body horror

[TV Review] Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 (2015) ★★★★★

Pablo, Ash and

Ash vs Evil Dead revives the cult franchise while unleashing a fresh tale of demonic evil.


Ash vs Evil Dead is a supernatural occult comedy horror series that is a sequel to the wonderful cult franchise brought to life by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert. Now the trio is back with more gore, more fun, more demons and a brilliant story with the forever man child Ash Williams. With a lot of fun nods to the films, new fresh storylines, this series picks up where we left Ash 30 years ago when he returned from the Dark Ages with an incredible story to tell. Now the mythology behind it all, goes further to tell whole new stories, while the mythos is explored and expanded. 

This first season consists of 10 episodes with each a duration of 25-41 minutes. It has a continuous storyline in which Ash has to fight deadites again, but now with the help of Pablo and Kelly.


Plot

It has been 30 years since Ash’s adventures, first in the cabin in the woods where they accidentally summoned demons and then he got teleported to the Dark Ages where Ash was the prophesied one. Luckily he made it back to his own time, to the store, where he still works. He lives in a trailer and still thinks he is that same charming boy from 30 years ago, hitting on women. But when he tries to impress a woman, while being a little bit stoned, he accidentally read to her from the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Oops, he did it again.

So the deadites are summoned again and he has to stop them. This time he has help from his co-workers Pablo and Kelly, while he has a new enemy Ruby. Leaving behind a pile of bodies everywhere they go, they are being chased by detective Amanda, while trying to get back to the cabin to burn the book. Ruby also chases them down, who wants to use the book for her own sinister plans.


Why you should watch it

Ash vs Evil Dead is a perfect follow-up to the movie franchise. It has that same dark humor, the same gory gross-out horror, buckets full of blood, and a heartwarming story to boot, with Pablo and Kelly adding a lot a fresh air to the familiar franchise. Ash therefore can stay absolutely the same selfish, lazy, vain, macho man he has always been. Pablo has enough heart and hope to add, while Kelly is a kick ass girl who is brave and tones Ash down a bit. They make a perfect team to take on the deadites, to convince Amanda of their noble goals and to stop Ruby from executing her dark plans.

Their dynamics is the big feature of the series. They complement each other, while being the strangest team that hardly should be effective at all. But it works wonderfully. Especially when Pablo and Kelly counterbalance all of Ash’s shortcomings. So they have a lot of work to do. While Pablo is the most noble one, Kelly is out for revenge and all Ash wants is to go to Jacksonville to retire. 

The episodes are quick and short and full of action, humor and body parts and blood are all over the place, with the kids and elderly not spared one bit. But it’s so over the top campy gore galore, that the dark humor prevents the gore from becoming too disgusting and appalling. The set design is great and takes us from the store, to an antique book shop, the isolated barn of Pablo’s uncle, full with witch stuff, via a military bunker eventually to the well-known cabin where everything begun 30 years ago.

It has a very nostalgic feel, certainly when the same camera angels and cinematography is used as in the first film to create the sense of the demons in the forest. It adds some ominous feeling, while it is great fun. Also, the first films come back to life to haunt Ash, in a very real way. Sometimes even the footage is shown to really integrate the series with the films. It connects the old and the new in a fantastic way. It’s a trip down memory lane and especially a great fest for the fans.

Of course, Ash’s hand on which he can attach his chain saw, his oldsmobile, his good old boom stick and his outfit, blue shirt and brown pants, all create that feel of the original films. But sticking with the brilliant practical effects, the fantastic grime and makeup turning people into deadites, are even better than 30 years ago, while still creating that same old nostalgic feeling.

Finally the return to the old cabin after a road trip from hell, brings back some memories and it does look exactly the same, even the famous chair and the basement. It certainly brings back some horrible flashbacks for Ash with the head of Linda talking to him, and his doppelganger. Add to this also the demonic hand that comes in search for his owner and the party is complete. It’s just wonderfully done how the old connects with the new, while giving it a fresh new spin. 

While this new series builds upon the old films, it also creates a whole new storyline. By adding Pablo and Kelly and their backgrounds and personalities it brings something new and fresh to the story, with possessions, but also with Pablo being a brujo. And even with some surreal scenes where Ash thinks about Jacksonville.

But also by adding a real nemesis asides from deadites. A real villain portrayed by Lucy Lawless who true loyal fans will welcome back, while she as Xena and Bruce Campbell as Autolycus have already had some great adventures in Xena the Warrior Princess. The fun keeps on coming in this series. She and Kelly and Amanda bring some welcome girl power to the series.

Add to this also great monsters and demons, like the wonderfully made and scary Eligos, who’s quite impressive and the demonic children in the last episode, and the humor is perfectly combined with outstanding horror. It’s a brilliant mix that is hilarious over the top, scary, gory and with a well-crafted story and wonderful characters and a big heart.


My favorite part

In short, everything. Every character is brilliantly done and everyone has their own important part to play. The story is fast paced, fun and action-packed. It looks great and the story is all you have ever wished for after the three movies. It’s a series that is brilliantly balanced out and the passion and love for the series really shows. It’s playful, very dynamic and highly entertaining. I do have a soft spot for Pablo. He’s so sincere and naive, but brave and noble. He’s the true heart of the series. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Nostalgic factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Ash vs Evil Dead:


Cast and crew

Ash vs Evil Dead is cerated by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Tom Spezialy. It stars Bruce Campbell (Ash), Ray Santiago (Pablo), Dana DeLorenzo (Kelly), Lucy Lawless (Ruby) and Jill Marie Jones (Amanda).

Music: Joseph LoDuca. Cinematography: Dave Garbett, John Cavill. Productions company: Renaissance Pictures, Starz Originals. Original network: Starz.


Check the trailer below


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