Well last night was the night, the wait was finally over, twenty three years after the release of “Army of Darkness” we were given the first episode of the sequel television series “Ash vs. Evil Dead”! It seemed like an eternity and to be quite honest I was never fully convinced we’d ever see Bruce Campbell return as his iconic character Ash Williams. I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy, this was a bit like seeing Harrison Ford return as Indiana Jones back in 2008-it kinda gave me the chills. Yeah Ash is that legendary to me and countless others. So after a rip roaring near perfect trailer for the show the question must be asked was it indeed worth the wait?!
The answer is a solid you betcha! The first episode was awesome and it was truly an incredible moment really seeing Bruce return to his legendary role. He didn’t miss a beat and I’ve gotta say Sam Raimi did quite a nice job directing the pilot episode. We even got a longer run time as well clocking in at around 40 minutes or so. This first episode “El Jefe” didn’t have one dull moment and did a excellent job of giving a bit of Ash’s history once again with the Book of the Dead, while oddly not mentioning any of the events from ‘Army of Darkness’. This is only due to the fact they don’t have the rights to that movie as it stands, and can’t make mention to it in the show because of legal issues. But still that’s fine, us fans all know it clearly happened and the version of Ash we’re getting here is a direct continuation of the Ash we all fell in love with in Army of Darkness.
We notice he no longer works at “S-mart” and instead a similar place called “Value Stop” but after 23 years it’s totally plausible that he made a serious career move(in reality another problem with legal issues from AoD). What made this all even better though is now we really get to know just who the hell he really is. He’s not just simply some smart ass with a chainsaw hand, we get to see what a normal night in the life of Ash is really like. We get to see where he lives (surprisingly similar to My Name is Bruce), where he hangs out, his work life and just how much the guy likes to party down. This tv series idea was the perfect way to really humanize Ash and I’m pumped to see how this all plays out for him and his new companions.
The episode wasted no time with any B.S. and really jumped head first in the blood, guts and comedy galore. We get a nice introduction to several interesting supporting characters and subplots as well, all so far played pretty straight and serious. We also got some scares, most delivered with real fright behind them. We’ve got a pretty seriously freaky world with our bumbling anti-hero smack dab in the middle of the mayhem. Well done. As far as action and gore go the first episode gloriously delivers that classic frantic 80’s Raimi style. Bruce is definitely giving it his all and it’s clear he knows it’s finally his time to shine in the spotlight again! So we’ve got a neat, simple plot that’s turning into one hell of a road trip adventure. Perfect. I can’t wait to see the next episode!
The special effects were also pretty fucking awesome, we got a ton of blood and some really excellent make up for the new Deadites that appeared. Much of it really did feel like an extension of the original movies. However I was bit surprised to see the amount of CG used on the show. My only real gripe with it was the shoddy digital effects used. The doll scene in particular had some downright horrible CG and we got more digital blood and gore than I would ever want near anything Evil Dead related. I just knew Raimi wouldn’t be able to resist.
Give me puppet or some stop motion animation instead any day of the week. I only say this because it detracts a bit from the tone of the original and honestly if you’re going to CG some shit in 2015 it better look good. But alas, in the end though it delivered on all cylinders and then some proving the charm of Bruce Campbell just cant be contended with. Here’s a series that I’m gonna find a way to see every week, it was a bit of a dream come true. Nice work Mr. Raimi I honestly didn’t think you had it in you….
I recently checked out ‘John Dies at the End’ a flick which I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now via VOD the other night for a whopping $9.99 viewing price. I’ve read the non stop hype on this one for a while now and I’ve been pumped for it, especially as it’s coming from Don Coscarelli, one of my all time favorite horror directors. Don’s most well known for his Phantasm films and more recently Bubba Ho-tep which has become a full on modern day cult classic. ‘John’ had all the ingredients of another horror hit, we even get Paul Giamatti in a spporting role along with a wild and crazy story that plays something like Bill and Ted’s meets The Matrix meets Evil Dead. I was hoping deep down inside this’d play like a companion peice to Phantasm II, my favorite of his films. So my question is why did I find myself a bored while watching it? Maybe I didn’t “get it”? Was it too quirky? I’m not entirely sure what about this movie didn’t work for me. It’s based on a book by David Wong, and the premise of it surely sounds like a winner. Check it and this truly “more awesome than the movie itself” poster:
A new killer drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit has been circulating the party scene. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.
Now this certainly sounds like my kind of movie and it’s clear this was going to be a challenge to translate to film on a small budget. The acting was decent and Giamatti is always a pleasure to have on screen. However for me the two lead characters weren’t quite interesting enough and the movie just kinda rode this straight line with really nothing that leap out entirely at me to get my blood really pumping. The plot seemed a bit disjointed, confusing and the pacing seemed a bit off to me as well. The movie is basically our hero Dave is dicussing the unbelievable events that have transpired to a reporter (Giamatti) at a diner. His buddy John uses this new drug “soy sauce”, which is given to him by the most generic “jamaican guy” you’re likely to see onscreen and suddenly their worlds are turned upside down as they enter into a confusing quirky quest into other dimensions. For for me to really describe how the plot thickens would probably require me to be typing about this movie far, far longer than I’d like to be. But that’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some fun and unique moments within.
The special effects in this movie were well done for the most part, some decent but not incredible practical monster effects were employed. The scene with the freezer meat monster was probably my favorite use of them and is bound to be a memorable movie monster. The CG effects were a bit on the sub par side but passable and the action was kept at a slower moving pace than what I was hoping for. The movie has been described as “hilarious” but I’d say it was chuckle worthy at best. In the end I wish I had more to say about this one, at best for me upon first viewing it was a mediocre movie experience which left me less than a little less than satisfied. The more I think about it though I think it might be a movie that deserves a second viewing upon which I’m hoping the second time around I get it…..