Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Nov 29, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Various

Release Date(s)

2015-2018 (October 16, 2018)

Studio(s)

Starz/Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • Film/Program Grade: A-
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A+
  • Extras Grade: B-

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Review

After three years on the air, Ash vs Evil Dead came to an end with its third season, all but concluding the adventures of Ash Williams and his unwitting battle against the evil Deadites that spawned from the Necronomicon, bringing a few friends and enemies along for the ride. Ultimately, the decision to end the show was a bittersweet one for fans. Not only did it mean that it might be Bruce Campbell’s last time in the role, but also that the new characters that had come to be loved and accepted as a part of the Evil Dead universe were going away as well. However, it’s comforting to know that the show exists at all, and that it’s mostly good, even without Sam Raimi fully in the driver’s seat.

I’ve already reviewed all three seasons of the show (which you can find here, here, and here), so I won’t go into massive detail about it. Oddly enough, it’s one of those strange franchises that actually benefited from small, half-hour, 10-episode chunks, which I wasn’t totally on board with at the very beginning. My only regret is that the show’s creative team didn’t fully embrace any kind of an arc for Ash’s character. While it’s always fun seeing him as a blowhard braggart with a heart of gold, seeing a softer and more interesting side to him would have been appreciated. You can only play one note for so long before it loses its value. The third season seemed to angling in that direction with the introduction of his daughter, but it was all but abandoned at the finale. Above all, more good times had in the Evil Dead universe is a-ok with me, and with roughly 15 to 16 hours’ worth of it, it’s difficult to complain.

For Lionsgate’s Complete Collection Blu-ray release of the show, it’s basically a convenient repackaging of the previously-released editions without anything added or missing. So you can expect the same great A/V quality as before. Shot digitally, it’s dripping with bold crimson and excellent fine detail. The color palette becomes more varied from season to season, but natural skin tones remain. Blacks are inky deep with excellent shadow detail, and brightness and contrast levels are virtually perfect. The use of CGI stands out, but the practical effects are well-shot and look natural, even in high definition. Soundtrack options include English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, while subtitle options include English SDH, Spanish, and French. The 7.1 track is incredibly immersive and packs a real punch, particularly when it comes to low frequency and ambient effects. Dialogue is always clean and clear, while the score and music selection has plenty of muscle. Speaker to speaker activity is also abundant. Rock solid presentations, overall.

As far as extras, everything is the same as the previous releases. Discs 1 and 2 comprise Season 1, and they include audio commentaries on every episode. For El Jefe, there’s creator/executive producer/director Sam Raimi, co-executive producer Ivan Raimi, executive producer Robert Tapert, and executive producer/actor Bruce Campbell; another for Bait with Tapert, Campbell, and actors Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago; another for Books from Beyond, Brujo, and The Host with Campbell, DeLorenzo, and Santiago; another for The Killer of Killers and Fire in the Hole with DeLorenzo, actor Jill Marie Jones, and Santiago; another for Ashes to Ashes with Campbell, DeLorenzo, Jones, and Santiago; and another for Bound in Flesh and The Dark One with Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago, and Lucy Lawless. In addition to the commentaries, there’s also the Inside the World: Ash vs Evil Dead 15-minute featurette, the brief How to Kill a Deadite featurette, and a Best of Ash promo montage.

Discs 3 and 4 comprise Season 2, but also carry more featurette-based material than the previous season, but less audio commentaries. For Home and The Morgue, there’s an audio commentary with Campbell, DeLorenzo, Lawless, and Santiago; another for Last Call and Trapped Inside the Heart with Tapert, DeLorenzo, and Lawless; another for Home Again with director/co-executive producer Rick Jacobson, Tapert, Campbell, DeLorenzo, Lawless, and Santiago; and another for Second Coming with Jacobson, Tapert, Campbell, DeLorenzo, and Lawless. There’s also a set of short EPK-type featurettes, including a Season 2 First Look; another Inside the World of Ash vs Evil Dead featurette; and a set of short featurettes including Up Your Ash, Women Who Kick Ash, Puppets Are Cute, Dawn of the Spawn, Bringing Henrietta Back, The Delta, How to Kill a Deadite, and a Fatality Mash-Up.

Discs 5 and 6 comprise Season 3, but feature audio commentaries on every episode this time around. For Family, there’s an audio commentary with director Mark Beesley, Campbell, and actress Arielle Carver-O’Neill; another for Booth Three with Tapert, Beesley, and Lucy Lawless; another for Apparently Dead with Tapert, directors Diego Meza-Valdes and Andres Meza-Valdes, and Carver-O’Neill; another for Unfinished Business with Carver-O’Neill, DeLorenzo, and Santiago; another for Baby Proof with Jacobson, stunt coordinator Stuart Thorp, DeLorenzo, and Santiago; another for Tales from the Rift with Tapert, visual effects supervisor Tim Capper, and DeLorenzo, Lawless, and Santiago; another for Twist and Shout with Beesley, Campbell, Carver-O’Neill, and Lawless; another for Rifting Apart with Tapert, Carver-O’Neill, DeLorenzo, and Santiago; and another for Judgment Day and The Mettle of Man with Jacobson, Campbell, and Carver-O’Neill. In addition, there’s a Season Overview and another Inside the World of Ash vs Evil Dead featurette in 10 parts. This set also comes with a paper insert containing a Digital Copy code.

Sadly, not all of the featurettes that ran on Starz during the show’s original run have been included, nor have the Bruce Campbell Evil Dead trilogy hosting segments, the “next on” episode previews, or any of the trailers or TV spots. There’s also a lack of outtakes, gag reels, and deleted scenes as well. Still, the cream of the crop here are the commentaries, including the one for the pilot, in which the creators discuss the genesis of the show, and the various ideas for Evil Dead 4 that were thrown out.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this title double and even triple dipped in the future, but for the now, Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection offers fans excellent video and sound quality and a decent, if incomplete, set of extras. It’s a hell of a deal.

– Tim Salmons

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