In Review: Ash Vs. The Evil Dead ★★★★☆
Cult horror film creator Sam Raimi has breathed the undead back to life in the first season of his Starz series, Ash Vs. The Evil Dead- a direct follow up to his hollowed ground breaking trilogy, proceeded by 1992's Army of Darkness. Bruce Campbell reprises his role as Ash Williams, joined by Ray Santiago (Meet the Fockers), Dana Rose DeLorenzo, and Jill Marie Jones (Girlfriends).
I'm pleased to admit that I had a really good time watching the first season. I'm an avid binge watcher so I haven't peeped the second season one bit. Without any preconceived notions of what the show would be about, whether it would carry the same strong ultra-camp that Raimi championed throughout the first movies, I was pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to watch. There is certainly no deficiency in blood and carnage, you'll come to find out, and in all seriousness, the special effects were absolutely on par. There were quite a few tricks I've never seen before and those scenes will definitely stick with me for a while. The end credit music selection is also very charming and gives a great close to each episode.
It's a lot more grounded in reality, as crazy as it might sound, but the Ash's character did not lose any of his tactless charm and guts, which really carried the cinematic series to victory. The supporting characters, comprised of an immigrant named Pablo and a sassy bombshell named Kelly, help bridge the gap between the hellish environment and what to do about it. Both actors do an extremely good job bringing these characters to life and into the deathly situations of Ash's world. They're also great fun to watch and perform. They're on screen chemistry blended perfectly and together they brought 1981 into the 21st century without skipping a beat.
You can absolutely hate this, love this, or just drop it mid season. It's not necessarily an a acquired taste, but you'll find that it may not play to all of one persons sensibilities of humor and lust for gore, but it may to someone else. There's no egregious nudity, but there are certainly some adult situations occurring right off the top of the show. It happened to not be an indication of how the show will play out in its entirety. They've got some triumphant new faces coming to the screen in this show, but there are a few that fall a little flat. You'll definitely recognize a few heroes (or heroines) from other entertainment universes that just might make you stand up from your couch and say, "Is that... that is!"
You'll meet quite a few other characters that you'll either hate or love as well, I can say that with confidence. They'll all be put through a very bloody ringer and it would suggest you can never think any of them are safe. Besides a few characters that absolutely didn't need to exist in the series, except to be used as a device or as a narrative. Although the gore-factor and thrills were at a 10/10, I was really disappointed in the restraint that could be felt in some of the scenes- in the acting as well as the gags, compared to Raimi's typical MO.
In conclusion, you can certainly embrace this series as a competent continuation of the Evil Dead trilogy, or as a someone who knows nothing about these prior movies. They do a good job bringing you up to speed without waterboarding the entire pace by over explanation. But you do have to keep an open mind and heart if you are to survive this reanimation of a culture classic! All in all, I'd say it was indeed Groovy- wholesome yet absolutely inappropriate. Just the way I like it!