Evil Dead Rise (United States/New Zealand, 2023)

The sixth big-screen appearance of Sam Raimi’s Deadites (they previously had a three-season run on cable TV) is titled Evil Dead Rise, and it aims to address the issue of whether The Evil Dead are compelling enough on their own to hold the audience’s attention without Bruce Campbell’s Ash. Ash has never been completely ignored in a series chapter before, despite the fact that his debut in Fede Alvaraz’s 2013 version was just a brief post-credits cameo. Even with a shotgun and a chainsaw, the new characters can’t completely cover the Joseph Campbell-sized hole in the screenplay’s fabric, so the verdict is still out. An Evil Dead movie undoubtedly requires its human star more than the other way around, much as with the reincarnation. Regardless, Lee Cronin’s approach to the Deadite universe in Evil Dead Rise is superior to Fede Alvarez’s but still falls far short of Sam Raimi, who directed the original trilogy (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, and Army of Darkness).

Although the film begins in a cabin by a lake, most of the action takes place in a run-down Los Angeles tenement building that is about to be demolished. The happily disorganised fatherless family of Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), Danny (Morgan Davies), Kassie (Nell Fisher), and their mother Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) live in one of the apartments. Beth (Lily Sullivan), Ellie’s mischievous sister, enters the scene with a stain on her soul and a child in her tummy after returning home after a global tour as a band’s audio technician. A buried vault is exposed deep under the parking garage when there is an earthquake. Danny descends to investigate what’s going on, embraces the inherent horror movie foolishness anticipated in an Evil Dead movie, and finds the Necronomicon and a collection of antiquated documents. Naturally, he is compelled to play the records and open the Book of the Dead. Ellie has the misfortune of becoming the first victim when this releases a demon.

Cronin (like Alvarez) chooses a more serious Evil Dead in keeping with Raimi’s original, maybe realising that the overtly campy/comedic tone of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness would not work without Campbell’s involvement. The film chooses to go for something closer to straightforward horror rather than the horror/comedy pastiche that Raimi adopted for the final two installments of his trilogy (which was carried over to “Ash vs. Evil Dead”), even though Evil Dead Rise has plenty of dark humour and plenty of gratuitous blood and gore.

Evil Dead Rise mostly adheres to the model Raimi set for Deadite flicks in the 1980s. As a result, by the time the action moves to the closing moments, everyone has been properly covered in blood, the hero or heroine is in complete control of a chain saw, and the majority of the supporting players have passed away. The location restricts the amount of victims, which is essentially why there aren’t many deaths for a horror movie with this much brutality. Cronin decides to focus on quality rather than quantity as a result. And much like Ash, who lost an arm when it was inconvenient, the Ash substitute too ends up being chopped and diced.

Given how the horror genre has developed since 1987 (the year Evil Dead II was published), it’s possible that this is one of the reasons that Evil Dead Rise lacks the full-throttle excitement of Raimi’s efforts. Raimi created several things that have subsequently been copied, recopied, and improved upon. Though the early Evil Dead films were many things, few would describe them as “generic.” However, elements of Evil Dead Rise have a recognisable feel. It never really scares me, but it’s always gory and sometimes darkly funny. The crazy plots of serious horror films in the 2020s or the use of ominous camera angles and eerie set designs are where these films find their niches. Both are present in Evil Dead Rise. The outcome should, for the most part, satisfy series fans (albeit Ash’s absence leaves an unbridgeable gap). Younger viewers or those unfamiliar with the genre may be curious as to what makes this movie unique. The response is null. Another time, nostalgia has triumphed over originality.

Evil Dead Rise (United States/New Zealand, 2023)
Director: Lee Cronin
Cast: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, Nell Fisher
Screenplay: Lee Cronin
Cinematography: Dave Garbett
Music: Stephen McKeon
U.S. Distributor: Warner Brothers
Run Time: 1:39
U.S. Release Date: 2023-04-21
MPAA Rating: “R” (Violence, Gore, Profanity)
Genre: Horror
Subtitles: none
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Grand Theft Auto IV

The ninth game in the Grand Theft Auto series is Grand Theft Auto IV (abbreviated GTA IV). The game was created by the German game developer Rockstar North and released on April 29, 2008, for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The PC version was released on December 2nd, 2008.

The main character of the game, Niko Bellic, is on the hunt for a wartime informant. The two main cities in the story are Liberty City, which serves as a parody of New York, and Alderney, which is based on New Jersey. Like its predecessors, GTA IV is a third-person shooter with role-playing game elements that adheres to the open-world principle.

Six million copies of the game were sold in the first week alone, generating an estimated 500 million dollars in revenue. Additionally, GTA IV is among the highest-rated video games, according to Internet rankings GameRankings and Metacritic.[2][3] Up till 2013, more than 25 million copies of GTA IV were sold.

Grand Theft Auto V’s successor was released in 2013.

The game takes place in 2008. In several situations, the player is given the option to choose whether or not other characters will succeed in GTA IV. However, this has little to no impact on the course of events. The following description of the action flow includes the key locations.

The Serbian-speaking Eastern European Nikolai “Niko” Bellic immigrates to the fictional city of Liberty City, which is modelled after New York City, at the request of his cousin Roman. Roman had always explained in emails and letters how far he had made it to America and how wealthy and successful he now was. Niko decides to go to America in the hopes of leading a better life after finding himself in difficulties in Europe. Roman intends to live the “American Dream” there with him. Niko is also looking for a man who spoke the truth about him and his friends during the war and is now staying in Liberty City.

Niko quickly learns that Roman isn’t really wealthy and successful when he arrives in Liberty City. Roman is guilty and operates a little taxi company with his friend Mallorie. He shares a small flat with Niko and lives in Hove Beach, an area of the city that is mostly populated by immigrants from eastern Europe. The first time after his arrival, Niko fulfils requests for Roman and his sidekick “Vlad,” who has connections to the Russian Mafia. During this time, Niko gets to know his first friend Michelle, his loyal companion Little Jacob, a drug dealer from Jamaica, and the steroid-using fitness enthusiast Brucie Kibbutz. Finally, it is revealed that Vlad, who constantly threatens and oppresses the two Cousins, also has a relationship with Mallorie, Roman’s friend. When the two Cousins Vlad speak, there is a fight that results in Vlad being killed.

Vlad’s business partners, two Russian Mafia members named Mikhail Faustin and Dimitri Rascalov, are not too distraught over his death. But they ask Niko to fulfil some of their requests in their place. Due to the fact that the two do not always agree, Dimitri finally demands that Niko kill Faustin. Niko is supposed to get money from Dimitri as payment, but this is revealed when it is given to an elderly Russian thug by the name of Bulgarin. Niko manages to escape with the aid of his friend Little Jacob, but in the interim he causes Dimitri Roman’s flat and taxi business to burn down, forcing both of them to submerge in the Bohan neighbourhood.

Mallorie, a friend of Roman’s, arranges for them to share a residence in Bohan. Niko also gets to know Elizabeta, a dealer, and Manny Escuela, an ex-breeder and aspiring film actor. He completes tasks for both parties until he is taken aback one day by his friend Michelle, who surprises him during a drug delivery and poses as a covert agent of the “IAA” (a play on the CIA). Meanwhile, Elizabeta fights with a man; the interaction ends because Elizabeta expects to be arrested for the failed drug delivery. Prior to learning about Elizabeta, Niko also got to know the drug dealer Playboy X and then his old friend Dwayne, who is being released from prison after serving a protracted sentence for a felony. However, Dwayne and Playboy X no longer trust each other, and their once-friendship is now increasingly turning into a rivalry. The conflict intensifies as both Playboy and Dwayne from Niko demand to kill the other. The player has the option to choose which side to support at this point.

Also through Elizabeta, Niko gets to know the three Irish McReary brothers and their sister Kate, with whom he will soon develop a relationship. He also fails to take care of the bank in Liberty City with the McRearys. The conflict between Francis McReary, a corrupt police officer, and Derrick McReary later develops in the action, forcing Niko to consider killing one of the two McRearies once again. Michelle, who was fired from her position as a FIB investigator, connects Niko with “United Liberty Paper,” a shadowy government agency that aids him in his search for the Serbian suspect in retaliation for the murder of a dislikable witness.

Niko is introduced to the Italian Mafia by the McReary Brothers, whose leaders are Ray Boccino, Phil Bell, and Don Jimmy Pegorino. With Ray’s assistance, Niko locates former war photographer Florian, who is later identified by Niko as a suspect in the murder of a member of his former unit. But it turns out that Florian, who is now calling himself “Bernie” and pleading a homosexual relationship with the outgoing mayor, is not the real suspect. Niko and Florian rekindle their friendship. However, it is now obvious to Niko that only Darko Brevic can be the accuser. The United-Liberty contact person connects Niko with Jon Gravelli, the head of the most powerful Mafia family in Liberty City. This makes Darko in Romania easy to locate. After Niko completed some tasks for Gravelli, Darko was lured from Romania to Liberty City and delivered to Niko with the aid of United-Liberty. The player may now choose once again whether to kill Darko or leave him alive.

The Heirat then stands between Roman and Mallorie. Niko is required by Don Pegorino to collaborate with Dimitri Rascalov once again. The player now has the choice to decide whether they are in favour of or against the deal with Dimitri. If the player accepts the deal and completes the task, he again betrays Dimitri Niko and allows Roman to be murdered before his wedding. In the final mission, Dimitri betrays and kills Pegorino as well, forcing Niko to kill Dimitri at the base of the Statue of Happiness after a protracted pursuit.

If the players choose to go against Pegorinos’ wishes and kill Dimitri right away, they draw the wrath of the Italian Mafia, which is why Pegorino Nikos’ friend Kate was killed at Roman’s wedding in a drive-by accident. Niko must thus kill the last remaining Pegorino at the base of the Statue of Happiness in the final mission.