Without the rights to 1992’s Army of Darkness, Ash vs Evil Dead launches us headfirst into a continuation of Evil Dead II‘s misadventures of Bruce Campbell‘s iconic horror-comedy hero, Ash Williams as he continues to work a crappy job, skeez on chicks, and generally glorify himself above all those around him (just pretend that time-travel ending never happened). This first episode of the 10-part Starz series was written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Tom Spezialy with Sam in the director’s chair orchestrating splatterstick Deadite action as though he’d never taken a break to become a superstar mainstream filmmaker. In case you were worried that Ash vs Evil Dead might take itself too seriously, “El Jefe” opens with Ash getting himself into a truss while listening to Deep Purple’s “Space Trucking” so he can go out and nail a drunk depressed woman in a dive bar toilet. A mid-coital appearance of a Deadite possession is almost enough to put him off finishing, and the look on his face as he goes back to work while expecting demons to burst in at any moment is priceless — and kind of sums up what we’re in for: cheap thrills, exploitation, and exuberant fun. And what triggered the return of the Deadite threat after 30 years? In truly classic f-Ash-ion, after a night of smoking weed, Ash tried to impress a young lady by reading from the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. And away we go. Hell’s broken loose and it’s not just Ash’s ass on the line this time, but the entire world’s, and Bruce Campbell is definitely up to the task. At 57 years old, and 30 years removed from his last time playing the character, he’s throwing himself into the role of Ash with abandon, and it’s like he never left. In the meantime, police officer Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) has her own run in with the Deadites and ends up losing her partner, her job, and maybe her sanity, in a violent extended sequence that hearkens back to Evil Dead for pure visceral scares and gore. It seems the Deadites know who Fisher is and have a bit of a grudge to settle. Luckily Lucy Lawless shows up briefly later in the episode to reassure her that she’s not going crazy and that sometimes “what you think you saw, is exactly what you saw.” It’s just a taste, but Lawless is, as usual, superb. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table. But back to Ash… After his hot night in the bathroom, he decides to leave town, but not before fellow stockboy/clean-up boy Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago) adds a little more to the Evil Dead mythos, by positing that Ash may be the chosen one, “El Jefe,” who will battle and defeat the demonic forces that are building all around them. But he can’t do it alone, so Pablo and new hire Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) are “recruited” and by the episode’s end, are bonded as a team and ready to go out and kick some Deadite ass. More or less. Along the way we get more straight-up slapstick on par with Army of Darkness‘ Ash vs Tiny Ashes, and a full-tilt battle with the first Deadite Ash has seen in 30 years – and it is pretty damned glorious. And hilarious. And gross. In short, it’s everything one could hope for from the return of Ash, the return of Raimi, and the return of the Evil Dead. It is, in a word, GROOVY. Ash vs Evil Dead 1.01 "El Jefe"Paul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.