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Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi, Tom Spezialy
Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo
Writing Credits:

Ash has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead until a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind and Ash becomes mankind's only hope.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 294 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 8/23/2016

• Audio Commentaries For All 10 Episodes
• “Inside the World” Featurette
• “How to Kill a Deadite” Featurette
• “Best of Ash” Featurette
• Preview


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2015-16)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 29, 2016)

After 1993’s Army of Darkness, it appeared that Bruce Campbell left his Evil Dead days behind him. The cinematic series went dormant until a 2013 reboot, but other than a little post-credits tag, Campbell didn’t enter into that equation.

23 years following Army of Darkness, Campbell officially returns to the Evil Dead universe via a Starz series. Season One of Ash Vs. Evil Dead comes to us here via its 10 episodes. The plot synopses appeared on the series’ official website.

El Jefe: “30 years after his last Deadite fight, badass monster fighter Ash Williams (Campbell) unleashes the Evil in an act of stupidity, bringing Deadite mayhem into his life again.”

With original franchise director Sam Raimi at the helm, “Jefe” offers an efficient and entertaining re-introduction to the Evil Dead series. It offers enough information to bring new viewers up to the speed and also tosses nods to existing fans that allow them to avoid boredom.

“Jefe” also mixes tones pretty well. Ash’s side tends toward the broad comedy that dominated Army of Darkness, but elements related to police officer Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) go more dramatic. Raimi melds these in a smooth way and helps create a solid launch to the series.

Bait: “Special Agent Fisher is tracking Ash. Pablo (Ray Santiago) gets his first taste of blood in a manic showdown, and a revelation changes Kelly's (Dana DeLorenzo) life forever.”

If fans worried that the move to the small screen would tame the franchise’s penchant for crazed blood-soaked violence, the first two episodes demonstrate otherwise. The question remains whether or not this over the top style can maintain interest over a full 10-episode series, but so far, Ash works well, as “Bait” moves along the narrative and throws in some gory fun.

Books From Beyond: “A mysterious woman finds the destruction at Kelly's parents' farm. Meanwhile, Ash, Pablo and Kelly continue their quest with the Necronomicon and Fisher finds herself in another terrifying, inexplicable situation.”

Matters push ahead well with “Beyond”. I like the extra zing the presence of an actual summoned demon brings, and the use of Fisher gives the show a bit of a Fugitive vibe. All of this adds up to another strong show.

Brujo: “An unlikely alliance is formed. Ash and team follow a new clue but Kelly pays a price.”

For a “fourth episode”, “Brujo” seems surprisingly exposition heavy. That doesn’t make it bad, of course, but it feels a bit less involving than usual. Still, it comes with enough good moments to sustain our attention, and it contributes a few nice twists.

The Host: “Kelly puts the team in jeopardy. Pablo is forced to make a brave move and Ash reveals a new side to his character.”

While Ash offers a great character, it remains to be seen if any of the supporting roles will ever ignite. “Host” manages to expand these participants a little bit, though Ash remains the only really dynamic personality. I’d like to see more range from Pablo, Kelly and the rest, but “Host” still delivers a pretty solid show.

The Killer of Killers: “Ash has an awakening. Pablo and Kelly have an ominous discovery.”

The last few shows seemed a little light on crazed violence, but “Killer” compensates. Though I don’t mind the brief break from blood, I’m happy to get back to the series’ bread and butter, as the gory results bring us a lively episode.

Fire in the Hole: “The team must go to extreme measures to escape a deadly circumstance. Meanwhile, more is revealed of Ruby's (Lucy Lawless) mission.”

Although I like the change of scenery that the move toward the cabin brings, “Hole” seems a little bland overall. This may be due to the fact it focuses more on secondary characters than on Ash – Kelly, Pablo and the others still don’t stand on their own – but the show just lacks the usual zing. That said, it moves things along well enough.

Ashes to Ashes: “Ash attempts to end the Evil, but first he must contend with other, more physical nightmares from his past. Fisher faces a horrific change in Ash.”

Finally back at the cabin from the original film, “Ashes” maintains an unusually creepy vibe. As much as I enjoy the wild splatter sequences, I appreciate the quiet spookiness we find here, as the push toward more psychological horror works. Add a scene in which Ash fights himself and “Ashes” becomes one of the year’s better episodes.

Bound in Flesh: “Ash finds himself in a battle with his greatest nemesis. Kelly and Pablo have to decide who to trust.”

With only one more episode to go, “Flesh” acts to set up the season finale. That doesn’t mean it skimps on action, but it does exist mainly to push us toward the end of the year. It works fine in that regard and offers good material.

The Dark One: “In a monumental last-ditch attempt to rid the world of the Evil, Ash will be offered a deal that could change him - and mankind - forever.”

Season One finishes with a bang – and an open ending. We expect the latter to some degree, as we know Season Two needs more evil to fight. “Dark One” manages to provide plenty of gory action in a way that essentially sums up the year’s story while it points us toward S2.

Overall, Ash offers a pretty good extension of the original films. I worried it’d wear out its welcome across almost five hours of episodes, but it didn’t, and it maintained a good level of consistency across those 10 shows. I look forward to Season Two.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Ash Vs. Evil Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-Ray Discs. The episodes depicted the expected solid material.

No significant issues with sharpness developed. Some wider elements seemed a bit soft, but those instances didn’t dominate, so the shows usually provided crisp, distinctive visuals. I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws were a non-factor as well.

In terms of palette, the series opted for a fairly subdued feel, with an amber or teal sense much of the time. Within those choices, the hues looked well-developed. Blacks came across as dense and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated nice clarity. All in all, I thought the series delivered nice visuals.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Ash, it added a lot of pizzazz to the package. In the forward realm, the shows featured solid stereo music and a good sense of environment. Elements meshed smoothly and moved across the spectrum well.

In addition, the surrounds added plenty of material. The back speakers used music well, and effects also created a fine sense of place. The surrounds didn’t have a ton to do throughout the series, but the mix used them in a satisfying manner.

As for the quality of the audio, it seemed good. Speech always came across as natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Music was bright and clean, while effects showed nice reproduction. Those elements came across as lively and dynamic, and low-end response appeared deep and firm. The episodes consistently boasted positive audio.

Audio Commentaries accompany all 10 episodes. We hear from the following participants:

“El Jefe”: creator/executive producer/director Sam Raimi, co-executive producer Ivan Raimi, executive producer Rob Tapert and executive producer/actor Bruce Campbell;

“Bait”: Tapert, Campbell and actors Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago;

“Books From Beyond”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;

“Brujo”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;

“The Host”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;

“The Killer of Killers”: DeLorenzo, Santiago and actor Jill Marie Jones;

“Fire in the Hole”: DeLorenzo, Santiago and Jones;

“Ashes to Ashes”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and Jones;

“Bound in Flesh”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and actor Lucy Lawless;

“The Dark One”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and Lawless.

Across these, we get info about how the movies developed into the series and how it ended up on Starz, story/character areas, cast and performances, stunts, sets and locations, effects and related domains.

Without question, the commentary for “El Jefe” works best. The crew give us a peppy, fun look at various production subjects and turn it into a rollicking, informative take on the series’ debut.

While not quite as good, the chats for episodes two through five also work very well, largely due to Campbell’s comfort with the format. Given the nature of the participants, these commentaries focus on acting most of all, but Campbell broadens horizons well, as he offers a slew of delightful anecdotes.

The chats for shows six through 10 seem less successful, unfortunately. The commentaries lose steam when Campbell fails to appear for episodes six and seven, and even when he returns, the tracks fail to recapture their prior glory. The participants tend to simply react to on-screen events; we still get some decent info, but the discussions lack a lot of substance.

To summarize, the commentaries for the season’s first half are great and well worth your attention. Matters get spottier for the second five tracks, though, so if you skip these, you won’t miss out on a lot. They manage to be moderately enjoyable but they disappoint after the fun of the initial five commentaries.

On Disc Two, we also get three featurettes. Inside the World runs 15 minutes, 59 seconds and includes comments from Sam Raimi, executive producer/showrunner Craig DiGregorio, production designer Nick Bassett and prosthetic technician Mark Knight.

“Inside” looks at story/character areas, various effects, cast and performances, stunts and action, vehicles, sets and locations, and connected topics. DiGregorio does all the heavy lifting here, as he covers a wide variety of show-related subjects. “Inside” rushes through the season‘s 10 episodes in a hurry, but it gives us some good details.

How to Kill a Deadite goes for two minutes, 31 seconds and features Campbell and various convention-attending fans. The short just gives us a promo piece.

Finally, Best of Ash lasts one minute, 27 seconds. It provides a montage of show clips and acts as another advertisement.

Disc One opens with an ad for Power.

With Ash Vs. Evil Dead, the horror franchise returns in a big way. The 10 episodes expand the series’ horizons well and provide a lot of gory entertainment. The Blu-rays deliver very good picture and audio as well as some interesting commentaries. Ash acts as a worthy successor to the earlier movies and makes me eager to see Season

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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