This weekend, people around the country will be dressing up in their craziest costumes to celebrate that most sacred of holidays: Halloween. But the best way to spend your evening won’t be out partying and getting candy; it’ll be plopping your ass down in front of your TV to watch the first episode of Starz's highly anticipated horror-comedy revival Ash vs Evil Dead. If there was a single doubt in your head that this modern take on the material would be lacking in any way, then you've obviously let the evil version of yourself start doing the thinking.
Here are 5 reasons why Ash vs Evil Dead not only stands up to our expectations, but surpasses them and chops them into little pieces. It may not end up being the best show of 2015, but it's unquestionably one of the funnest.
Bruce Campbell , Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell
I don't need to tell you that Bruce Campbell is one of the grooviest actors in Hollywood, and I seriously doubt there's any confusion over Ash being one of the grooviest characters in fiction. And from the very first moments of the series, Campbell reminds everyone just how much he owns that role. Here, Ash is portrayed as an aging and plump semi-lothario working a dead end job and living in a trailer with his lizard, but don't let that fool you into thinking the describes Campbell himself. He's looking better than he has in years, and his shotgun and chainsaw skills are just as excellent as they were 23 years ago when Army of Darkness came out. Everybody's happy to see Harrison Ford returning to the role of Han Solo, but horror fans are even more jazzed about Campbell returning as Ash.
Sam Raimi Returns To Form
It's hard to believe that Sam Raimi, a filmmaker who first made a name for himself on the Evil Dead films, has only made one legitimate horror movie since Army of Darkness came out in 1992: 2009's Drag Me to Hell. And in the same way that film reasserted the director as one of the giddiest minds in the genre, the same goes for the Ash vs Evil Dead pilot. It's sadly the only one of the 10 episodes he directed, but he made damned sure to brand it his way as a blueprint for the successive directors to adhere to, and it's all there. From the fast-moving shaky cam to keeping the intense action front and center, Raimi's stamp is all over this, and it's unlike anything else on TV.
All That Blood
Now, no broadcast networks would ever touch an Evil Dead series for obvious reasons, not the least of which is all the f-bombs flying around. But there's seriously no place where Ash vs Evil Dead could exist beyond premium cable, and Starz was perfectly willing to let the creative team make things as disgustingly gory as possible. The special effects here are top-notch, as are the number of ways in which both humans and deadites get annihilated. Here's a light spoiler: it generally takes more than one head-demolishing gunshot in order to kill something, and the splatter is as widespread as any other recent horror project I can think of. If cheering at such morbid displays of violence is wrong, then I've no urge to be right.
It’s Just As Funny As The Movies
Since I just mentioned cheering at violence, now's as good a time to state as any that a lot of the violence seen within Ash vs Evil Dead gets ridiculously over the top and never feels like it's based on reality. Remember how the Evil Dead remake ditched all the camp and went full-force into making things gritty and realistic? That's definitely not the case here, and the show is packed with as many laughs as it is blood packets. The jokes aren't all related to things dying, of course, and there's one particular scene involving a possessed doll that will likely be one of the series' best moments. As well, the relationship between Ash and his compadres Pablo and Kelly equally offers up amusement and awkward silliness. Watch Bruce Campbell dancing in a mirror and tell me you've kept your straight face.
It’s Scarier Than Most Things on TV
As funny as Ash vs Evil Dead is, it's a show about demons returning to Earth to destroy Ash (although not in a way that actually makes a whole lot of sense) while leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Again, most of the action here is of the popcorn movie variety, but when Raimi puts the pedal to the metal, he can easily conjure up some legitimately frightening sequences. The scene that introduces state trooper Amanda Fisher is as gleefully unsettling as anything else in horror television these days. Most shows admittedly go for the suspenseful scares, but there's something about this show's playful tone that makes it even more disturbing. And take comfort in knowing that empty jump scares are almost entirely absent here. If you think something is about to scare you, it's going to happen.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.