Evil Dead Rise Director Teases Bruce Campbell Is Hidden Somewhere in the Movie

The upcoming Evil Dead Rise won't directly be connecting to the previous films in the franchise, as it explores an all-new group of characters that become the victim of the Necronomicon, but director Lee Cronin confirmed that there is a reference to Bruce Campbell in the film, though not all audiences will discover it. Cronin is so confident in how subtle the Easter egg is, he said he would send a cash prize to anyone who discovered it and reached out to him on Twitter. With the film set to make its world premiere this week at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the reference could be confirmed shortly. Evil Dead Rise lands in theaters on April 21st.

"It felt like in order to move the franchise somewhere new and to unlock the potential of the universe to tell more stories, it needed to break free [of Campbell's Ash Williams]," Cronin explained to Empire Magazine. "But Bruce is hidden in the movie somewhere. Bruce has a small presence in the movie. The first person to figure it out and send me a tweet, I'll give them 50 bucks."

Back in 2013, a new Evil Dead landed in theaters from director Fede Álvarez, which similarly served as a new take on the material as opposed to a direct continuation of the three films that came before it. That film, much like Evil Dead Rise, saw Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert from the original trilogy all serving as producers. To pay respects to the franchise's legacy, that 2013 movie featured a brief post-credits shot of Campbell saying, "Groovy," which he famously said in previous films.

In the fifth Evil Dead film, a road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment. The sisters' reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie's building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons, and thrusting Beth into a primal battle for survival as she is faced with the most nightmarish version of motherhood imaginable.  

Cronin went on to detail how, in addition to this small Easter egg, the new film aims to capture the spirit of the franchise.

"One of the things I knew was, this movie's got to have energy," Cronin confessed. "We're coming out of a really successful spell for horror, where a lot of movies have played into the existential as maybe their primary drive. How I view the Evil Dead movies is [as] a popcorn-eating good time. Bringing it back to Evil Dead II, if there's anything I would think about it would be the relentless creativity in that movie, to refresh the experience as you go."

Stay tuned for details on Evil Dead Rise before it lands in theaters on April 21st.

Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!