|“||I know someone is out there. I heard you. I heard you in the cellar.||”|
— Cheryl Williams (The Evil Dead)
Very little is known about Cheryl's early life, though she was born a few years after her older brother Ashley, sometime between 1958 and the early 1960s. As a child, she frequently fought and argued with her brother whenever they would play games together.
At an unknown point in her teenage years, Cheryl began having a romantic affair with Ash's friend Chet Kaminski, though the two would keep the relationship a secret from Ash.
Sometime between her childhood and the trip to the cabin, Cheryl had developed aspirations of becoming an artist.
In October of 1982, Cheryl accompanied Ash, his girlfriend Linda, Scotty, and his girlfriend Shelly on a trip to a remote cabin in the mountains of Michigan. Though Scotty had claimed that the cabin was a rental, it actually belonged to Professor Raymond Knowby, who used the cabin so infrequently that it was believed to be abandoned.
As night fell, Cheryl noticed an old clock mounted on the cabin's wall, and saw it as a good subject to draw in her sketchpad. While the others in the group continued to explore the grounds and unpack, Cheryl continued her sketching until the clock suddenly stopped on its own. Suddenly, Cheryl's hand began to move on its own without her control, and started to draw a horrid face on the sketchpad. Cheryl chose to keep this frighting experience a secret from the other members of the group.
Later that night, Ash and Scotty would discover the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis while exploring the fruit cellar, along with a series of recordings made by Professor Knowby on a tape recorder translating the ancient book's passages. While Cheryl pleaded with the others to turn the recording off, the group continued to listen as the Professor (accidentally) resurrected a Kandarian Demon.
Not long after listening to the Professor's recording, most of the group decided to go to retire to their bedrooms as a thunderstorm approached. While Cheryl was preparing for bed, another strange sound had caught her attention. Cheryl headed out into the woods in her nightgown to investigate the noise, which she believed to be the same one she had heard coming from the fruit cellar earlier. Alone and far away from the safety of the cabin, Cheryl screamed in terror as the woods themselves seemingly came to life and attacked her, holding her down as a tree branch violated her. She managed to quickly break free from the grasp of the moving plants and ran back to the cabin.
After trying to explain to the others what had happened, Cheryl demanded Ash take her away from there. Ash agreed to take her to the nearest town, but their trip was brought to a swift end when it was discovered that the only bridge leading back onto the main road had been destroyed. Following their returned to the cabin, the Kandarian Demon's "touch" finally took hold of Cheryl, resulting in her full transformation into a Deadite.
The Deadite Cheryl managed to attack Ash's girlfriend Linda, stabbing her in the ankle with a pencil, then attack Ash himself by knocking over a bookshelf on him. Scotty then steps up and attacks Cheryl, managing to lock her into the fruit cellar. Cheryl remains in the cellar for most of the night, taunting as the others succumb to Deadite possession until only Ash remains.
It's close to dawn when the Deadite Cheryl breaks free from the cellar, climbing up to aid the newly possessed Deadite Scotty in killing Ash. Just when all hope seems lost for her brother, Ash uses a necklace he had given Linda to pull the Necronomicon (which was just out of his reach) closer to himself, quickly tossing it into the roaring fireplace. As the book burns, the undead Cheryl and Scotty stop in their tracks and begin to rapidly decompose and disintegrate. Ash screams as Cheryl's body falls on top of him, his sister's blood splashing in his face as her skull explodes upon hitting the floor.
More than 30 years after her death, Cheryl would be resurrected shortly after Ash had returned to their hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan.
While Ash and his associates were held up in their childhood home due to a small mob gathering outside, the Kandarian Demon created a duplicate of Cheryl using a photograph and her old clothes. This "new" Cheryl appeared older than the original, as if she hadn't died 30 years prior, and retained the original's memories. Stepping out from "her" bedroom, Ash and Chet Kaminski were shocked to see her there. Cheryl claimed that Ash looked different (referring to his age and the addition of his chainsaw hand) and that she didn't know what was going on. She quickly drops her human appearance in favor of her Deadite form and attacks Ash and Chet, sending Ash flying down the hallway as she drags Chet into her bedroom.
After Ash breaks into the bedroom and saves Chet, the fight between brother and sister continues to the ground floor of the house, passing through room after room until ending up in the kitchen. In a moment when Ash had lost sight of Cheryl, Chet arrives from upstairs to grab a beer, only to have the Deadite Cheryl sneak up behind him and holds him hostage. In a panic, Chet tries to tell Ash about his affair with Cheryl, but not before the Deadite rips his heart out through his chest, killing him instantly. Ash, angered by the loss of his best friend, takes the fight with Cheryl into the front yard of the house, directly in front of the growing mob. The stunned crowd watches as Cheryl gets up after taking several direct shotgun blasts from Ash's Boomstick before finally pinning her down in the trunk of a car and decapitating her with his chainsaw.
Not too long after that encounter, Ash had developed a plan to go back in time to before his younger self arrived and the cabin and remove the Necronomicon. While there, Ash engaged in a one-on-one fistfight with the demon known as Baal for the fate of the world. Baal had initially agreed to not use his powers, but at one point in the fight used them to briefly take the form of the older Cheryl (wielding a duplicate of Ash's chainsaw).
In the end, Ash won the fight against Baal and altered history. After returning to the future, a celebration was held by Elk Grove in Ash's honor for slaying the demons which plagued their small town. While giving a speech, Ash looked out into the crowd and saw the ghosts (or "released spirits") of his father Brock, sister Cheryl, and friend Chet, smiling with approval.
Before her possession, Cheryl is Fun, sometimes she is prone to worry -- even when evil isn't present. In the original screenplay, Cheryl has a line in which she expresses concern to Ash that their parents wouldn't ever allow the two of them to go to a place like the cabin they're heading to, but that line -- much like many of Cheryl's non-deadite lines -- didn't make it into the film. Cheryl is the only character who doesn't have a romantic partner in the duration of the story, and it seems that Cheryl was created with the "shrinking violet" stock character in mind. She is also the only character who declines alcohol when it is offered to her, and is the most nervous and observant of all the other characters.
Ash vs. Evil Dead reveals more about her personality, her bedroom decor suggests that despite her introverted and demure personality, she was heavily into bands. Comments by both Chet and Cheryl revealed a history between the two, possibly romantic if not sexual, showing that Cheryl was possibly in a relationship during the events of the cabin incident.
Cheryl's personality as a Deadite is far removed from her original self, being aggressive and merciless in her torment of Ash, relentlessly taunting him about Linda.
In Ash vs. Evil Dead, Cheryl's demonic personality is essentially the same but is more playful, and even flirty towards Chet and is even humorously annoyed when Ash interrupts her sexual assault on Chet. Cheryl's behavior towards her brother comes across as more vicious version of a sibling rivalry, as she immaturely calls Ash a bad dancer and a loser, as well laughing at the original Cheryl's memory of locking her brother in a car trunk during a game of hide and seek.
- Recycled audio of Cheryl from the 1981 film The Evil Dead is briefly used in the 2013 Evil Dead film.
- Cheryl is presumably intended to be one of the many Deadites featured in the 1984 video game The Evil Dead.
- Cheryl appears as a non-playable character in the 2011 mobile game Evil Dead: The Game.
- During an interview with IGN at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert announced that Ellen Sandweiss would reprise her role as Cheryl for a brief appearance in Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- Cheryl makes a voice cameo in Evil Dead.
- Cheryl's character is referenced heavily in Evil Dead by Mia.
- Cheryl's Deadite form is unique in Ash vs Evil Dead, as all other Deadites merely have white eyes and deformed eyebrows and cheekbones. Cheryl however, retains her original Deadite form, such as the grey skin, black around the eyes and possesses a wound on her forehead.