Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo
Release Date: August 23, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Campbell reprises his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.
Returning to the beloved world of ‘The Evil Dead’ and its sequels, ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ rejoins our unlikely hero Ash (Campbell) decades down the road where he still works as a stock boy by day and tries to get lucky by night. At least that was the case until the drug fueled events of a previous wild night result in the accidental unleashing of the dastardly Deadites who have returned in force and attempt to take down the smooth talking and chainsaw wielding Ash for good. Initially hesitant to step back into the chaos, with the help of some unlikely new friends, Ash soon learns that sometimes you just have to kick some evil butt whether you like it or not. Unfortunately the level of blood soaked madness that ensues once the quest truly begins might be more than he was prepared for. Then again, what else is new?
Continuing the story of everyone’s favorite bumbling hero, ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ was co-created by Sam Raimi himself who also directed the initial trilogy and features the ever amazing Bruce Campbell reprising his iconic role of Ash. The series picks up following the events of Raimi’s films (although no references are made to Army of Darkness in the debut season) and works like a charm, capturing not only the over the top blood soaked carnage of the films, but the witty charm and grin inducing fun, thanks in large part to the always enjoyable Bruce Campbell who again jumps back into Ash’s shoes with such flawless charm that it’s hard to believe that a year has passed, let alone decades. ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ is nonstop fun from the offset and once more familiar territory is breached as the season progresses, it only continues to become that much more impressive as it does a surprisingly fantastic job of truly merging these stories into one epic tale without missing a beat or resulting in anything feeling forced or (unintentionally) ridiculous. The debut season delivers nonstop hilarious fun with more than enough bloodshed to satisfy the gore hounds and I can’t wait to see just where the sophomore season may take us. I can’t possibly recommend ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ highly enough, especially to anyone who enjoyed the original ‘Evil Dead’ films as well as the work of Raimi and Campbell.
Fellow fans of the series that caught the debut season during its initial run on Starz last fall will almost surely want to make certain to pick up a copy of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray to add to their collections. The Blu-ray release of the debut season delivers fantastic high definition video and audio presentations that should easily thrill the fans. Unfortunately there isn’t a great deal of supplemental material included on the set, although it does feature a couple nice extras such as ‘Audio Commentary’ tracks on every episode and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below), which combined with the impressive video and audio presentations, should still easily make this one a must own for many fans. Those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to check out the series but are fans of Raimi’s three ‘The Evil Dead’ films should be quite safe with a blind purchase; I have yet to hear much negative feedback from fans and the majority (myself included) fell immediately in love. This hilarious and blood drenched series comes highly recommended and is definitely not to be missed by any fans of the Evil Dead franchise and/or of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.
Overall, fans of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ who already had the pleasure of enjoying the first season, along with fans of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise and of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s work in general will all likely want to grab a copy of ‘The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray whether to experience this wonderful series for the first time, or simply to enjoy it time and again in the best quality currently available. The fellow Evil Dead fans who haven’t yet had a chance to check out the debut season of the series and are hesitant to drop the cash on a blind purchase will definitely want to make sure to rent a copy or check it out somehow as soon as you have the opportunity to do so, it’s an outstanding follow up to Raimi’s Evil Dead films that is not to be missed.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first season’s episodes. The video presentations look fantastic as a whole, delivering sharp, detailed and clean presentations on every episode with no notable flaws to be found within. They hold up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences which are quite common within the series, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are wonderful high definition video presentations complimented by more than adequate bitrates that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on all 10 Season One episodes. These lossless multichannel soundtracks provide consistently clean, sharp and wildly aggressive audio presentations on each episode. Constantly utilizing all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the perfectly fitting music selections, in addition to sending a constant barrage of action (and gore) related auditory effects whipping throughout the various speakers, including everything from chainsaws spinning about, to a rush of eerie noise and wind each time we are taken throughout the woods, plus a whole lot more; while still managing to make certain that any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously never becomes distorted, let alone rendered inaudible. Overall, these are phenomenal 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtracks that contribute even more fun to the overall viewing experience of this wonderful series.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season’ includes a few notable extras. Included on the release is ‘Audio Commentary’ tracks on every episode in the season and featuring various cast and crew members including Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and many more depending on the specific episode. We are also treated to a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes including behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew, they include: ‘Ash: Inside the World’ episodic Featurettes (running approximately 16 minutes in length altogether), and ‘How to Kill a Deadite’ (approximately 3 minutes). A goofy compilation video ‘Best of Ash’ which includes humorous tidbits from the season is also included (approximately 90 seconds).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season’; Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD from Starz & Anchor Bay Entertainment
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