“Ash vs Evil Dead,” a 10-episode, half-hour series, is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead. The series follows Ash, 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. The cast is led by Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past and Jill Marie Jones 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. The series is executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, the original filmmakers of the franchise, and Craig DiGregorio (“Chuck”), who serves as executive producer and showrunner.

ashvevildeadbluStudio: Starz / Anchor Bay Entertainment
Year: 2016
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Run time: 294 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD
Region: 1

I have been waiting years for this, years!! Well, a lot of us have been waiting years for this. Luckily Universal Studios didn’t let Raimi use the original cut for Army of Darkness (originally titled Medieval Dead and with a different ending where Ash uses the Necronomicon to return home but ends up in a post-apocalyptic future). For years there were rumors of another Evil Dead film, or a reboot, but since television has gotten so good, I’m really glad that this was the medium they chose to tell more adventures of Ashley J. Williams.

I watched the pilot Halloween night on Starz as was intended, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Bruce Campbell was perfection as always, it was so amazing to see Bruce back in the role of Ash after all these years, it’s almost like no time has passed. After picking up a girl and taking her back to his trailer, they “party” and to impress her Ash reads a bit from the Necronomicon, not a good idea. Never read from the book! There are tons of awesome deadites in the pilot, lots of creepy and gross moments that harken back to Evil Dead 1 and 2. I love all the call backs to ED 1 and 2, music cues and flashbacks (though there is no mention of Army of Darkness at all, maybe in future episodes but that adventure was not mentioned in this first episode). I want to say more but I won’t spoil anything either. I loved that there was more Three Stooges style slap stick humor, this just felt right at home with the rest of the films.

Ash is a lone hero, but often times his stubbornness and arrogance gets in him in trouble. Luckily for Ash, he has some help. Ray Santiago plays Pablo, Ash’s coworker who looks up to Ash and sees the potential in him to be a true hero. Dana DeLorenzo plays Kelly, Pablo’s friend and also works with he and Ash, she doesn’t really see Ash in the same light that Pablo does. We are also introduced to Jill Marie jones as Amanda Fisher, a cop who runs into some deadites and has a very brief encounter with Lucy Lawless who plays Ruby. Sam Raimi gives us a lot to chew on in the pilot, but is also keeping a lot secret, and as the first season unfolds you really can’t tell if Ash will be the hero he has been in the past.

Movie Quality: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1:78:1 aspect ratio. This is yet another release from AB to present a demo quality experience. I watched this show on broadcast television when it originally aired, and this looks even better on Blu-ray. Colors are vivid and provide impressive depth that pops off of the screen. The use of colors like red really makes this a visual experience even worth checking out if you are not interested in this show. Where the films shined in gore, here in 2016 the gore looks even more realistic. Black levels are deep and inky. There is some subtle hints of grain throughout the presentation but never make it a hindrance. With such a wonderful presentation on Blu-ray, the world of Evil Dead comes to life.
Print Quality: 9.5/10

The audio is presented in a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. Just like the image quality being impressive, the audio is right up there as being demo worthy. I was very impressed as to how dynamic sound effects were presented in the soundfield. There are plenty of panning effects that will catch the viewer’s attention almost immediately. There is a lot of action over the course of the first season. While this film does have its aggressive audio for effects and soundtrack, dialogue is also excellent. Dialogue is channeled through the center with no apparent issues as the audio was clean and crisp. Then add a soundtrack with some a wonderful score and you have a runaway winner.
Print Quality: 9.5/10

Special Features

  • Audio Commentaries
  • Ash Inside the World [HD]
  • How to Kill a Deadite [HD]
  • Best of Ash [HD]

Special Features: 5/10

Final Thoughts

Pure genius. Ash is better than he was in Army of Darkness, if you can believe that. This show is done in the same spirit as the original, and while I thought reviving a decades old cult movie as a TV show might be hit or miss, this one succeeds with flying colors.
Overall Rating: 9/10