorder to no avail, as voices and hallucinations of his deceased sister, girlfriend and friends Scott & Shelley plague him before his attacked by Deadite Dennis, who he mutilates with his sawed off shotgun and hatchet, then destroys the cellophane wrapped pieces off with sulphuric acid.
Tess makes it by river to two fisherman who bring her to shore as Deadite Rhys appears and spews forth scalding blood that skins Fisherman Pete. Remaining Fisherman Wentz rushes into the woods with Tess away from the attacking Rhys. But once far enough way Tess becomes a Deadite herself after succumbing to her car crash injuries and impales Wentz through the leg with a tree branch, as a now caught up Rhys impales Wentz through the cheeks with another broken branch.
The Spring Break group of friends led by Beth and Ollie arrive at the cabin, as Officer Peterson drops off his brother Ryder, the last of the friendship group, who harbours a crush on Ginny. They settle in and by night, as the group prepares to leave a heavily intoxicated Nathan passes out, prompting Beth to remain and watch him along with Officer Peterson. Ash arrives in town and tries to plea the case of danger with the present Officer Denning, who attempts to arrest him and pursues Ash as he drives back toward the cabin.
In the cellar Officer Peterson discovers the remains of Exterminator Dennis and is killed by Deadites Tess and Rhys who start who break his neck as he begins to flee up the cellar stairs.
Nathan becomes then possessed and is immolated by Beth in self-defence as the remaining group returns quickly after Ollie is ejected from the festival. From there a Deadite Wentz and Pete attack and kill Weston, Ollie and Tara, Weston lynched by a barbed wire noose in the shed, Ollie torn in half at the front door and Tara drowned in a creek of blood. Ash and Denning then arrive killing Wentz and Pete with shotgun blasts, Tess and Rhys with explosives in the cellar, but not before Tess starts Knowlby's recorder.
As the cars are disabled, the group led by Ash start to flee through the path in the woods where possessed trees attack Ryder and Ginny, which results in Ginny's possession and her killing Ryder with a stab to the neck. Ginny is then killed herself by Beth with Ash's chainsaw. Ash becoming a Deadite is seemingly killed by Denning and Beth who burn him and leave him to fall into a tree chasm.
Denning and Beth reach town by morning and Ash resurrects burned, met by a crowd of Deadites.
- Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams
- Dwayne Adway as Lance Denning
- Maisie Williams as Beth Danzger
- Kevin Quinn as Ryder Peterson
- Austin Nichols as Officer Drew Peterson
- Lana Condor as Ginny Yurei
- Elizabeth Reaser as Realtor Tess Bison
- Louis Hofmann as Ollie Sampson
- Jordan Connor as Weston Bright
- Ivanna Sakhno as Tara Walsh
- Tyler Alvarez as Nathan Coulson
- Sam Raimi as Fisherman Pete
- Ted Raimi as Fisherman Wentz
- Max Gail as Sheriff Abel
- Byron Allen as Officer Cain
- Sharon Case as Officer Lily
- Paul Walter Hauser as Exterminator Dennis
- Geoff Stults as Exterminator Cade
- Jack Falahee as Exterminator Rhys
- Timothy Busfield as Exterminator Pratchet