Interview – ‘Evil Dead Rise’ stars Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan on recreating iconic Evil Dead moments

Moving the action out of the woods and into the city, Evil Dead Rise tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.

To celebrate the highly anticipated release of Evil Dead Rise, I had the privilege of chatting with the film’s two lead stars, Australian actresses Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan about the excitement of seeing horror on the big screen, and getting to perform some iconic Evil Dead moments in their new film!

Nick: Alyssa and Lily, it’s a pleasure to meet you both!

Lily Sullivan: Nice shirt!

Nick: Why, thank you so much! Look, first things first before we being the interview. If my research is correct, you’re both Brisbane locals, right? Born and bred?

Alyssa and Lilly high five

Nick: I’m a Brisbane boy. And it’s so cool to see you both representing Brisbane! The second thing I wanted to say was that I only saw this movie about three hours ago.

Lily Sullivan: Oh my god, it’s like your little baby!

Nick: It is! And I don’t want to seem unprofessional or informal – but this movie is so fucking cool! It’s so good!

Alyssa Sutherland: Hell yes!

Nick: Alyssa, the physicality you bring to this possessed performance is amazing! I’m really curious to know if there were any aspects of your modelling career, and the physicality that can come with that, that you were able to bring over into this performance?

Alyssa Sutherland: Not really, no. I think with fashion, you’re sort of in your own head more. You know, you’re a 16-year-old girl who knows nothing about the world, or I don’t know how to look seductive but that’s what I have to do. It’s a very different thing.

This is on another level! I have a background in some gymnastics and some circus stuff from when I was younger, and that was really helpful to me. I had a playlist of some very strange songs that I spent a lot of time developing some kind of a movement to these songs. That was the basis of the demon character that I sort of built up because there is a rhythm to what you do with that physicality.

Nick: Lily, your character of Beth is forced to tap into her maternal side in more ways than one, and it adds a lot of emotional complexity to the film. How important is it for you to have a fully realised character in a film that some audiences might just pass off as a ‘blood-filled, gore-fest, horror movie’?

Lily Sullivan: So important! I think especially with horror, people can come to the cinema wanting to call out bullshit. They want you to scare them, so they’re already in this analytical type of judgement place. I think the more authenticity, the more you believe it. The more there is a suspension of belief. Or they just laugh there arses off at you!

We did loads of work. We created a fully backstory with me, Alyssa and Lee [Cronin, director]. The more you can flesh out a character, the more your eyes can tell the story as an actor.

Nick: You both get iconic, original Evil Dead moments in this film, and it’s so badass to see on screen. When you’re reading the scripts, and you see that scene, what was that first reaction like?

Lily Sullivan: Fuck yes!

Alyssa Sutherland: It’s wild! I think reading the script for me… I felt pressured pretty early on. Because to me, a horror film is only as good as the thing that you’re scared of. If what you’re doing isn’t scary to you, then it’s just going to fall flat.

I felt the weight along of the franchise, but also the weight of just having to be really bloody good so that film is good!

Lily Sullivan: And my dear, you are!

Alyssa Sutherland: Oh, darling. Thank you! You picked up on it. We hate one another if you can’t tell!

Alyssa and Lily laugh

Nick: You know, I can tell. That’s really what I’m seeing right now! How exciting was it when you both found out that this film was going from a HBOMax release to an exclusive cinematic release? Because I genuinely feel this movie needs to be watched with a crowd, just to see people’s reactions to some of the violence!

Lily Sullivan: Oh, 100% I mean, first of all, Evil Dead films should be seen at the cinema. I think with horror, the sound design and all the different elements that create suspense are not meant to be seen on a laptop screen!

Also, there are people who poured their blood, sweat and tears to make this film because it’s full of blood, sweat and tears! It’s a bloody roller coaster and is deserved to be seen in the cinema.

Alyssa Sutherland: I’d just love to add that it’s literally a dream come true. You become an actor and hopefully I’ll be able to support myself financially, and I know what the reality all is. But, to have a film come out in a cinema, and be one of the leads of it is just literally a dream come true. I could pinch myself. I can’t believe this is what’s happening. It’s so amazing and I’m so excited!

Lily Sullivan: Evil Dead, baby!

Alyssa Sutherland: And two Brissie girls!

Nick: Yes! Two Brissie girls represting! This has been one of the most fun interviews I’ve done, I wish we had more time! But, congratulations on the movie, it’s fucking amazing! Hopefully we can talk again soon!

Thank you to Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan for their time and their incredible energy for this interview and thank you to Warner Bros. for setting up our chat! Evil Dead Rise is exclusively in cinemas from April 20, and you can read my review here.

Watch the interview via YouTube below.

 

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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