Ash is back for a third time in the season three premiere of “Ash Vs Evil Dead.” If you’re unfamiliar, Ash Vs Evil Dead is a continuation of the cult classic horror series “Evil Dead” which started in the early 80s. The transition from film to television was a smooth one for the “Evil Dead” franchise. “Ash Vs Evil Dead” gave the fans everything they wanted: horror, jokes, Bruce Campbell, and camp.
This should be a foregone conclusion by now but it bears repeating. Bruce Campbell was born to play the character of Ash Williams. The man’s been playing the chainsaw wielding, one-liner slinging deadite slayer for over 30 years. His performance hasn’t degraded over the last three decades like some actors have; instead, like a fine wine it has only gotten better. It is safe to say Bruce Campbell brought his A-game.
Season three brings up a new challenge that not even the fabled Ash Williams knows how to deal with: being a dad. I’m really on the fence about this. This specific premise has been done to death in other stories, although it is too early to tell how it’ll end up. If this season had the same scriptwriter as the first two, I could almost guarantee this plot point would lead nowhere; however, with a new scriptwriter at the helm I could end up being very pleasantly surprised.
Speaking of the new scriptwriter, he did a bang-up job at writing this first episode. The episode managed to transition between comedy and horror, something Evil Dead is famous for, flawlessly. The cheesy one-liners delivered by the groovy as ever Campbell brought a smile to my face. In stark contrast the episode transitions to buckets of blood, gore, and genuine horror, this episode feels just like the original films.
One thing I appreciate about the series is its use of practical effects. Unlike most modern TV shows or films, almost everything post-season one of “Ash Vs Evil Dead” is done with practical effects instead of being computer generated. This gives it an 80s horror vibe ala “The Thing” or “Alien” or you know, “Evil Dead.” While there is some CGI here and there, it’s mostly used to enhance the practical effects. The combination of the two really makes all the horror elements stand out against the crowd that is modern TV.
This season seems like it’s trying to be a “soft reboot” for the series. Due to some troubles amongst showrunners, there were some very questionable things to happen during season two, ending with everything getting erased through time shenanigans causing almost everything to be reset. This season seems like it’s trying to right the path of the series. The season is even going as far as to add new blood to the gang, which had gotten to the point of almost near perfect chemistry. This could go two different ways, the first way we end up with yet another series adding a Scrappy Doo-esque character to try and forcefully shake things up. Or, we end up getting an even better gang. With a brand-new scriptwriter, which path the series will divulge on is unpredictable.
Overall, I would consider myself hopefully optimistic about the future of “Ash Vs Evil Dead.” The episode had everything I could hope for as someone who loves the original films, but it seems to be trying something bold. If their boldness ends up enhancing an already beloved property or ends up falling flat on its face is yet to be seen. The only thing we can do is wait until next week.