For those who remember Sam Raimi's (Darkman) Evil Dead films of the 1980s and early '90s, Ash vs Evil Dead brings us back to the well-loved character, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell; Burn Notice). We first saw Ash in the film The Evil Dead, followed by Evil Dead II and then Army of Darkness. Now, we get to see what Ash has been up to for the past 30 years (which isn't much of anything), while a new threat to mankind, a Deadite plague, enters the picture. Ash is now forced to snap out of his way of life, and back into the role of a "superhero monster killer with a chainsaw hand" that it seems life has dealt him.
Ash mistakenly gets high one night, and in order to impress a girl he reads from the book called Necromonicon unleashing a Deadite into the world. Unable to figure out how to get the creature back into the book, and the world it came from, Ash must chase it all over the country, enlisting help along the way and unwittingly releasing other monsters from the book. As is typical "Ash" fashion, he manages to mess things up and can't figure out how to make it all right again.
The Evil Dead films have always been a mixture of horror, gore, and comedy, and the STARZ television series continues this tradition in its show. The show knows its core audience is rabid fans of the films and want to keep the same tone in the series they have come to expect. However, some episodes of season one have gone a bit overboard at times, getting a bit too "gory" and "campy" making the show almost hard to watch.
Helping to alleviate some of the flaws in its story is a very eclectic and unique cast. Ray Santiago (Touch), Dana DeLorenzo (Impress Me), Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow ), and Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) all add an interesting element. While Ash is 100% the center of the show, each actor and their respective character adds an extra dimension to the normally shallow Ash Williams.
Filmed entirely in digital Ash vs Evil Dead Season One is presented in 1080p AVC codec with natural color tones and high saturation. For the most part, the picture is crisp and has spot-on black tones. Because of the high-quality digital recording, the CGI effects, occasionally, can easily be spotted in some scenes, and can momentarily catch your attention, distracting you from watching the show.
Ash vs Evil Dead audio truly shines through on this Blu-ray set. Presented in Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the audio track is almost reference quality. The on-screen antics and special effects take full advantage of your home theater providing a pulse-pounding soundtrack, crisp clear dialog, and chainsaw sounds aplenty that come at you from every angle possible. Watching this Blu-ray is an audio experience unmatched by many.
With most of the two-disc set used to give the viewer the best possible quality picture possible, there is not much room left for the special features. The set includes a 15 minutes behind-the-scenes featurette entitled Ash Inside the World hosted by one of the show's producers, two fluff pieces entitled How to Kill a Deadite, and Best of Ash that basically just show scenes that one already saw while watching season one. Also included are audio commentaries on each episode with the actors and producers. That being said, it is a shame STARZ did not also include a digital copy of the film for people to take ASH on the road with them, but all hope is not lost, as it is still available to be purchased from the iTunes store or on one of the large ultraviolet websites such as Flixster or Vudu.
While seeing Ash Williams back in action killing Deadites is a twisted joy of mine, the show does rely more on gore and campiness than the original film trilogy did. The show did improve throughout the season, with the addition of the classic rock soundtrack; however, here's hoping that season two will bring a little bit more of a serious tone back to the world of Evil Dead and leave the crazy antics to just Ash.
I give STARZ's Ash vs Evil Dead Season One 4 out of 5 Deadites.