Monday, November 9, 2015

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 1 "El Jefe" - Recap and Review

ash vs evil dead bruce campbell ash williams poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

The long-awaited sequel to the classic Evil Dead movies Ash vs Evil Dead is finally here. Yes I am ignoring the unnecessarily gory 2013 movie that only retained the basics of the original (the cabin settings, deadites, youngsters etc..) while completely sacrificing the fun and the spirit that underscored Sam Raimi's timeless and seminal movies.

It has been 30 years since Ashley Ash J. Williams (Bruce Campbell) escaped from the nightmare he encountered in the woods. He is living a lonely existence in a trailer in Mossy Haven Trailer Park. His only (non-human) companion is Eli, a pet lizard.

He works at ValueStop, a local store and his waywardness doesn't make him a favorite with his boss, Mr. Roper (Damien Garvey). Ash does have an admirer in the wide-eyed Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago).

In his free time, Ash tries to pick up random women at the local bar. He is not above fabricating stories to explain some kind of heroic explanation for losing his hand. One of them is saving a 8 yr old boy from the tracks. Bruce Campbell is his usual self in these scenes and he hasn't lost a bit of his charm.

In one such drug infused encounter with a lady at his trailer, Ash unintentionally releases the deadites (again) by reciting the words from the Naturom Demonto/Necromonicon also known as Book of the Dead”. Soon he starts seeing deadites everywhere.

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His fear of deadites is not completely unfound. When local cops, Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and John Carson (Mike Edward) arrive to investigate reports of a woman screaming insider her house, they are attacked by a deadite. Though they manage to kill her, Carson also becomes one and Amanda has to shoot him dead to escape with her life.

Now, Amanda faces an Internal Affairs homicide inquest and a possible psych evaluation.

Ash also feels the evil growing all around him. Even his friendly neighbourhood (no pun intended) lady, Vivian Johnson (Sian Davis) seems to be a deadite waiting to kill him. Ash has seen enough and decides to leave town as soon as possible.

When he arrives at his store to get his paycheck, he is rebuked by Mr. Roper. But it is not a complete waste of time, as he comes across a new employee. This employee is an attractive young lady, Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo). Ash's usual tricks do not work on Kelly and she is the second store employee to put him in his place.

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Ash's troubles are far from over at the store. He is attacked by a doll. This is similar to the scene in Army of Darkness, when Ash is attacked by three miniature versions of himself. Ash is rescued by Pablo. Pablo believes that Ash is El Jefe i.e. the person destined to save humanity from the oncoming deadite apocalypse. Pablo's uncle is a shaman and happens to be the source of this prediction.

Ash does not share Pablo's beliefs and heads back to his trailer. Kelly has her own share of troubles. Her mother, who died six months back, has come back from the grave. Kelly's Father (Phil Peleton) is in mortal danger and Kelly is desperate to save his life.

The climactic fight takes place at Ash's trailer. Pablo takes Kelly to meet Ash and hopefully get him to help them. The trio face off against not one but two deadites: Vivian and the cleaner who works nearby.

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This is one of the most enjoyable episodes I have seen in quite some time. The casting is top notch. Bruce Campbell can probably portray this character in his sleep and it shows. He slips back effortlessly into the role that has since become a genre legend.

Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo are good. The people who make the best impressions are Jill Marie Jones as Amanda Fisher and Damien Garvey as Mr. Roper. Both these characters undergo transformation through the course of the episode.

Amanda's encounter with the deadite is the highlight of this episode. This is vintage Sam Raimi (he directed this episode). All his trademarks are there: the legendary Evil Dead tracking shot, genuine horror et al.

Damien is makes a charismatic Mr. Roper. He is a classic horror movie character and he should make a great deadite in the upcoming episodes.

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Lucy Lawless makes her entry as Ruby and promptly disappears. She informs Jill that she is not hallucinating and that she is very right in her misgivings. No doubt, we will see more of Ruby as the series progresses.

I also liked the scene at the store in which Ash recalls the events of the first Evil Dead movie. That part was shot beautifully and credit to Sam Raimi and the cinematographer.

In addition to horror, the episode also features some nice suspense building scenes. The scene at the trailer park (featuring Ash and Vivian) as well as the scene shot outside ValueStop stand out in this regard.

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This is Classic Sam Raimi. Classy Combination of Horror and Humor. In these days of torture porn, this is how horror is done. Learn from the Master.

Must watch for fans of Evil Dead/Horror movies.

Recommended watch to fans of Horror movie genre.

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Image Sources: Renaissance Pictures, Starz Entertainment, LLC

You might also like:

Evil Dead (2013)
World War Z (2013)

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