“Shoot first, think never” – Ash
The Evil Dead came out 35 years ago and has since gathered an ever growing cult following of diehard horror fans. That film was a dark, scary, gritty and extremely gory horror flick but as we all know the sequel took an entirely different approach. It was a pure horror comedy that introduced us to quite possibly the most iconic demon and Deadite slaying hero to ever grace the silver screen, Ash Williams being portrayed by the equally awesome Bruce Campbell. Ash is best described as an egomaniacal, complaining, misogynistic idiot but an extremely entertaining idiot at that. He takes shortcuts, gets people killed and doesn’t think more than two steps ahead but he’s a good guy at heart and always finds a way to save the world. With a fully functioning chainsaw in place where his hand used to be and a sawn-off double barrel shotgun in the other, he’s a one man Deadite killing machine.
1992, Army Of Darkness released and edged the series even further towards full-blown comedy but it was still a fun ride and had a bunch of memorable scenes and one liners. After that the series went cold until an eventual remake in 2013 that received mixed reviews even though it had the full backing of Bruce and series creator Sam Raimi. There was only one thing fans wanted to see and there was no getting away from it, Ash had to return and face evil one last time.
In 2015 Ash vs. Evil Dead was given the green light, it would act as an actual direct sequel to the original trilogy and see Campbell kicking ass in exactly the way we’ve all been waiting for.
Thirty years after his epic battle against the evil Deadites, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is living in a trailer park, working in a ValueShop department store, and spending his evenings womanizing in dive bars. After seeing a demonic visage appear on a woman’s face, Ash recalls having a recent Marijuana-addled “poetry read” with another girlfriend, from the Necronomicon, which he still keeps locked in a trunk. Ash unleashes hell on earth simply because he wanted to impress a girl while being high on weed and the book of the dead was the nearest thing he had to poetry, amazing.
Elsewhere in town, Michigan state police detective Amanda Fisher, (Jill Marie Jones), investigates a disturbance at an abandoned house and encounters Ash’s demon-possessed girlfriend who kills her partner. She is then forced to put down her undead partner. Later, Amanda meets the mysterious Ruby Knowby, (Lucy Lawless), who seems almost too understanding about the horrors Amanda has witnessed. As more evil happenings occur around him, Ash realizes he unwittingly reawakened the horrible curse again and decides to slip out of town, but he is stopped by his co-workers, Pablo, (Ray Santiago) and Kelly, (Dana DeLorenzo), who realize he’s to blame for what is going on. After having to kill his possessed neighbour, Ash reluctantly decides to resume his old chainsaw-wielding persona once again.
That’s all I’ll say about the plot of the show but rest assured, the show more than fills its 10 episode season with plenty of memorable moments throughout.
I won’t hide my opinion of this show, I absolutely loved it. One of the things I was most concerned about when I first heard it was being made was that it might just be a rehash of all the jokes and scenes we’ve already seen before. I can assure you that this isn’t the case; they said this was a sequel and that’s absolutely what it is. It’s brand new moments from beginning to end; I don’t think Ash even says a single of his most iconic one liners throughout the season.
As it should be, the best thing about the show is Ash himself and Bruce Campbell completely nails it. He’s at his most idiotic, wise cracking, Deadite dismembering best here and it leads to many genuinely hilarious scenes.
The show starts a little slow and some of the is very cheesy at first but this is exactly how I imagined Ash would be 30 years after all the crap he’d been through, he even drives the exact same car from the first movie.
It was bound to introduce us to some new characters which can always be dangerous ground to cross but thankfully they actually add a lot to the show. Pablo, Kelly & Ash have excellent chemistry and they totally bring out the absolute best of Ash as well as having some brilliant moments of their own.
Obviously, if you were hoping for this series to have a feel of the original then you won’t be happy because this is Evil Dead 2 territory at its horror/comedy best. While the show is funny, some stuff falls flat but comedy isn’t all there is to the show. There are some nice moments of genuine dread; I especially enjoyed the episodes in which Ash returns to the cabin where it all began.
We’re given a bunch of cool references to the previous movies such as Linda’s skull still clamped in a vice in the tool shed. Then there’s Ash discovering the skeletal remains of Jake who was dragged into Henrietta’s fruit cellar in Evil Dead 2. Lucy Lawless plays the role of the sister of Annie who died at the end of Evil Dead 2 just as she was reading from the pages of the book. Lucy is out for revenge against Ash as she believes he is the cause of the evil which isn’t technically untrue; she’s hiding a dark secret though. Unfortunately the show makes little mention of Army Of Darkness as it’s owned by Universal but it is clever with a few small references.
The gore is very over the top but the practical effects used are just awesome, you can see the amount of effort that was put in. It’s a bloodbath from beginning to end; a lot of fake blood was spilled here. Some of the CG effects used weren’t perfect but it’s a small nitpick.
The show saves some of its best moments until the very end; the way in which Ash attempts to solve it all is complete genius.
Ash vs. Evil Dead is a complete blast from beginning to end and continues the story as perfectly as it could have ever been done. It develops the Ash character well and even gives us further insight into the Necronomicon, its origins and how it was created which is fascinating. Basically, if you love Bruce Campbell as Ash as much as I do then you won’t be disappointed.
Ash vs. Evil Dead - Season 1
- The Final Score - 9.5/109.5/10