With the involvement of Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Bruce Campbell (the team behind the original Evil Dead films), there was no doubt in anybody's mind that Ash Vs. Evil Dead was going to be something special. The question was: How special is it going to be? Well, dear fans, the answer is very!
From the pilot episode (co-written and flashily directed by Sam Raimi), Ash Vs. Evil Dead establishes a demented, funny, an darkly entertaining tone, which is full of style and just the right dose of nostalgia. The addition of new characters to the mythology (especially Ray Santiago as Pablo and a kick-ass Lucy Lawless as the mysterious Ruby), opens up the scope of the storytelling, while injecting a healthy dose of freshness and energy to the series.
That's not to say that the series is perfect. It isn't. My biggest complaint is that, with the exception of the stunning final three episodes, set in the original cabin from Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, the series isn't scary enough, as Raimi and co. seem to be more interested in making the series closer in tone to Army of Darkness (over the top gags, plenty of gore, and laugh-out-loud dark humor), than the fiercely nightmarish Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. Also, the season's plotting, for the most part, is herky-jerky, with the myriad plot strands not meshing together as well as they should.
But what Ash Vs. Evil Dead gets right is enough to make the faults a minor nuisance. From the stunningly stylish visuals, to the stomach-churning make-up effects, to the awesomeness that's Bruce Campbell as Ash, there's plenty here to satisfy the most rabid fan of Evil Dead.
With a terrific finale that sets up a hell of a plot line for the coming season, Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Season 1 is a joy to watch from beginning to end. Groovy!
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2016.