Ash vs Evil Dead is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror films The Evil Dead. The 10-episode half-hour series brings together the original trilogy team of Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell who have banded together to bring Ash Williams to the small screen.
Campbell is back as Asho, still stocking shelves, and having aged a bit. He’s spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity, and trying to forget the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.
Much like the film trilogy the series revolves around Ash and Campbell’s ability to pull off a hero who’s both a complete jackass and absolutely fun. Sexist, full of himself, and really out of shape (to which Campbell plays up well showing little personal vanity and having fun), it actually feels like no time has passed since 1992’s Army of Darkness. The quick jokes, the Deadite ass-kicking, no beat is missed, and some new ones are picked up.
The first episode is all about catching us up with Ash, and setting up the Deadite return. What’s immediately noticeable is that Team Raimi has kept the exact same aesthetic that makes a visually cohesive trilogy of films (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness). The movement of the Deadites, the make-up, it’s all very old school. But Raimi updates things a bit too giving us a lot of CGI throughout as well. This is Evil Dead with a bit more of a budget. And where many fall apart when given more money, Raimi has kept the same sensibility and look to it all. It’ actually an amazing blending of the old and new together.
Ash is joined by some new folks including Ray Santiago who plays his new sidekick Pablo, Dana DeLorenzo who plays Kelly, and Jill Marie Jones as a disgraced cop Amanda. Jone’s Amanda is off on her own figuring out what’s going on, and that feels part of the more updated part of the show. But, Santiago and DeLorenzo not only hold there own with Campbell but at times steal the show, especially DeLorenzo who plays the female interest for Ash. She not only shows some ass-kicking ability, but her take-no-shit attitude plays well opposite Campbell’s smart-ass/quick to comment Ash.
Ash clearly has some rust to brush off and the first episode is all about that getting us to the final moments which will have Evil Dead fans cheering with iconic moments, sayings, and Ash in old form.
The fist episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead is an introduction for new viewers, but also fan service in many ways smartly building up to its final climactic moments that had me grinning ear to ear.
You can sum up the first episode in one word…. Groovy.
Overall Rating: 9
Ash vs Evil Dead premieres Saturday, October 31st at 9:00pm ET/PT exclusively on STARZ with a 10-episode season.
Starz provided a FREE screener prior to airing