Combustible Celluloid
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With: Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Lucy Lawless, Arielle Carver-O'Neill, Lee Majors
Written by: Mark Verheiden, Rob Fresco, Ivan Raimi, Nicki Paluga, Luke Kalteaux, Aaron Lam, Caitlin Meares, Bryan Hill, Rick Jacobson
Directed by: Mark Beesley, Diego & Andres Meza-Valdes, Daniel Nettheim, Regan Hall, Rick Jacobson
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 278
Date: 08/21/2018

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season (2018)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Slash Drive

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With this 2018 season, Ash vs Evil Dead (see reviews of Season One and Season Two) continues to find its gleeful, inventive balance between gore (a deadite is killed by having its head locked in a paint-shaking machine) and zany humor (Ash tastes a Pop Tart and says, "Oh my God! These are much better toasted!"). But rather than falling back on references to the old films, though they are here, this season gets a little more touchy and relies more on the "family" aspect between the characters, Ash (Bruce Campbell), Pablo (Ray Santiago), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). Yet it works like gangbusters, since it's carefully intertwined with the aforementioned horror and comedy.

The newest character here is Brandy (Arielle Carver-O'Neill), the teen daughter Ash never knew he had from a woman, Candy Barr (Katrina Hobbs), he drunkenly married for a few minutes a couple of decades back. There's also an organization known as the "Knights of Sumeria," dedicated to helping the Prophesied one (Ash). Meanwhile, Ruby (Lucy Lawless) cooks up an evil plan to make Ash look like a bad guy by posing as Brandy's school counselor, and growing a double of Ash in her apartment; she also lets a demon woman take over Kelly's body. In the movie's most freakish and daring sequence, while Ash's evil double is still a small boy, he fights the hero from within the decapitated body of an innocent bystander. Lee Majors also returns in two episodes, once as a deadite, and once as a ghost.

Though executive producer/creator Sam Raimi is still not back directing any of these episodes (he directed the pilot in 2015), the Season Three directors effectively follow a playbook of his style, and it's seamless. Each episode includes a clever selection of cool tunes, with very special uses of both Air Supply and Deep Purple. The ending is a mind-blower, and recalls the ending of Raimi's original movie trilogy, Army of Darkness. This season has been announced as the show's last, and I'm sad to see it go, but I feel very lucky that it was made at all. As a lifelong fan, Ash vs Evil Dead was like a gift to me, and far better and more satisfying than I could have ever hoped. (It's going on my personal list of my all-time ten best TV shows.)

Starz and Lionsgate released the two-disc Blu-ray set, with five half-hour episodes on each disc. Picture and sound are excellent, and there are optional subtitles, plus digital copies of each episode. Various cast and crew provide commentaries for each episode, and, as usual, Campbell's are the best. (How about an Emmy nomination for this guy?) There's also a season preview (a 2-minute trailer), and very short "behind-the-scenes" featurettes for each episode.

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