It’s been a long time since Ash Williams graced the eyeballs of Evil Dead fans everywhere in 1992’s completely insane Army of Darkness. However, that all changed this weekend with the premiere of Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead, a very clearly defined continuation of the franchise starring Bruce Campbell in the role that made him famous.
Picking up 30 years after the events of the first film, the show rejoins Ash as he lives life out of trailer in rural Michigan. However, everything changes the night he decides to read from the book of the dead in order to impress a girl he wants to bang while stoned. Needless to say, this reading alerts the evil to his presence. Now, Ash is faced with a choice: put a cork in Evil’s bottle once and for all, or watch the entire world go to hell in a hand basket.
For everything the show has going for it, one thing that may hold new viewers back is the fact that Ash airs on premium cable channel Starz, which is best known for being the former home of Spartacus. Some may wonder if the monthly subscription purchase to the channel is worth it, and we’re here to tell you the answer is a definitive yes. But, should you need some extra convincing that the purchase is worth the right hand it’s going to cost you, just keep on reading…
1) It’s Really Funny
Unless they’re straight sitcoms – which Ash is classified as under Academy rules, given its runtime – shows on premium cable are rarely funny. Sure, occasionally we get something like a Strike Back, but those are few and far between. Typically, premium cable is where the world goes for its “serious” fare, which is a stereotype Ash vs. Evil Dead does away with very quickly.
As we see with moments like Ash getting into a fight with an anthropomorphized toy doll, and the opening scene featuring the man getting back into his late-night boning session after being startled by a potential deadite, Ash vs. Evil Dead is making sure to keep things funny, and that’s good because funny is really the only way we could possibly handle the fact that…
2) It’s Also Really Terrifying
Even if you’re someone that doesn’t get much enjoyment out of the horror genre because it never seems to hit you in the same way it does your friends, Ash vs. Evil Dead is going to make you jump. In particular, the scene that takes place in the house where we meet Amanda is the most ideal example of this. When she and her partner encounter the deadite that managed to turn herself backwards, all bets are off in the “this won’t scare me,” department.
But it doesn’t stop there. A moment like the deadite granny threatening to pluck Kelly’s eyes out with her fingers is just spine-churning on a level most television is incapable of achieving – and yes, we’re looking right at you, Ryan Murphy.
3) The New Deadites Are Updated in All the Right Ways
When I’m thinking about terrifying moments like the scene with Amanda and her partner in the house, what really sells it is the deadite herself. While technology has advanced in many ways, Raimi and his team appear to have gone as practical as possible – using mostly editing tricks to make the demons appear to be manipulating their hosts in ways such as turning their entire head around 90 degrees. In fact, it appears the production team has only utilized CG when absolutely necessary in order to achieve things very specific to the deadite terror, like with the doll attack.
The deadites we’re seeing in Ash vs. Evil Dead are a little “cleaner” than the ones from the original films, but it’s only for the sake of high definition video. However, they work so well that their sheen doesn’t really matter. Also, who doesn’t want their new deadite to be all shiny and new just before cutting its head off with a chainsaw?