Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ash vs. Evil Dead

After all his epic adventures with Deadites and thirty years later, Ashley Williams still works at ValueShop. lives in a trailer park, and goes to dive bars to pick up women. To woo a woman, he stupidly reads from the Necronomicon and brings the Deadites back. As Ash leaves a trail of possessed and dead people behind him, detective Amanda Fisher chases him across the country while he travels with his two young coworkers Kelly and Pablo to return the Deadites to where they belong.

I was never a super huge fan of the original Evil Dead films. I understood why they were important to the horror genre and their innovation in horror comedy and practical effects. I decided to give the show a try and I'm so happy I did. It has almost everything from the original films merged with a compelling story and likeable characters. The show brings back Bruce Campbell to his iconic role as undeservedly arrogant Ash with his chainsaw hand, one liners, and brash attitude. The only difference from Ash from the films is that he's now aging ungracefully and refuses to see it. He has a simple mentality: shoot now, think never. He's much older, pathetic, not very smart, and completely unapologetic.but he's so charismatic and fun that you still root for him through all his bumbling and mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, he thought it would be a great idea to summon a demon to fight the Deadites, but didn't think about the aftermath.

The new characters fit well with the show. Pablo and Kelly provide a voice of reason to Ash's antics. Pablo is desperate to be cool in Ash's eyes and in love with Kelly. He was raised by his shaman uncle who prophesied of a man who fights evil called El Jefe. Pablo is absolutely convinced this is Ash and believes in him even when Ash has his own doubts. Sometimes even Ash's most deplorable actions get even Pablo to judge him badly. Kelly, on the other hand, is less eager to join the group. She is focused on running from her past, but finds a kind of family with Ash and Pablo. She judges Ash harshly, but still follows him and works to beat the Deadites with him. Pablo and Kelly provide different perspectives on situations and give Ash some perspective at times.

The Deadites are back to their old tricks. Regular zombies are bad enough when someone sees a loved one rotting and attacking them. Deadites take it to crazy lengths. One minute they will spew obscenities and insults and the next weep at the attacks in a perfect imitation of the loved one. These are living or dead people possessed by Kandarian demons who have a hive mind. Not all of them are zombies, but the majority of them end up that way. At their core, they are dark tricksters who delight in mayhem and chaos. In the show, they have a mysterious leader and an ultimate goal that concentrates their efforts, making them even more dangerous than before.

The show is hilariously disgusting with blood and vomit splattered liberally. Unfortunately, the effects are primarily CGI instead of practical effects. The effects are the most revolutionary thing about the original films and it's disappointing to see the legacy stop. I suspect it's a budget and time constraint issue. I've resigned myself to the CGI because it doesn't look terrible and the soul of the show is intact. It's a fun, gory, over the top horror comedy that's a worthy follow up to the original films. The only other problem I had was that half hour episodes are way too short. Other than that, I loved every minute. The ending to the season was perfect and I can't wait to see the repercussions in season 2.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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