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Review: Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 – “Bloody, gory fun”

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“Hail to the king, baby!”

It has been 10 weeks since it began, but now season 1 of Ash vs Evil Dead is over and it has been a bloody, messy journey full of demons, chainsaws, gory deaths and wonderful wisecracks. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about I’ll take a minute to fill you in.

Ash vs Evil Dead is a Starz TV show (shown on Virgin Media in the UK) that sees the return of Ash (Bruce Campbell), the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead.  When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons – personal and literal.  Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip. Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, andCampbell were executive producers and Raimi directed the first episode.

It also stars Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago (“Touch,”Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past and Jill Marie Jones (“Sleepy Hollow”) as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.

Possible spoilers ahead.

We had the Evil Dead remake / reboot / sequel film back in 2013. I thought was great, but many didn’t. However, it did feature Campbell at the end, but it looked like there would be no more films. Luckily the new series brought us more of the brilliant character that is Ash and gives us a true sequel to Evil Dead 2(due to some rights issues they couldn’t mention Army of Darkness in the new show). I also hope that they somehow manage to bring Jane Levy’s character from the 2013 film into the show at some point.

Okay, so back to Season 1. Ash has managed to unleash evil once more, simply through the fact he is an idiot and we wouldn’t want him any other way. This leads him on a quest to banish the Deadites and destroy the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. This means a crazy road trip taking in a diner, book shop, spirit lodge, survivalist camp and finally, a certain cabin in the woods.

Every episode was a gem, with a glorious mix of comedy, blood and a serious amount of gore. Honestly, there are some amazing kills to be viewed in this show and I am sure there is a great drinking game you could do while watching it. Nobody is safe and the Deadites are always closing in. There is a huge helping of practical effects on display, with some CGI thrown in for good measure. They must have gone through a huge amount of fake blood, and almost every character gets covered in it at different points. It wouldn’t beEvil Dead without people dripping in blood.

We also get some great creature designs with lots of Deadites and the scary looking Eligos.

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The new characters of Pablo, Kelly, Amanda and Ruby are all welcome editions. They all do well with their character arcs and add a few different viewpoints to the terrible events unfolding around them. However, it must be said that when we are just with those characters, the show slows down a little. That is purely down to the brilliant work of Bruce Campbell.

We all loved him from the original films, but Ash vs Evil Dead gives us 10 episodes of Ash and every moment he is on-screen is pure wonder. Campbell plays the self-absorbed, woman chasing, Deadite killing Ash to perfection. When he is not on-screen, you are just itching for him to turn up and say something stupidily awesome. Only Ash would think it was okay to hit on a waitress when he can’t pay the bill, yet he is not blind to his imperfections. He just tries not to think about them. Plus he still has the chainsaw and boom stick!

“I’m gonna say a lotta dumb things!”

That he does and he does it perfectly. Has there ever been a better hero than Ash Williams? I think not. We also get to see the character grow. Usually that’s a good thing, but this is Evil Dead.

Events come to a head and episode eight sees us return to the cabin from Evil Dead. That’s right, Ash gets to go home. You could probably watch the last three episodes as a 90 minute Evil Dead 4 if you fancied a night of Evil Dead films. They certainly kick it up a notch for the return to the cabin. The frights become more frightening and the Deadites become more disgusting – using corpses as ventriloquist dummies was one highlight. Luckily, more people turn up to keep the body count high and the cabin gets up to its old tricks before we head down in to the fruit cellar.

Seriously, great things happen – the return of Ash’s demon hand, the Necronomicon possessing a person, demon children, broken legs and a whole lot of blood. So much blood.

Then we have that ending. At first I felt a little disappointed with it, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. A true ending for a horror story such as this and one brought about by Ash thinking more about others than himself.

The second season has already been given the go ahead and after the events of the season 1 finale it could go anywhere. I really can’t wait to find out.

To sum up, Ash vs Evil Dead is bloody good fun.

5-out-of-5

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