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Review: THE EVIL RISES (2018)

Don’t you hate it when you’re at a beach party and having a nice, productive make-out session, and suddenly you hit your head on a strange statue buried in the sand? Well, that’s just what happens to two unfortunates at the start of Daniel Florenzano’s The Evil Rises.

Fortunately, their friend Willie (Julian De La Mora) is at the party. He can not only tell them what the statue is, but that there’s a powder in it. Which he promptly snorts. It apparently lets an entity use the person who ingests it to see into this world. So they promptly mix it into their drinks, not realizing that sounds a whole lot like being possessed. After a bloody free for all the three survivors, Willie, Claudia (Bailey La Flam, ANiMUS) and Sebastian (Michael Glauser) are tasked by the demon Callas (Erik Cram) to collect “as much blood as possible” to allow his rebirth.

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It’s not long until people are going missing. When pizza delivery dude Chazz (Alec Lobato) witnesses one of the killings, he finds himself in deep shit. It’s up to him, Detective Jones (Joe Paulson, Pieces and Parts) and Father O’Malley (Ed Hollingsworth) to prevent a different kind of second coming.

The Evil Rises gets off to an enjoyable start with some blood, some effects and even some skin. Yes, it’s dumb as hell, “Let’s trip on some drugs from the 13th century!” But it’s the kind of stupid that kicked off so many of the 80s films we love. And it’s carried off energetically enough that it works.

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And just as it starts at a beach party, The Evil Rises comes full circle and finishes at a house party. It’s not quite as entertaining as the opener but it still manages to deliver some blood and boobs. I was hoping for more of a bloodbath, but that seems to be beyond the film’s budget.

I do wish the script had made it a bit clear who or what Callas was. He’s referred to as originally being a witch doctor, which would make him some form of pagan. But his return is scheduled for 666 years after his death. And he’s affected by holy water and the rights of exorcism. Which would make him a Christian demon.

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Regardless of what kind of evil spirit is behind it all, The Evil Rises is an enjoyable way to kill some time. And it would probably make a good double feature with the other horror film shot in San Diego and featuring a priest, The Demon Protocol.

The Evil Rises is currently available free on Tubi. It will expand to various streaming platforms in the next few months. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

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