The following review is spoiler-free.
Starz gave Nerd Approved access to the first two episodes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead and let me just say right off the bat that I’m not going to get into plot details here. Much of that has already been discussed on the Internet and covered in interviews. Besides, you’ll appreciate going into this ride spoiler-free. But, rest assured Evil Dead fans, these guys are gonna give you want you want and then some.
For the uninitiated, that means B-movie-style slasher horror (the people dealing with the blood on this show must never sleep) that’s tempered with a proportionate dose of comedy. It’s creepy, it’s gory, it’s funny and it’s not politically correct. It’s also pure, mindless fun. I loved pretty much everything about it.
That having been said, it feels very familiar—but it’s not entirely the Evil Dead fans will remember. It’s clear that Starz gave the cast and crew carte blanche to do whatever they wanted—and they took full advantage. The show is raunchier (there’s a sex scene with Ash that seemed weird to me) and bloodier for sure. There also (gasp) a bit of CGI that isn’t what I would call “super slick”. Not to worry though – the vast majority of the effects are practical and the CGI bits are limited mostly to areas where they’re trying to find another gear in a show that’s full throttle all the time. That is to say, I wasn’t put really put off by it.
Oh, and Ash is a much bigger asshole than you probably imagined. He’s also the same lovable anti-hero we remember.
That brings me to an important point. Having this air as a TV series rather than a film is a blessing. We’re going to really get to know Ash here and it’s not all one-liners and ass kicking. After two episodes I still can’t figure out why everyone (not just Ruby and, I assume, Amanda) doesn’t want Ash dead—and that includes his companions. I mean, this entire thing is his stupid fault (wait ’til you see the hilarious way Ash accidentally brings the Deadites back). At the very least you would think Kelly would try to murder him rather than hang out with him as a sidekick after the events of Episode 2.
So yeah, don’t expect much Walking Dead-style boo-hooing and drama here. In fact, It wouldn’t really be fair to compare the two shows at all. The Walking Dead is like haunting classical music while Ash Vs. Evil Dead is like playing Slayer on a Hello Kitty drum set.
Simply put, there’s nothing else like it on TV right now. It will have you laughing, creeped out, grossed out and jumping out of your seat—all in the span of 30 minutes. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re game for some serious mayhem, I highly suggest strapping in for the premiere on October 31st at 9:00pm ET/PT. It’s everything you need for Halloween.
BTW: Starz is running an Evil Dead movie marathon on October 30th starting at 8:00pm ET/PT and it’s hosted by Bruce Campbell himself. So there’s your opportunity to get caught up.