I have to be honest, I never saw the Evil Dead films growing up in the 80’s, I just watched Army of Darkness a year or so ago, and I never saw the 2013 remake (which I heard was disappointing). I’ll admit when I sat down and watched Army of Darkness, I loved what I saw in Sam Raimi’s freakish yet funny third entry in the franchise. It’s hard to believe we would get a series based off this franchise thanks to the cable channel Starz with Ash vs Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell’s long awaited return as everyone’s favorite anti-hero stockboy was well worth the wait, as he’s back and better than ever in his very own show.
Our friends at Starz gave us a sneak peek at the pilot episode directed by Sam Raimi, and features our hero Ash (played perfectly by Bruce Campbell) 30-some years after the events from the first two movies and still working at retail store that isn’t “S-mart” due to contractual reasons. So while he may be in an alternate universe where Army of Darkness never happened, he still has what it takes for a good time with the ladies he picks up wherever and whenever he can. While having some “fun” with a lady at the local bar, she becomes possessed by a demon that let’s him know they’re coming for him again. Confused as to how this is possible since he locked them away in the famed necronomicon book, he soon learns that he accidentally unleashed the demons while high with a previous lady he hooked up with.
Not only are the monsters causing trouble for him, but also for a state trooper named Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) who had a partner that turned into a demon and had to be put down, as well as Ash’s fellow co-workers Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana Delorenzo) who stumble onto his secret life as a demon slayer. It looks like it will fall to them to save the world from the demons, if they can survive each other and the crazy adventures they have first.
Anyone who has seen Raimi’s earlier work and the Evil Dead franchise will be happy to know he hasn’t skipped a beat (he even got Lucy Lawless of Xena fame in here). The fast-paced action, zooming cameras, and mostly practical special effects (there’s some CG, but it’s minimal) are back in full swing. Bruce Campbell plays Ash as though he never stopped decades ago, looks great for someone not far from 60, and still retains his devilish charisma and one-liners. All of the Evil Dead gore and dark humor is here as well (an old lady becomes a demon after Ash talks her into cleaning his trailer home), and is sure to delight fans while freaking out newcomers at first, but they’re sure to like it if given the chance. This pilot episode only shows the tip of the iceberg and not much else, so it feels like it ends all too soon while leaving you hungry for more and anxiously awaiting the rest of the episodes.
If you have the Starz cable package and you’re looking for some frightfully freakish fun on Halloween, you’ll want to load up your boomstick and rev up your chainsaw for Ash vs Evil Dead. Everything fans of the franchise could want appears to be here, with more coming in future episodes (and with a second season already announced before the first starts). I’m sure even those new to Ash and his misadventures will have a scary good time watching this, and will be hailing the king soon enough.