- The King is back, baby
Ash vs Evil Dead makes its blood-soaked return to Starz this Halloween. Twenty-three years after the last film in the Evil Dead trilogy left off, audiences are given an entirely new helping of Evil Dead, in the form of a TV series. Does the series still have the dark magic in its tank that made the first ones such a cult-phenomenon?
In 1981, director, Sam Raimi did not expect that his low-budget film Evil Dead, would change the way films were made forever. Only 19-years-old at the time, Raimi created a cult-phenomenon that is just as resistant to death as the Deadites in his films. His Evil Dead trilogy that ended with Army of Darkness in 1992 left fans wanting more.
Ash vs Evil Dead begins with our hero, Ash (Bruce Campbell) living in a mobile-trailer park. His days and nights consist of womanizing and drinking at the local watering hole. When Ash (again) unwittingly unleashes the Candarian demons from the Necronomicon, he is left with little choice but to chainsaw and blast his way through the wave of Deadites that attempt to swallow his soul.
Unfortunately for the planet, the Deadites aren't happy with just going after Ash this time around. They are looking to take over the world. It comes down to Ash and a couple of his co-workers tasked with saving the world from destruction by Deadites.
To bring back a popular series after two-decades can make even the loyalist fan hesitant. However, in the case of Ash vs Evil Dead, miraculously it is as good, if not better than the original trilogy combined. This has everything to do with the fact that those involved in the original films are back for the TV series.
At the center of this well constructed gory-masterpiece is director Raimi and the king himself, Bruce Campbell, who both step into the world they created like no time had passed at all. Dana DeLorenzo (Workaholics, Californication) and Ray Santiago (In Time, My Name is Earl) play sidekicks to Campbell. They are an awkwardly innocuous addition and add a new element to the series that we haven't seen before. For the most part Ash has always been, alone in previous Evil Dead entries. With the addition of these characters, who join Ash reluctantly, audiences are able to see a side of Ash that they haven't seen before. The chemistry and comedic timing between the trio is a welcomed addition and direction.
The TV series pays a large amount of fan-service where fan-service is due. Raimi’s trademark quick cuts, trick dolly shots and over the top sound design, are all present. The production of Ash vs Evil Dead doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to harnessing the charm and atmosphere of the original films.
Campbell is still an absolute national treasure. He still uses his slapstick, Three Stooges-based action-comedy to illustrate the insane world of the Evil Dead, and dammit it looks and feels good to have it back in the world again. There isn't enough good to be said about this series. From start to finish it blazes past expectations and manages to hold that pace for the entire ride. Fans of the series are in for a treat that verges on the cusp of 80’s nostalgia and pure fandom bliss.
Ash vs Evil Dead premieres Oct. 31 on Starz.