Growing up I had a genuine obsession with horror movies. Especially those campy, B-horror films like Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, and ANightmare on Elm Street, that were as much tongue-in-cheek comedies as they were horror. So when I heard Sam Raimi was developing Evil Dead as a TV series for Starz as Ash vs Evil Dead, and Bruce Campbell was returning as Ash Williams, I was all about it.
Oh Ash, when will you ever learn?
Going into Ash vs Evil Dead it does help to understand the history of the Evil Dead series, but I won’t waste time doing that here. There’s already a great video on YouTube that’ll get you up to speed. All caught up? Good. Ash vs Evil Dead is a continuation of the story of Ash Williams and tonally more in line with Evil Dead 2 than the original, which means more comedy than actual horror. A smart move, because watching 10 episodes of horror could drag on. In short, it’s plot is about a now 40+ year old Ash working in the same store we saw him in 20 years ago, immature as ever, and missing the “glory” days when he was doing the only thing he’s ever been good at, killing Deadites (the undead). To impress a female he drunkenly does the one thing he knows he should never do and reads from the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead), unleashing all types of evil and turning everyone around him into Deadites. Now he must go on a journey to undo everything he did once again, with his chainsaw hand and trusty boomstick. Oh Ash, when will you ever learn?
It’s full of all the political incorrectness, foul language, and gore that made the series so near and dear to me in the first place.
I was excited for the series but worried that they would have to tone things down for TV. Well, I was worried for nothing because it’s full of all the political incorrectness, foul language, and gore that made the series so near and dear to me in the first place. Man is it gory. There were multiple occasions where I visibly cringed at the graphicness of it all, but it still managed to do it in it’s almost slapstick manner that keeps it from being too much. Needless to say this is not a series for those with weak stomachs and an adverse feeling towards the sight of blood. But it’s not only gory, it’s hilarious; full of one liners and crass humor that had me rolling. It’s just a fun show that never takes itself too seriously.
This time around he has two companions in Pablo and Kelly that not only stick around but downright hold there own against both the Deadites and Ash.
The casting is fantastic. There are some roles only meant to be played by one actor, and Ash Williams can only be played by Bruce Campbell. Ash is an immature, self centered, douche that you should hate, but is so damn charming that you have no choice but to love him, and Bruce pulls it off to perfection. Watching him reprise the role as a much older Ash is pure gold. Normally, the characters surrounding Ash are nothing more than fodder for the Deadites, but this time around he has two companions in Pablo and Kelly (played by Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo respectively) that not only stick around but downright hold there own against both the Deadites and Ash. The banter between these three is hilarious and they bring so much to the show. A major point I love about the show is that almost nobody is safe. They can be introduced and seemingly built up to be prominent characters only to be killed off in the most gruesome way moments later. I just love this show, and I’m going back in for a second go around.
* SPOILERS *
I think Ruby (played by Lucy Lawless) was a good addition to the story and a nice nod back to Evil Dead 2 as she claimed to be the daughter of Henrietta and Raymond Knowby. The couple that brought the Necronomicon to the cabin in the woods. This was a lie though as she later revealed that she was the one who actually wrote the book and we do see her come back to life in earlier episodes. I don’t remember it ever being confirmed, but I think she’s a “Dark One”.
Going back to the cabin that started it all was also a nice nostalgia trip.
I was genuinely surprised when they killed off Amanda Fisher, because she had gone through such a full character arc. Starting out as this annoying character you hate, and growing into an integral part of Team Ash. But the core three characters they have are more than strong enough to carry the show. Ash missed his chance, as he put it, to bump uglies.
One thing I was not surprised about was when Ash, faced with a chance to do the right thing and end this Deadite curse, chose the easy way out and a road trip down to Jacksonville, FL to party the end of days out (which I’m sure won’t last long).
There were soooo many messed up death scenes, but the one that stood out most had to be the one where Kelly kills a Deadite with one of those cold cut slicers. Or damn the nail gun scene, or the broken bottle, or the fork through the eye….yeah there were a lot.
Have you seen Ash vs Evil Dead? What did you think about season 1? Did it do the Evil Dead name proud? Do you think the show needed a little more traditional horror? Let me know in the comments below and leave a rating for the show.
Editor’s Note Season 2 starts in 2 weeks so get caught up now! You can catch the trailer here.
Ash vs Evil Dead brings back all the gore, political incorrectness, and laughs you know and love from Evil Dead. While crafting it's own tone and great characters that elevate it past it's predecessors. Starz has a winner on it's hands. The King is back.