• As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season (Lionsgate) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: August 21st, 2018.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Lucy Lawless, Lee Majors, Arielle Carver-O'Neill
    Year: 2018
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    As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season – Series Review:

    The third and final season of Starz’s series Ash Vs Evil Dead picks up shortly after the ending of the second series. Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell, of course) has taken over the hardware store run by his later father Brock (Lee Majors) and turned it into a hardware store/sex toy emporium complete with gloriously tacky TV commercials where, with his trusty chainsaw, he’s slashing prices! Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) is hanging out with new friend Dalton (Lindsay Farris), a knight who believes Ash to truly be the chosen one, while Pablo is running a taco stand. Everything seems to be just fine in Elk Grove, Michigan…

    …at least to start with. Soon enough, Ruby (Lucy Lawless) shows up with the intention of stopping Ash from becoming the savior of humanity by seeing that he’s murdered by his spawn. Ash doesn’t think he has any spawn – and then he meets up with old flame Candy Barr (Katrina Hobbs) who introduces him to the daughter he never knew existed, Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill), a high school student. Ruby decides to conjure up a demon baby to help her out and impersonate Brandy’s guidance counsellor in order to win her over.

    Things get complicated when Ruby winds up with the Necronomicon and Pablo helps the ‘Ghost Beaters’ retrieve the ancient Kandarian dagger, coming into his own as the ‘Brujo Especial’ and seeing constant visions of a naked lady that he’s pretty impressed with. And of course, as this is the final season, the show does a nice job of wrapping up pretty much all of the series’ plotline while, of course, still leaving room open for further adventures… just in case.

    While the show had more emphasis on humor than on horror, this season (and the two that came before it) does a fine job of carrying on the legacy of the franchise. While it feels more ‘Army Of Darkness than Evil Dead’ in terms of its often times cartoonish tone, the series never holds back on the gore, showcasing an excellent mix of both practical and digital effects that should satisfy anyone with a thirst for fictitious blood. The production values of the series, which is actually shot not in the United States, but in New Zealand, are strong all around – not only are the effects strong but so too are the costumes, the props, the camerawork, the sets and the score.

    It is, however, the performances that sell this. Obviously, Bruce Campbell is the main draw here, and with good reason. Ash Williams is the character he’s more associated with than any of the other hundreds of character he’s played over the decades and Campbell as Ash is, in a word, iconic. He’s funny, he’s goofy, he’s charming in his own stupid way and he’s charismatic – Campbell owns the part and he carries the series as easily in this third batch as he ever has. Supporting work from Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago (who we interviewed when the second season came out) is solid, though DeLorenzo isn’t given as much to do this season as Santiago is. Santiago really comes into his own this time though, his admiration for Ash has come into its own as Pablo, in his own way, becomes just as powerful – more so, when it comes to the supernatural side of things. Supporting work from Lucy Lawless, who makes a really good villain, is appreciated and it’s nice to see Lee Majors back, even if it’s only briefly. The new addition to the season - Arielle Carver-O'Neill as Ash’s daughter – does well here too. She’s got some good lines and proves more than capable in the action and horror scenes. She gets just as bloodied up as anyone else in the show and while it does take a few episodes for her character to develop, by the end of the season we like her.

    There are a few missteps here and there, but overall the third season of Ash Vs Evil Dead delivers anything you’d want if you were a fan of the first two seasons.

    As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 1.78.1 1080p anamorphic widescreen transfers given the episodes in this set do a really good job of showing off the series' intended look. Detail is very strong, better than the broadcast versions ever were – it’s often times very impressive. There are some minor problems with mpeg compression artifacts and minor aliasing but no heavy edge enhancement while black levels stay strong and shadow detail remains consistently impressive. Skin tones look nice and lifelike, never too pink or waxy, and never showing off any problems with the authoring or encoding. The discs have been encoded quite well, generally speaking, and the picture quality is strong enough.

    Ash Vs Evil Dead arrives on Blu-ray with an English language Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix, with an optional Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track in Spanish and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track in French. The lossless track provided here has some really good ambience and it’s basically reference quality. Channel separation is more constant than you might expect and there's enough of it here to ensure that you'll notice it. Dialogue is perfectly clear and the levels are consistently well balanced. The soundtrack has good depth to it and the sound effects an appropriate amount of punch. The low end is tight and strong without burying the dialogue and the score has good range and presence to it as well. In short, the sound on this release is amazing. Optional subtitles are provided in Spanish, French, English SDH.

    The main extras for this release are the commentary tracks, one for each of the following episodes in the collection, laid out as follows:

    Family: Director Mark Beesley, Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actress Arielle Carver-O'Neill
    Booth Three: Executive Producer Bob Tapert, Mark Beesley and Actress Lucy Lawless
    Apparently Dead: Bob Tapert, Directors Diego Meza-Valdes and Andres Meza-Valdes and Arielle Carver-O'Neill
    Unfinished Business: Arielle Carver-O'Neill, Actors Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago
    Baby Proof: Executive Producer Rick Jacobson, Stunt Coordinator Stuart Thorp, and Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago
    Tales From The Rift: Bob Tapert, Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Capper, and Dana Delorenzo, Lucy Lawless, and Ray Santiago
    Twist And Shout: Mark Beesley, Bruce Campbell, Arielle Carver-O'Neill and Lucy Lawless
    Rifting Apart: Bob Tapert, Arielle Carver-O'Neill, Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago
    Judgement Day: Rick Jacobson, Bruce Campbell, and Arielle Carver-O'Neill
    The Mettle Of Man: Rick Jacobson, Bruce Campbell, and Actress Arielle Carver-O'Neill.

    These tracks are a kick. If you don’t want to listen to all of them at least check out the ones with Campbell on them as he’s pretty blunt about his thoughts and experiences working on the show. In fact, everyone who seems to have been involved with the commentary tracks looks back on their work with a mix of pride and humor – it sounds like it was all a lot of work but that they had a lot of fun doing it. As the tracks play out we learn about the effects, the technical side of things, the writing and then of course what the performers all went through.

    Additionally, the second disc contains a three-minute long ‘Season Overview’ featurette that’s basically a promo for the show made up of some talking head style interviews with the stars. More interesting than that is the inclusion of Inside The World Of Ash Vs. Evil Dead featurettes for each episode. These run roughly two-minutes each and include some input from Rob Tapert on the character development and plot points explored in each episode as well as some fun facts about them. They’re not super in depth or anything but they’re amusing enough.

    Animated menus and episode selection are included on each disc. Both discs fit inside an eco-case style Blu-ray case and that in turn fits inside a cardboard slipcover. Inside the case is a paper insert containing a code for a digital HD download option.

    As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season – The Final Word:

    As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season may be the last we see of Ash Williams and company, and if that’s the way it has to be, at least he’s sent out on a high note. All in all, this series was a blast and while there were times where there could have been more horror and less humor, overall this was a ridiculously entertaining run. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release offers some solid extras and a great audio and video presentation.

    Click on the images below for full sized As Vs Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray review screen captures!