Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), the anti-hero of the original “Evil Dead” trilogy, returns to fight the onslaught of the undead in the new Starz show “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” While the premiere episode is a bloody good time for fans of the original movies, its niche genre between horror and comedy is not going to win over many newcomers.
Ignoring the 2013 reboot, the story picks up twenty years after the events of “Army of Darkness.” Ash, unwittingly reciting a passage from the evil Necronomicon, unleashes “the evil” and begins to head towards the a bookstore specializing in ancient texts to correct his mistake.
The characters define the show, as the one-liner spewing Ash is still just as irreverent and ridiculous as viewers have come to expect. Ray Santiago does an especially good job as the idealistic Pablo, who worships the ground Ash walks on. Kelly (Dana Delorenzo) did not have enough time to develop her character beyond stereotypical tough girl.
The writing is superb. It is just as cheesy and over-the-top as ever, with Ash giving various memorable one-liners to add to his impressive repertoire. Whenever he is on screen, there are the ridiculous action sequences and cheesy dialogue that makes the series great. However, the writers do a good job of separating moments of horror from its slapstick. Many parts of the episode were legitimately frightening with the side characters, specifically with the police officer Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones).
When it comes down to it, your enjoyment of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” will stem from how much you love the classic trilogy. To fans of the original, there is no reason not to go back into the world of Ash. Newcomers may want to watch those movies, specifically “Evil Dead II,” before deciding whether this is a series viewers want to invest time into. Otherwise, it is a faithful continuation of the classic horror franchise.