While the 2013 Evil Dead movie is usually considered a remake, evidence suggests it actually exists in the same universe as the original film. In 1981, director Sam Raimi gifted the world with a little indie horror film called The Evil Dead. After experiencing some career turmoil afterward, Raimi sought to get things back on track by making Evil Dead II in 1987, and would complete a makeshift trilogy with 1992’s Army of Darkness. All three films are quite different, with the level of comedy increasing in each entry, but the adventures of Evil Dead hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) have become horror legend.
Following Army of Darkness – which despite its status as a cult classic, was far from a box office hit – the Evil Dead franchise laid dormant for two decades, while Raimi and Campbell both went on to other projects. That was until 2013, when director Fede Alvarez was hired to write and direct a reinvention of the property. Raimi and Campbell served as producers on what’s most commonly referred to as a remake or reboot of the franchise. However, there are clues that if anything, Evil Dead (2013) is a stealth sequel.
It was recently confirmed by Campbell that Raimi is hand-picking a director to helm a new Evil Dead movie, with Raimi writing the script, and Cambpell producing. It’s unclear what form exactly that project will take, but for now, here’s how the 2013 Evil Dead connects to the original “ultimate experience in grueling terror.”
While there’s no explicit connection made between the two films, the clues to their shared universe are there. For one, when final girl Mia (Jane Levy) and her friends arrive at the cabin, it’s already been broken into. Ash and friends broke into the cabin in the first film. Mia’s group also encounters the Delta ’88, famously Sam Raimi’s car in real life, but more importantly Ash’s car in the main Evil Dead continuity. The car is abandoned and rusted, like it had been left there for decades. Where things get a bit tricky is some areas in which the two films don’t match up, such as different demon behavior, a different Book of the Dead, and the cabin supposedly belonging to Mia’s parents instead of the Knowby family. However, that’s further twisted around by the audio of Professor Knowby reading the Book played over the end credits.
Evil Dead (2013) has a post-credits stinger in which Bruce Campbell briefly appears as Ash, saying “groovy.” While this didn’t appear to connect directly to the rest of the film, Campbell would go on to tease a possible crossover with Ash and Mia that would firmly establish them taking place in the same universe. Raimi also teased the same crossover idea later. However, that was prior to Starz picking up the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series, and it’s possible one project got in the way of the other. That said, Campbell was still hinting at an Ash/Mia crossover after the show was on the air. It seems unlikely the possibility would keep being talked about if it was never seriously considered.
If the above evidence isn’t enough to convince some that Evil Dead (2013) is in fact a subtle sequel to the original Evil Dead, here’s the biggest exhibit of all. When asked on Twitter last fall whether his film was tied to Ash’s Evil Dead continuity, director Fede Alvarez answered with an unequivocal affirmative, saying: “It continues the first one. The coincidences on events between the first film and mine are not coincidences, but more like dark fate created by the evil book. (Ash car is still there rusting away).” While it’s unclear if Ash and Mia will ever actually encounter each other, their Deadite-slaying adventures are definitely connected.