Here’s What We Know About ‘Evil Dead’ Director Sam Raimi’s Return to Horror

When it comes to modern horror masters, filmmakers like Wes Craven and George Romero often come up. But one that too often slips between the cracks is Sam Raimi. Mainstream audiences probably know him best for his Spider-Man trilogy. Yet, Raimi also created the Evil Dead franchise and produced hits like 30 Days of Night, Don’t Breathe and this year’s Crawl.

Now it appears that Raimi is preparing to step back into the director’s chair for a horror film. This project marks his first directorial effort since Oz the Great and Powerful in 2013. At this stage, details are scarce. But let’s look into what we know about the film so far.

Sam Raimi on stage at San Diego Comic-Con
Sam Raimi on stage at San Diego Comic-Con | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ

Sam Raimi takes on ‘Misery’ and ‘Cast Away’?

The Hollywood Reporter broke news of Raimi’s next project, which will team the director with screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon. The duo previously wrote the 2009 Friday the 13th remake, and this collaboration with Raimi is based on their own original idea.

The concept reportedly combines elements of the 1990 Stephen King adaptation Misery and the 2000 Tom Hanks drama Cast Away. We can only speculate how those two fit together, but needless to say, obsession and isolation will likely be major themes.

Perhaps someone is stranded alone on a deserted island with a homicidal maniac? Regardless of the details, a taut horror-thriller set on an island and focused on a disturbing dynamic between two leads certainly sounds right up Raimi’s alley.

Twelve years since ‘Drag Me to Hell’

Longtime fans of the director’s will note that he hasn’t directed a horror film since 2007’s underrated Drag Me to Hell. Starring Alison Lohman as a cursed bank loan officer, that film successfully captured Raimi’s signature balance of genuine scares with a macabre sense of humor.

It’s unclear right now whether his next film will also weave comedy elements into its terrifying tapestry. However, knowing Raimi’s natural inclination to do so, we’re betting that his upcoming film will still offer some laughs. After all, Evil Dead II remains a gold standard for horror-comedies. So we certainly hope at least a bit of that sensibility worms its way into Raimi’s latest.

What does this mean for ‘Evil Dead’?

Speaking of Evil Dead, devoted fans might be wondering where Raimi’s new film leaves that franchise. He recently co-created Ash vs. Evil Dead, which saw Bruce Campbell battle “Deadites” for three seasons on Starz. But recent reports claimed that a new film was in the works.

Even if it comes together quickly, the next Evil Dead — which will not star Campbell — probably won’t conflict with Raimi’s new film. It’s still in the early stages, after all. Moreover, Raimi himself isn’t planning on directing it, according to Campbell.

Most likely, the next Evil Dead will either be a sequel to director Fede Álvarez’s 2013 reboot or something new entirely. Raimi, like Campbell, would probably only be involved as a producer. As such, Raimi’s schedule shouldn’t impact its production whatsoever. “Groovy” indeed.